Adrianna Bohrer
 
 
    
 
Peruse bridal magazines and dog-ear pages to mark looks you are drawn toward. (Adrianna Harris)
 
 

Some brides have dreamt about their wedding day since they were little girls. Some brides began pinning images of dream dresses and details as soon as Pinterest became popular. And then some brides only start thinking wedding details after getting engaged.

No matter which bride you happen to be, wedding dress shopping is one of the most memorable wedding planning experiences you will have. It's a beautiful time to bond with girlfriends and family. But speaking from personal experience, I can relate to how overwhelming and exhausting trying to find "the dress" can be. I hope that these four tips can take some of the stress out of the experience and allow you to focus on the beauty of the process.

1. Do your research

Buy some bridal magazines or start a Pinterest board. Clip out images, dog-ear pages and pin looks that you love. This will help develop a reference for the silhouettes and styles you are drawn toward. Pay attention to the different necklines, fabrics and fits of each dress. This will also give you a rough idea of the styles that you will find at bridal shops. If there is a designer you absolutely love, check whether any local shops offer this designer. This is also a good time to brush up on bridal gown lingo, from what "bustling your gown" means to the names of different veil lengths.

2. Go on multiple days

Make sure to call ahead and make an appointment at each bridal shop, allowing yourself at least two hours at each store. Saturdays are by far the busiest days at bridal shops, so if you're allowed the opportunity, try to go during the week. I recommend only visiting two stores per day. This will keep the process fun and enjoyable instead of long and exhausting. You will be trying on anywhere from five to ten different dresses in each store, and you want to be able to take your time with each dress.

3. Spend extra time getting ready

This may be the most important tip of all. Spend a little extra time getting ready on the day you go dress shopping. Style your hair and makeup in a similar fashion to what you want on your wedding day, because a dress will look dramatically different with an elegant updo than it will with loose curls falling down. You don't have to know the exact hairstyle you want, but putting a little extra effort into getting ready will definitely help you look and feel your best. This allows you to envision your entire bridal look. There are many gorgeous wedding dresses out there, but you want to find one that is a true extension of your personality and that honors the gift you are to your future spouse.

4. Keep an open mind

The best advice I received came from a recent bride and good friend. She encouraged me to keep an open mind -- don't count anything out and try everything on. You may think you don't want lace in the beginning, just to end up walking down the aisle in a head-to-toe lace gown feeling like the most beautiful version of yourself. Some dresses will look strikingly more beautiful on your body then they ever will on the hanger. It's best to try on any dress that catches your eye; it may just end up being "the one"!



 
Adrianna Harris is a student at the University of Mary, a personal trainer at the YMCA and a bride-to-be planning a wedding for next July. She is passionate about gluten-free and paleo living, fitness, fashion and her faith.