A bride stands in her wedding dress bathed in natural light.

As soon as he put a ring on it, all you've been thinking about is the dress. So, now here you are. Surrounded by every bridal magazine you could find at the bookstore and armed with your laptop with online galleries tabbed and Pinterest boards opened, the browsing has begun. And that is when you realize just how many wedding dress styles are out there. It's overwhelming.

How do you go from this to walking down the aisle looking amazing? In our four part series we help you navigate the choppy and (sometimes) emotional waters of dress shopping.

Enjoy these first steps.

Now is the time to stretch your boundaries. Even if you have always seen yourself in a sheath, give the princess ballgowns a look-see, just in case. Also, make sure to ask your sweetie's opinion. I know this sounds strange because he hasn't had an opinion on your wardrobe ever, but chances are there are some ideas in his head. I had a friend who was getting married who fantasized about a giant ballgown. Her fiance voiced that he really didn't like the poufy dresses, so she gave a sheath a try. It looked fantastic and showed off her amazing figure.

Begin broad.

Tear out or highlight every dress you can see yourself in. You've been training your whole life for this shopping trip. Every prom and homecoming and black tie affair has led to this moment. In this first phase, don't be discouraged if you still have a huge selection in front of you. Start broad and varied and then start to whittle down later. For now, pick out what you like and organize them into categories that make sense to your wedding-addled brain. You could sort by features (maybe you really want lace sleeves) or by theme (retro dresses fit your personality). Start thinking about what you like about each dress. This will come in handy later when trying to explain what you want to a dress consultant at a boutique (P.S. "Something really cute" will not be the appropriate answer).

Start processing.

Think about your body and what you are normally comfortable in (more on this next week). If you hate wearing tank tops because you don't like showing off your arms, nix anything sleeveless that wouldn't work with some type of jacket. If you just aren't drawn to the white dress, throw out everything that isn't blush or grey or some other fantastic color. Does that mermaid gown remind you of what your evil stepmother wore on her wedding day? You don't need that drama, Cinderella. Pick another.

Join us next week as we tackle the right dresses for your body type and how to be your most confident self on your wedding day.


Photo Credit: K & K Photography