What To Wear Wedding Dress Shopping As A Bride

Slip on shoes you can easily remove.

At the beginning of our wedding planning, we quickly realized that there’s no way we could be ready to walk down the aisle in stilettos. Not only were we worried about how much pain we’d feel in our heels, but also how easy it would be for us to slip and fall during a ceremony full of dancing and photos. Besides, the last thing I wanted was for people to tell me that my shoes had caused another bride to cry during her wedding day—that would make me want to find a new job!

To prevent myself from falling over into position three (the spot on the floor where all brides get scolded), I opted for comfortable flats with ease of movement even while wearing them. We also decided against strapping high heels onto my feet; they’re heavy, which might have been nice once upon a time when you’re walking down an aisle toward your husband-to-be, but they’ll just add extra weight to your body while you’re standing down there. The most important thing was finding shoes that were comfy yet still elegant enough so as not to ruin my big day. If you’ve ever tried on wedding shoes before without trying them out in person first, then you know that it can take some trial and error before you get something that fits properly—and doesn’t cause you either physical or emotional harm. For us, this meant narrow ankle straps, thin soles and almond shaped toes (without being too short). To avoid sweating from foot odor or feeling like we needed deodorant after wearing them all day long—we didn’t want those worries getting in the way of enjoying one of life’s biggest celebrations!

Wear shapewear.

When you’re a bride, your wedding dress shopping experience is likely to be emotional at the least, and possibly traumatic. The sense of occasion is always there as you try on dresses for a special occasion that won’t reoccur until you die; the pressure from friends and family to find “the one” can add to the stress. It’s hard enough to think about how much money you’re spending on something that’ll only be worn once (unless you are royalty). To make things worse, few things ruin your day like trying on dresses that don’t fit well or making the compromise between pretty and comfortable.

There’s no reason for this stress to make its way into your bridal attire; there are ways of avoiding it before it comes. The best solution I’ve found is wearing shapewear with your dress during the process. Not only will shapewear help smooth out any unwanted lumps or bulges, but it’ll also make sure that the size is right when it comes time for delivery. If anything looks odd in an unflattering way while you’re trying on dresses, having previously worn a little bit of extra fabric will take care of any issues as soon as they arise so that you can focus on whether or not the dress fits your vision for this momentous occasion instead of being distracted by how uncomfortable you are in what amounts to underwear.

Don’t wear socks or nylons.

Have you ever been to a wedding dress fitting? It’s a pain. A lot of brides find it difficult to see the gown for what it is without the extra layers and shoe bulk, so it’s important that you remove any potential distractions when trying on your dress for the first time. I recommend finding a dry cleaner or seamstress where you can try the gown on without socks or nylons. To ensure that the gown will fit better, don’t wear any socks or nylons when trying on your dress.

Choose styles that you like on you, or that you want to try.

While wedding dress shopping, it’s tempting to try on styles you know you’ll never wear again. The best way to walk away from the appointment with a dress that you love is to stay focused and keep an open mind.

What You Should Bring

  • Your MOH if she’ll be helping you shop! It’s important to have her help you make decisions because she will be there on your wedding day and can see the dress from different angles. Plus, she will be a good source of honest feedback because it would be hurtful if she lied and said that a style flattered your figure when really it made you look like a beer-gutted elephant seal.
  • Your photographer or friend who also takes good photos so they can help capture some images of styles that could potentially look good in photos. If possible, take digital photos of yourself in the dress before trying it on so that you can zoom in and analyze how the style will look in closer detail while making sure the color matches what was on the website or is displayed at the store.
  • Something casual to wear while trying on dresses so that when your arms get tired from all those hikes up to your shoulders, you can switch into something more comfortable but still stylish enough for pictures. I recommend wearing flats because even though heels may feel more appropriate for bridal gowns, stilettos are difficult for taking pictures in and for walking around comfortably throughout the store and parking lot.* Comfy flats (or wedge sneakers)

Bring a strapless bra and bustier if you have them.

The most important thing in planning your wedding dress shopping experience is to plan for your appointment length.

The whole point of getting all dolled up and going to a bridal shop is that you look as good as possible, right? The problem is that it’s not always about what you look like when you’re in your wedding gown—it can be a lot more about what you feel like when you’re in your wedding gown than what you actually look like. If the whole point of the appointment is to try on dresses and find one that satisfies both yourself and your bridezilla-type mom, then it might be best to go with a less expensive option. Otherwise, you may end up feeling stressed and rushed when trying on hundreds of dresses that are ill-suited to how well they flatter you, or worse: frustrated because they don’t make you feel special enough (like the bride who wore a strapless bandeau under her dress instead of bustier/bra).

Plan for your appointment length before you go.

For the bride-to-be looking to make a grand entrance, a wedding dress shopping appointment can be stressful. The pressure to find an amazing dress, and the push to get it at the perfect price, can turn what could be a fun afternoon of trying on dresses into an anxiety-inducing experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By knowing how much time is needed for your appointment, and having some things in mind before you go, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying your time in the fitting rooms instead of worrying about whether you’ll make it back home in time for dinner—or if you’re even going home at all.

By spending just 15 minutes reading this article before heading out for your appointment, you’ll keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by what could otherwise feel like an overwhelming errand.

Wear makeup that accents your face and doesn’t distract from the dresses.

  • Skip the red lipstick, scarlet rouge and deep-hued nail polish.
  • Don’t wear white, black or a lot of jewelry.
  • Don’t wear perfume—even the most delicate scent can be a major distraction to someone shopping for a wedding dress.
  • Go easy on the makeup; you want to look like your everyday self rather than someone artificially made up for an occasion. After all, you’re not going to wear this face again until the big day. Your objective is to enhance your natural beauty without taking away from it.
  • Wear your hair down and natural; any style with lots of product is likely to leave behind unwanted sticky spots on gowns and dresses that are impossible to remove—and these stains aren’t something you want on your wedding day!

Get a manicure in advance.

There’s a saying in wedding dress shopping: “Get ready for the most important day of your life, but not too early.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an idea of what you want, but no specifics. You can be prepared for the big day by getting a manicure or pedicure in advance. You should also do some research and define what type of look you want. (I recommend bridal magazines or websites.)

You should pick out dresses that are flattering to your body shape, so don’t go for something that will emphasize your curves or make you look heavy by adding too much fabric. Make sure that you are comfortable wearing it because it’s going to be on for hours, and if you can’t stand the sight of yourself, sometimes the bride looks like she’s struggling to breathe wearing a dress that is not meant to accentuate her figure. The same goes with jewelry: don’t wear anything tacky on your wedding day unless you’re having a very casual party with friends and family members. Use hair accessories sparingly; use makeup sparingly; use shoes sparingly; use only 1-2 pairs of earrings if possible. It’s all about showing restraint while still having fun with the occasion!

When wedding dress shopping, bring along only essential items and wear clothes and makeup that will complement the wedding gowns without distracting from them.

There are many things you can do to prepare for wedding dress shopping, but here’s a list of the most important ones.

  • Be prepared. Have your bridal party show up on time, with no drama. They’ll be at your disposal whenever you need them, so make sure they know that ahead of time. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into buying anything before you’ve taken the time to look through all of your options and figure out what you like best. It’s one thing if someone is trying to get you to look at gowns outside of your budget range; it’s another if they’re pushing something specific on you or making excuses for why certain gowns didn’t interest you in any way shape or form.
  • Be realistic about where this is going. Don’t expect to find your dream dress at one store—or even at any store—and never think about settling for anything less than perfection until the last minute when the clock is running out. If there’s a reason why a particular gown doesn’t appeal to you, it means there might be reasons why other gowns appeal more as well; and sometimes those reasons are exactly what makes that particular dress a total no-go in terms of how it will look against your skin tone or body type or whatever else might really bother you in an awful way. You don’t want to end up having regrets later on down the road because you got married in a gown that made everyone else feel embarrassed by how it made them feel uncomfortable compared with how much fun they were having just walking around with their friends and family looking forward to seeing each other again after being apart for so long during the course of their lives (???). Yeah… I have no idea what that sentence was supposed to mean either, but I’m sure it sounded great in my head when I was writing it…


Dress shopping will be one of the more exciting parts of planning your wedding, but it can also be a lot of pressure for those with unrealistic expectations. If you’re going to take on the task of purchasing a dress yourself, or if you’ve been assigned this task by another bride, you need to understand what’s required to make it work.

What I mean when I say “what’s required” is that as a bride you need to know what looks good on you and what styles flatter your frame. You’ll want to make sure that whatever dress you choose reflects your personal style, as well as accomplishes the goals set out in the planning stage: does it suit the venue? Is it within budget? Does it match other elements like shoes and accessories? The effects of these answers will have an impact on the overall look of your wedding day. After all, there’s no point in looking beautiful in a dress that doesn’t showcase who you are and how much time went into choosing everything else that goes with it. So just remember this: go into bridal shops with an open mind and a clear idea of what kind of gowns match your desired style. Don’t let people talk you into something just because they think everyone should wear a certain type; buy whatever makes YOU feel beautiful!

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