Finding a Perfect Wedding Dress

Whatever your budget, your wedding dress should make you look and feel like a star. 

Our friends at Amanda’s Touch sum it up so beautifully Our biggest tip would be to pick a local boutique where you will have an ever-lasting moment to cherish, because in the end it’s about feeling beautiful and experiencing love! Every bride should put their gown on before they purchase it, feel it, move in, fall in love!

Here are some of my favorite tips for selecting the dress of your dreams and a wedding gown that photographs beautifully:

Wear Soft White versus bright white

Bright white can not only be hard to pull off, it can look harsh in photos, instead of delicate and amorous. Additionally, whenever you look at a photographer, you notice the brightest thing in the image first. We want your dress to be part of that but not a show-stealer!

Go for a color!

Don’t shy away from a color you are attracted to! Blush, grey, blue, black! If you have a favorite color, embrace it, and rock your personal style! Essence Of Australia, Stella York, All who Wander, Martina Liana, and Madi Lane are provide gowns in colors other than white! According to Amanda’s Touch, “Actually all of our designers offer multiple color options!”

Select High Quality Organic Materials

Certain wedding dress styles require a lot of fabric, and high-quality fabric is expensive. Most national bridal chains mass-produce gowns made of less expensive, synthetic material. In addition to looking cheap, polyester is horrible for the environment. A dress featuring a small detail of handmade lace will look much more charming than one smothered in low-quality stuff. If you have the perfect dress in mind, but can’t afford to buy it new, think about purchasing your gown secondhand. With the assistance of a talented tailor, no one will ever know you didn’t buy your dress brand new! I have had several brides choose to buy their dresses second hand and then invest in a great seamstress for alterations. Their gowns looked incredible!


In her own way, every bride wants to channel royalty on her wedding day. Lovely! Think like princesses Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton and Grace Kelly and choose a gown that flows smoothly instead of poufs or puffs. Select a couple of special accessories or pieces of jewelry so no piece you’re wearing competes with another piece. We love heirloom pieces!

Matte Fabric is Your (and Your Photographer's) Friend

A little sparkle is marvelous. I adore details on gowns! But for fabric, skip the shine and  go with something organic and matte versus something shiny and glossy.


There are so many different wedding venues in Virginia from coastal weddings in Virginia Beach to private estate and historic landmark weddings around DC. I photograph a lot of weddings at vineyards, like Early Mountain Vineyard, King Family Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyard.  Consider your wedding style and incorporate your wedding planning visions when choosing your gown. Are you planning a lakeside wedding like Nicole and Ben at Montfair Resort Farm? Do you imagine garden chic at Clifton Inn like Melanie & Carter? Or maybe a black tie Pippin Hill wedding is more your style?  Do you want images that are more formal or more playful?

Typically, my couples dance and twirl in the vines. If you are in love with those types of romantic images, make sure you have some range of motion. My absolute favorite gowns allow us to move and explore all those fabulous Blue Ridge mountain views! 


Consider your personality! Are you going to dance all night long or are you more of a mingler? Are you a little more modest or prefer to show off all those pre-wedding workouts! I was a little bit of both but I didn’t want to worry about my dress all night so I went with a strapless gown without a sweetheart neck and with a tie-up bodice.

One word that I think is pretty magical: pockets.


Choose one or two features. A plunging neckline combined with a high leg slit and a lace-up back can be distracting. We love illusion neck lines, open backs and sleek silhouettes. With all the different styles available, there is something that will help you highlight your body type!

Bring an honest friend or family member

Take your time and visit your dress a couple of times. Bring an honest friend who knows your style well. Ask them WHAT they like about a gown instead of IF they like a gown. Trust your bridal consultant and try a few things you didn’t plan on! on the other hand, don’t let anyone talk your into a mermaid style gown when you are heart set on a ballgown. Twirl in it, walk around in it, make sure it will allow you to have fun at your reception!

Ensure Your Dress, or suit, Fits Properly

This may be the most important piece of advice of all. Nothing is more important than a perfect fitting gown because you will be most comfortable in a dress that fits you the way it should. There are seamstresses and tailors aplenty to help you make sure you look like you were poured into your dress and not like you’re going to fall out of it. Create a life-long relationship with your tailor. Some of the best-dressed people I know buy a second-hand couture suit on eBay, have it tailored properly, and look like they walked off the runway!

consider customizing your gown

Still can’t find the perfect wedding gown for your bridal style? Consider some customization. I reached out to our friends over at Amanda’s Touch Bridal Salon and they had some excellent advice to share with us!

“Boutiques like Amanda’s Touch work side by side with our designers to create customizations! You have a middle person there (your stylist) advocating what you want. Every bride should put their gown on before they purchase it, feel it, move in, fall in love!”

Amanda’s Touch had so many lovely ideas about dress shopping that we created a part 2 of this article devoted to them! Check it out here!! 

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