Singaporebrides | Fashion

July 2013

Before You Say Yes To The Dress

You may be dreaming of walking down the aisle, clad in a gorgeous French Chantilly lace embroidered ballgown reminiscent of Duchess Catherine Middleton’s Alexander McQueen version. But have you ever stopped to consider that it may not be right for your figure? SingaporeBrides lists the right questions to ask before you put your money down.

As a bride, your wedding gown will play a major part in the way you look and feel on your Big Day. More than a self-expression of style, it will influence your mood and affect your confidence level as you mingle with guests. That virginal white gown will also be the standout feature of the celebrations. Never mind that three-tiered lychee martini cake adorned with flowers, the dessert buffet that comes complete with a flowing chocolate fountain, or the elaborate favours you have prepared.

What people are going to focus on – and remember – is your wedding gown.

So, it only makes sense to choose the “perfect” gown. But the search for such perfection can be like a rollercoaster journey (read: filled with plenty of ups and downs!). But before you get overwhelmed by pushy sales assistants or the endless choices on the rack (Mermaid or A-line? Glitter sequins or crystal beads?), here are the questions you should ask yourself – and your gown designer – before confirming your wedding gown at the bridal boutique.

QUESTION 1: “Where is my wedding venue?”

One of the most common mistakes that brides-to-be make when it comes to gown shopping is doing it too early. Some brides-to-be embark on their quest the day after a teary and emotional proposal! But it’s important to have some wedding details sorted out before you can truly shop for a gown.

Before You Say Yes To The Dress

Ask yourself whether you have properly considered your venue. An elaborate embellished ballgown with a cathedral train will look extremely out-of-place in a beach wedding. Likewise, a simple Jenny Packham sheath dress with lace cap sleeves and a gathered waist will be perfect for a garden solemnisation but too simple for Chinese-style banquet affair. Also, your colour theme – the colours with which you adorn the venue and clad the bridesmaids in – will ultimately influence whether you choose a white or off-white shade. So, settle on the venue before you even step into a bridal boutique.

“At my wedding, I had a small garden solemnisation on hotel grounds before moving on to a Chinese banquet lunch. My gown designer had to take the outdoor-to-indoor venue shift into consideration, so she eventually designed a gown with a mid-length train that will neither be too cumbersome on grass nor too simple during my first march-in.” – Angeline, 29

QUESTION 2: “Does this silhouette go with my body shape?”

Once your venue is settled, it’s time to throw yourself into researching the styles and silhouettes that fit you best. You can do this by reading articles on gown styles on SingaporeBrides.com to get a better sense of what’s available out there. “It will be good if the bride know the type of body shape she has and the type of silhouettes that she prefer,” says Lucas Yeo, gown designer from LaBelle Bridal Couture.

After making a first appointment with the bridal boutique, you will usually be allowed to try on a number of gowns. Use this trying-on session to understand the different silhouettes that are available and see which suits you best. For instance, you may start out desiring a simple sheath dress. But if you are pear-shaped, you might find that an A-line or a ballgown look more flattering. Ask your gown designer what suits your body shape best. Lucas adds: “When choosing your gown, it’s extremely important to get the basic structure right before going into the pattern and design. Specifics like the embellishment, types of lace and buttons are usually the last few steps.”

Before You Say Yes To The Dress

“After going through bridal magazines, I really wanted to make a dramatic entrance with a princess ballgown. But after trying on several gown styles at my bridal boutique, the sales assistant observed that I have a curvy figure. Instead of hiding most of that under a flouncy gown, I should show off my curves in a mermaid gown instead.” –Meiyan, 32

QUESTION 3: “Who should I take along to the bridal boutique?”

If you’ve ever watched an episode of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress”, you will understand that having an entourage with you at bridal fittings may not necessarily be a good thing. Naturally, it will be the bride-to-be’s first instinct to invite family and best friends to come along. But not everyone will be able to support you and help you to make the right decisions through the roller-coaster journey of choosing a wedding gown.

Once you asked yourself this question, think hard. You should not be inviting a varied bunch of girl friends to different bridal fittings, as everyone will have a different opinion. A group of two to five people is enough – and not all at one time. Lucas observes: “There are cases where overzealous bridesmaids and relatives confuse brides-to-be with their differing tastes and opinions. That’s why we usually advise our customers to bring just a couple of trusted and well-meaning friends or relatives. They should understand you well, and be sensible enough to give objective advice based on your needs instead of their own subjective opinions.”

“My close friend made the mistake of asking all of her eight bridesmaids (including me) along for the bridal fitting. She figured it would be a fun way for all of us to get to know one another. But she ended up having a headache instead. None of us could agree what suits her best and gave conflicting advice. With all that chatter, she also lost sight of what she wanted for herself. Eventually, she decided to go to her subsequent bridal fittings with just her mother.” – Joanna, 33

Before You Say Yes To The Dress

QUESTION 4: “What’s included in the price of the gown?

Another vital (and seemingly obvious) question to ask your bridal boutique is the price of the gown. When choosing a wedding gown, it’s crucial to work within a budget. In fact, by letting the sales assistant or gown designer know your budget, it will help them to guide you to find a perfect gown… that won’t break the bank.

Once you shortlist a few gowns at the bridal boutique (assuming you are going the off-the-rack route), be sure to ask what is included in the price of the gown. Alterations, additional embellishments like crystals, sequins or French Chantilly lace may add on to the final cost. For made-to-measure gowns, do ask how the pricing works when discussing gown designs with your bridal boutique. For instance, add-ons of materials and embellishments can incur extra costs. You don’t want to be shocked when you need to add more Chantilly lace halfway through the process – and find that it is going to cost a lot more!

“Many of my girlfriends have warned me about bridal boutiques adding on to the cost of their made-to-measure gowns as the months go by. So when my turn came, I had a detailed discussion with my gown designer. I told her that I needed to know the hidden costs upfront, and she brought me through different scenarios – like if I suddenly decide to use more corded lace on my bodice – and gave me ballpark figures of what to expect.” – Natalie, 25