Wedding Dress Shopping – Say Yes To The Dress!

Say “Yes” to the Dress(es)? 

Now that we’re fairly certain of the Destination Wedding, the bride-to-be has started the (what I as the groom would consider long and agonizing) process of selecting dresses and colors!  I definitely had no idea there was so much involved with choosing the dresses for the wedding.  It seems as if all the elements are interconnected (the dress, the color, the bridesmaids/groomsmen, etc) and it’s nearly impossible to find where to start.  I’m hoping that I can help save you the annoyances that plagued my fiance through the early stages of shopping for your destination wedding dress.

Where Do You Start?

When my fiance started her dress shopping, she hadn’t really decided on the theme and/or color-scheme to her wedding.  It seemed as though she was looking at everything all at once.  This quickly got overwhelming and made her start second-guessing just about every choice she was making.  From an outside perspective watching the whole thing transpire, I would have recommended she start by looking at the following process:

  1. Decide on your wedding location and season (or date).  This will dictate many of your “style” options.  For example, a heavy dress with a long train may not be appropriate for a summer, beach wedding.
  2. Know the colors appropriate for the season of your wedding date.  Yes, it’s your wedding and you can do what you want to.  However, if you really want your wedding to have a tied-together look, you should make sure all the outfits are coordinating with colors appropriate to the season.  Do you really want your bridesmaids in a warm winter holiday color in the middle of summer?  Check out the wedding themes and colors article at FavorIdeas.
  3. Choose the color scheme for your wedding.   If you don’t necessarily abide by the “I have to have a white wedding dress” philosophy, you may find that an ivory colored dress looks incredible compared to the traditional white dress depending on the color scheme of your wedding.  Also, choosing the color scheme now will help you when you start looking for ideas for other aspects of your wedding, such as cakes and flowers.
  4. Find your perfect dress.  Start shopping for YOUR dress.  What looks best and flattering for your figure?  What fits within your budget?
  5. Find your bridesmaids dresses.  Now that you’ve found YOUR perfect bridal dress, start shopping for the bridesmaids dresses.  Some folks choose a “mix-and-match” of styles while others want all their bridesmaids coordinating in the same style dress.  Personally, my fiance and I found the coordinating (same) style looked the best for the theme we were trying to create.
  6. Choose the Groom and Groomsmen outfits.  Again, make sure you take into account the season of your wedding.  If your wedding is in the middle of summer at a beach, the full-blown black tuxedo may have your wedding party passing out from the heat!
  7. Choose the Mother-of-the-Bride outfit.
  8. Choose the Mother-of-the-Groom outfit.
  9. Choose the Fathers’ outfits.
  10. Choose the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer outfits.  As these generally tend to be young kids, you should choose these outfits as close to the wedding as possible.  Young kids grow fast, and if you buy the outfit too early they may outgrow it!
  11. Choose the Usher outfits.

The Choices We Made:

The End Result!
Our wedding party final outfit choices!

As you know from our previous post, we want to do a beachside ceremony.  While my fiance took the “long road” getting to her dress/color decisions, we eventually made it and found everything we wanted.  As such, I wanted to share with you our choices, as well as some after-thoughts that may help in your search.

  • Bridal Dress:  My fiance ended up with TWO wedding dresses.  Before you faint, pick your jaw off the floor while I explain why.  First, she was torn between two vastly different dress designs, both of which happened to be on SUPER sale.  Additionally, she had stumbled upon the idea of doing a “trash-the-dress” photo shoot, and due to timing we’re planning to do our “trash-the-dress” shoot immediately following the ceremony and prior to the reception.  She chose a longer, traditional dress for the wedding (white at my request), but chose a shorter, ivory dress for the reception (better for dancing and dim lighting).  The point is, she knew what she wanted and found a way to get the best of all worlds.  Don’t be afraid to find bargains and use them to your advantage!!
  • Bridesmaids:  My fiance went round-and-round about colors, but finally landed on the Dessy “Firecracker” color.  She thought it would stand out best in the sunlight and evening lights, look great against the blue sea backdrop, and also be a fun bright color for flowers and decor.  She ended up choosing an A-line bridesmaid dress, as it was the best fit for all of her bridesmaids.
  • Groom and Groomsmen:  My fiance was nice enough to let us go the khaki route versus tuxedos.  (Personally, I think this helps keep the beach wedding feeling more relaxed and fun, versus stuffy and traditional.)  We found a great vertical stripe shirt that closely approximates the firecracker color and a nice blue complementary color.  We also found fun ties that coordinate with the two colors.  My groomsmen will be wearing blue ties with a small firecracker-colored crab print.  My outfit was a contrast to the groomsmen – a light blue gingham shirt with a firecracker-base tie (and light blue dolphin print).  We thought the small print on the ties was a fun way to bring the “island” into our wedding without being tacky.

Side Note:  We actually color coordinated the dads into the wedding party, by getting them the same khaki/shoe combo, and then having them wear a shirt matching me and a tie matching the groomsmen (blue on blue).  Our mothers chose outfits that coordinated our secondary color (blue).  It looked awesome and definitely helped them coordinate and show their importance with with wedding party without being overly formal.

What’s Been Your Experience?

As I mentioned, this is mostly just my thoughts as an outside observer.  For any of you brides that have already gone through the process, what was YOUR experience?  Would you change the order around if you could do it all over again?  We welcome your stories and tips in the comments below!



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About Rob

A northerner that recently moved South! My newlywed wife and I are long-time vacationers around southwest Florida, and our hearts definitely belong on Sanibel Island!

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