10 point checklist for choosing your dress

choosing a wedding dress

First of all, ask yourself these questions:

Is it within your budget?

Don’t tempt yourself by looking at dresses out of your price range – ignorance is bliss after all. Inform the shop assistant of your budget so that she can steer you towards your affordable options. It can be all too easy to get swept up in the moment (particularly after your complimentary glass of champagne) and blow your budget on something out of your price range. But remember that this will be at the expense of another aspect of your wedding. You can’t have it all!

Does it fit in with the style of your wedding?

There’s no point looking at full, billowing gowns for a beach wedding, or a short, flirty dress for a wedding in colder months, so you must consider the elements of your dress and wedding together. You may wish to reflect the theme of your wedding in your gown; for example, a medieval or vintage theme. Also, a traditional gown may not tie in with an über contemporary wedding. The aim is to have continuity throughout your day and your dress can be part of this. Is it ‘you’? Above all, you must go with your gut instinct and choose a dress that reflects your personality and taste. You want your guests to be able to recognise you of course, and say ‘Oh, that’s so her!’ Choosing something totally out of character can be fun, but leave this kind of transformation for cocktail dresses rather than your wedding dress. You wouldn’t want to risk looking like someone else and not feeling yourself on what is such a personal day.

Is it practical?

Wearing a micro dress in the snow or a long train on the sand is not the most sensible of ideas for your wedding day; you want to be able to glide with ease like an angel. You will probably be wearing your dress for at least ten hours so you need to be comfortable as well as glamorous. Consider trips to the ladies’, eating, dancing or even kneeling depending on the ceremony. A train too long, a skirt too full, tight or delicate will be a burden throughout the day, so go for comfort and ease.

Does it flatter you?

You must consider your body shape when choosing the dress of your dreams. What looks stunning on the hanger may not do you justice when you try it on. If there are any areas you feel insecure about then there’s no pressure to reveal them; likewise, if you love a certain part of your body then show it off! Just because your wedding dress is a one off, it doesn’t mean you should throw out the age old rules of figure flattering and disregard what you know suits you.

Now take into account these considerations:


Fabric plays a big part in the overall look and feel of the dress, so it’s got to be right. If you have sensitive or dry skin then often lace, feathers or angora (think Miss Middleton’s wedding evening bolero) will be a no go area. Similarly, if you’re prone to the odd hot flush and tend to get a bit hot and sticky (let’s face it, who won’t on their wedding day?) then avoid heavy fabrics such as taffeta or duchess satin, or clingy fabrics such as silk.


Wedding dresses can come in all manners of colour; from white to symbolise purity, or red to represent joy and luck. Regardless of tradition and symbolism, you must choose a colour that suits your skin tone and hair colour. A stark white wedding dress is quite a statement (in more ways than one!) and isn’t something that all women will suit. Often brides will opt for ivory or champagne for a subtler look. It’s all very well to want to wear your favourite colour, but you have to think about looking back on your wedding photos in years to come. So don’t be too rash.


When choosing your wedding dress it’s important to also consider the underwear you will need for it. This particularly applies to those women with larger busts whose necessity is for proper support. So if you’re drooling over a backless dress, consider first if you’re willing to go braless or wear a ‘stick on bra’ – often these are only options for smaller busted women. Similarly, if you’re a control-underwear fan, consider how this will look underneath certain fabrics and dress shapes. Underwear should be seamless and go unnoticed.


Depending on where your priorities are you may have fallen for a pair of sky scraper heels or pretty pumps before you even set foot in a wedding dress shop. So keep in mind the length of your dress according to the height of your shoes. Likewise, if you choose to wear statement shoes, for example, blue satin stilettos, then you may want a simpler gown. Any embellishment such as gems or sequins on your shoes may also catch the hem of your dress, so keep this in mind.


If you are getting wed abroad then you need to think about the weight and size of your dress once it’s packaged up. Other considerations are detailed embellishment which may be damaged on the journey, or fabric that is easily creased such as taffeta. So perhaps a meringue-esque, sequined, taffeta gown is best staying in the shop if you’re planning a wedding abroad. Read more on getwed.com...
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