Many girls choose to stick with tradition and go with the white wedding dress because they think it’s expected of them. Some go with white because they love it. Others have to take a good look at themselves to see what their true style is before committing. If you’re one of those others, this post is for you.

Being yourself

Planning your wedding dress is great fun. You can think about shape, size, colour, detail, fabric, the man you meet at the altar and all that good stuff. The problem with planning is that it rarely reflects reality.

Realistic wedding dress planning involves taking a good hard look at yourself. It involves assessing your wardrobe, your style, your ambitions, body shape, weight, likes, dislikes and the grooms expectations. It’s only when you have done all this that you can really say you know the kind of dress you want.

So what’s your style? Do you wear labels? Follow catwalks shows? Buy your clothes at supermarkets? Do you have a niche like vintage or Bo-ho? Would you describe yourself as glamorous? Romantic? Down to earth?

Open your wardrobe and pull out all your favourite dresses. Every dress you own that makes you feel good. Take a look at each and assess why they make you feel the way they do. Are they tailored? Short sleeved? Strapless? Long? Short? Stylish? What fabric is it made from? What colour is it?

Once you begin looking in earnest you should see a pattern forming. Specific cuts, colours, shapes or levels of detail should appear that you can use for inspiration when it comes to the shopping itself.

Complement your figure

Being honest with yourself about what will work with your own shape and what won’t is an essential part of finding your true style. As honest as you can be with yourself, it’s also a good time to get a second opinion. Enlist your best friend, sister or whoever you trust and get them to help here as you’re going to need it.

We all have parts of our body we like and those we dislike. When shopping for a wedding dress, it’s important to choose a shape and style that emphasises the bits we like, while hiding the bits we don’t. Assessing yourself and getting that all important second opinion is vital.

For a wedding dress to be truly successful, you have to find a cut that makes you look the best that you can be. Your wardrobe should give you a clue. Are your dresses slim? Have low backs? Scooped necks? You get the idea.

There are lots of options for every kind of body shape, which is why figuring out what you are in advance is useful. If you have difficulty being honest with yourself or seeing your reflection for what it truly is, your friend can help.

For example, to highlight a tall, slim frame, a longer or slim-fitting dress would work wonders. You could go for a low back, no sleeves or a short train too. If you would prefer to cover your arms, go for a sheer sleeved dress. Want to cover your tummy? Go for a high waist or traditional wedding gown.

There is a wedding dress shape and type for everyone. You just have to find it. That search really should begin at home.

Talk to the experts

Once you have a good idea about your personal style, what kind of wedding dress you want and your true body shape, it’s time to hit the shops. Try on dresses, talk to boutique owners and check out the racks upon racks of dresses. Take advice on shape, style and colour.

Talk to shop assistants about your wardrobe and what you have discovered so far. However, as much as you have learned about yourself during this process, don’t be afraid to take advice and try something completely different too.

The people who work in bridal shops know what they are talking about, listen to them and take their advice on board. They only have your interests at heart and may have an idea that can turn a great wedding dress into a fantastic wedding dress!