Staying true to yourself is just one of the many considerations when finding the dress you’ve always dreamed of wearing on the big day. Fashion stylist Renee Enright offers her advice

There is nothing quite like the excitement and anticipation that comes with the territory when you begin planning your dream wedding.
Let’s be honest, most of us have imagined intricate details of how we envision our big day since we were old enough to understand what it all meant (and well before the groom ever entered the picture!).
From the colour of bridesmaid dresses, to flowers, location and of course, the big one … THE DRESS!
Oh yes, the dress. We all want to find the perfect wedding dress for our special day.
More likely than not, that cut-out magazine image of the dress you knew as ‘the one’ when you were 15 years old may not quite live up to your adult expectations.
Soon that initial excitement can turn into full-blown panic and leave the bride-to-be feeling anxious and overwhelmed at the big decision that awaits them.
Well fear not, my go-to guide will ensure the search for that perfect gown is a seamless one (pardon the pun).

So many gorgeous options. Location: Embrace Bridal Boutique. Photos: Sara Taylor Photography

When it comes to finding the perfect dress knowing your body shape and what works best for your silhouette will ensure you are finding the most flattering of options.
Generally we know what styles suit us and we dress accordingly. The same applies for finding our dream wedding dress.
For example, a big-busted woman may look for V-neck or open neck designs to balance her proportions, while a bottom heavy beauty might opt for something A-line that flatters her curves and highlights her best assets.
A smaller busted woman could be drawn to high-neck gowns with low-back features, whereas a tall slim woman might find she wants a dress that will create volume and the illusion of curves.
Whatever your size or shape, knowing what works best for your body and finding a dress that accentuates your best assets will have you feeling comfortable and confident on your big day.

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to bridal wear. From designer gowns to secondhand options and, of course, the popular choice of having a dress custom made.
Options are great but when we have too many it becomes overwhelming and we can end up confused and deflated.
My advice for narrowing down options would be to have a fun day out with your bridal party/loved ones, visit some bridal stores and try on as many different dresses as you can. This process is not only a great way to see which styles and fabrics work for you but it’s also a great way for your friends and family members to feel involved in your special day (insert champagne!).

Photos: Sara Taylor Photography

TIP 1 – Remember a dress that doesn’t necessarily have hanger appeal can look incredibly different on the body. It’s always worth trying on. You might just surprise yourself.
This process of trying on gowns also enables a bride to pick and choose parts of a dress she does like and point out those elements that maybe she isn’t too keen on.
In turn, creating an opportunity to visually build her own dream dress that could then be custom-made specifically for her.
TIP 2 – Keep in mind when it comes to having a gown custom-made it’s important to consider the end result may not always look identical to the picture or image you have in your head. Having a clear direction and really knowing what you want is vital in this process as you will need to guide your seamstress to ensure you get the end result you are hoping for.
Having a dress designed and created from scratch to fit your body like a glove is worth the lengthy and timely process.
TIP 3 – Choosing to alter an existing dress off the rack is also a popular choice. Finding a gown you love that needs tweaking is quite common and altering it will ensure the fit is going to look just as refined as any made-to-measure gown.
Or, perhaps you could be one of the lucky ones and fall in love with the very first dress you try on.
Either way, in what is sure to be one of the most exciting experiences of your life, enjoy the process and remember to stay true to your own vision.
TIP 4 – Try not to be swayed by friends/ family members comments and opinions. This is your big day, your moment and you should find a dress that is right for you (even if it’s not necessarily what Aunty Cathy wanted to see you in).
While we love a bit of honest feedback (thanks Aunty Cath), stay true to your own feelings and go with your gut. Like they say, when you know, you just know!