It is never too early to start dress shopping. Not only do you start to get a feel of what you prefer but it also gives you time to visit more bridal shops and see what they offer. Anytime between 6 and 12 months to your wedding day is a good time to start. Some bridal shops might have to bring in a design or size that they currently do not have, so starting early gives them adequate time to import your gown. Remember that you might need to have alterations made to the wedding gown so starting early also ensures there is enough time for that.
You should also start your research early. See what other brides wore (you can begin at our Real Weddings section) and visit Pinterest to see the endless ideas available. While you are there, create a board for all your wedding dress inspiration that you can easily refer to and keep a keen eye on Facebook page (Mikolo) & Instagram (@MikoloUg) to see the trends and designs that have stolen our hearts. You will begin to get an idea of the type of wedding dress you want and choosing a dress will be easy once you hit the shops.
Cut down on your entourage
While it might be tempting to take all your girlfriends to your wedding dress shopping, it might not be such as great idea. Each person you bring comes with their own opinions and preferences. With all the different designs out there, wedding dress shopping is already confusing enough as it is. Take at most two of your close friends, who know your taste pretty well and who you can trust to give an honest opinion.
Be open to ideas
You know exactly what you want; an ivory, lace wedding dress with a mermaid silhouette and halter neck. You can see it when you close your eyes. Which is great because it reduces chances of getting confused. That said, remember that this is the one time you will shop for your wedding dress, so explore more options. You might not be too hot for a ball gown dress, but give it a go anyway. It might look better than it does on the rack. Or an illusion neckline; it might add the touch of romance that you always wanted. Or not. Either way; you will know for sure.
Dance like nobodyâ€™s watching
You have found THE ONE. The wedding dress of your dreams. The fabric is perfect, the embroidery is stunning and the silhouette could not be better. But is it practical? Have a seat and see how it feels. Does it feel like it is about to rip at the seams? Or does it feel like you are being swallowed up by the dress? You want to look great on your wedding day but you also want to feel comfortable. If you intend to dance during your wedding, then bust a move in the dress and see how that feels. Are you able to move freely or does the dress feel too bulky or too tight?
Ensure that your underwear fits
Do not underestimate the power of your underwear. Not just on your wedding night, but also on the wedding day. You might rule out an otherwise great wedding dress because the cut and fit doesnâ€™t feel right and yet it is your bra that doesnâ€™t fit. Uncover a shop that has some fantastic options for wedding underwear like strapless bras, clear bra straps and seamless panties. Plus they will take your bra measurements and help you get the perfect fit.
Have your venue and the season in mind
If you are planning on having a beach wedding at the shores of Lake Victoria or anywhere by the lakeside, you can expect a stunning azure lake, a beautiful white sandy beach (or something to similar to it) and a lot of wind and humidity. So a tulle, ball gown dress might not be the best choice for your wedding, as you will end up feeling pretty hot and uncomfortable in it. Instead, go for a free-flowing dress with a light material such as chiffon. Or maybe you are planning for a wedding during the cold season and you are dreading the cold. You could go for the trendy, long sleeved, lace, illusion neckline and feel comfortable and glamorous at the same time.
Read the fine print
You have found the perfect dress and you just want to pay for it and lock it down. Not so fast. Before you commit to the dress make sure you are clear on the cancelation policy; will you get a refund should you want to return it and of how much? How about payments; can you pay gradually? Are there any alterations required and how much will that cost? Make sure you are aware of these fine details before you commit to the dress.
Have a price in mindâ€¦and stick to it
Before you go dress shopping set a specific limit to the amount you are ready to spend. And as tempting as it might be, do not try out any dresses that are out of your price range. â€œBut Iâ€™m just trying them on!â€ I hear you say. Trust me. That is where it starts. And before you know it you have justified your way into purchasing a dress that is way beyond your budget. Zero in on dresses that are within your price range and try those out. You are bound to find something that makes you happy and avoid financial stress.