Cover These expert tips will make your wedding dress shopping experience as enjoyable as possible (Photo: Courtesy of Christina Devine)

Bridal designer Christina Devine shares her top tips on how to choose the perfect wedding dress and make a statement on the big day

Finding the perfect wedding dress is a notoriously difficult task. With so many styles to choose from—think feminine mermaid gowns, classic A-line silhouettes, minimalist lace designs and many more—the shopping process can be more than a little overwhelming. It may involve months of planning, countless fitting appointments and hours of discussions with your bridesmaids.

To make your journey to searching your dream gown easier and more pleasant, we speak to renowned bridal designer Christina Devine for some expert advice on wedding dress shopping. 

See also: 10 Best Bridal Boutiques In Hong Kong To Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

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The right research

Today’s brides-to-be have everything at their fingertips, literally. While it’s always a good idea to source your wedding dress inspiration from the beautiful photos featured in fashion magazines and lifestyle websites, or take some advice from your trusted bridal fashion stylist, it will quickly cause idea burnout. 

“I personally sit down with each one of my brides and discuss what they are looking for and what inspires them,” says Devine. It’s important to think about whether the dress you picked can reflect your personality and make you feel like the best version of yourself, regardless of other people’s expectations. Take a look at the images you saved and narrow down your choices by spotting common styles. Then, make a list of features that you'd really love to see on your dress to streamline the process.

See also: Bridal Suits: 8 Alternatives To Traditional Wedding Gowns

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The entourage

Getting opinions from others is key because it will not only guide you through the abundance of designs, but also make the dress fitting process a little more enjoyable. “It’s all about the company you keep, especially when you are looking for the perfect wedding dress. Having the right support group around you is vital, yet it can sometimes add more stress. Going alone for those first few appointments gives you free reign to experiment and explore without unwanted judgement from the pack,” says Devine.  

She recommends bringing the most important people in your life—such as your mother, sister, maid of honour and bridesmaids—back to the boutique for a second appointment to show them your favourite designs and ask for opinions. However, you should keep that first appointment just for yourself. 

See also: How To Plan Your Wedding: Expert Advice From A Top Hong Kong Planner

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Play dress up

Do you have a penchant for traditional or modern designs? Do you want a dress with sleeves or one that is strapless? Whatever your heart desires, there’s an option—you just need to embrace your body shape and be willing to different styles.  

“I encourage my brides to play dress up, snap selfies and explore different styles during their first appointment,” suggests Devine. “Trying on a range of shapes, fits and fabrics is a vital step in the process and can quickly help to eliminate what doesn’t work for you. Even if you know exactly what you want, take the time to step outside of your comfort zone and explore. You may surprise yourself!” 

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It’s ok if you don’t cry

Bring your true self to the wedding dress shopping process is crucial. Instead of simply evaluating whether the measurements or fabric details are executed to perfection to flatter your curves, you should ask yourself, “Does the dress feel real? Does it truly speak to you and can reflect your personal style?” 
 
“The expectation that brides put on themselves to see fireworks and cry tears of joy when they 'say yes to a dress' is unrealistic and adds anxiety to an already huge moment,” says Devine. “Take the pressure off. What you should be asking yourself is how do you feel in the dress. 'I look amazing, I feel incredible, and I don’t want to take this dress off'—are all things you want to be saying to yourself. Oh, and if you can’t stop smiling when you look at yourself in the mirror, the dress is a winner.” Make a dress decision based on your own feelings while staying open-minded during the process.  

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Go bespoke

For the discerning brides who are searching for the perfect dress to match your wedding theme, book a consultation with your favourite designer and have the dress tailor-made with your choice of styles, materials and embellishments.  

“Endless searching and dress appointments can leave some brides feeling lost, overwhelmed and disappointed,” says Devine. “Some brides also have a very clear vision of what they are looking for, so creating it from scratch is the best way to bring their dream dress to life.”  

See also: 5 Wedding Dress Trends To Know For 2021