A Prep Guide for Designing Your Bridal Look

Well-Planned, Styled ShootLauren

Designing your wedding day look can be one of the most exciting chapters in your wedding planning process. The joy of finding your perfect bridal gown alongside your near-and-dear loved ones is a once in a lifetime experience, and an event that should be thoughtfully arranged. Friends, take it from us, we have learned the hard way that creating your bridal look can quickly become overwhelming and daunting. The process may not be perfect, after all it is a big decision, but we believe that taking intentional time to plan your bridal look before you begin shopping will help you to truly enjoy the process. 

This preppy and nautical styled shoot inspired Virginia Grace Social to share our prep guide for designing your bridal look. 


Fundamentals First

Fundamentals first, darling! We encourage you to answer the Where, When, and How of your wedding day, before you begin wedding dress shopping. 

Where? We suggest deciding on your location, and booking your venue before purchasing your dress.

When? Set a date first, so that you know the time of year your wedding will be held in.

How? Determine the type of atmosphere you want at your wedding. Do you prefer a casual laid-back setting, or are you planning to have a formal black tie affair?

These three points will make a big impact on your bridal look, and will help you in making decisions. Once you have the fundamentals set, begin gathering photos and inspiration.


Set Your Budget

The last thing you want is to fall in love with a gown that is way out of reach of your budget. We encourage you to set a firm wedding dress budget. To do so, you will need to ensure that your total overall wedding budget is finalized. As a rule of thumb, your wedding dress should make up 10% of your total wedding budget. 

Decide on the Right Boutique for You

Each bridal boutique has its own unique brand and niche. Just like finding the right dress, it is important to find a boutique that aligns well with your personality and priorities. A few fabulous questions to answer before deciding on a boutique are:

What type of dress shopping experience do you want, and does this shop cater to that?

Are you interested in specific designers, and does this boutique carry those lines?

Does this boutique offer a variety of gowns that fit within my budget?  

Have your sweet friends had a positive experience at this boutique? 


Invite the Right People to Accompany You

We encourage quality over quantity in many aspects of life, and believe this principle to be true when inviting others to accompany you at your bridal gown appointments. Invite people who will be supportive, help you to have a delightful experience, and will carefully share valid thoughts. Need we say more?!

Get Gussied Up

Take time to primp and get pretty before your appointment. Style your hair in a similar way that you plan to wear it on your wedding day. If you plan to wear your hair in an updo, neatly style it up for your appointment. If you haven’t yet decided on your wedding day hairstyle, we suggest wearing your hair down with a few curls and bringing hairpins along with you to your appointment. This will allow you to try a variety of hairstyles when you find the dress. Seeing yourself gussied up and well styled will help you to feel confident and will help you to better capture your full bridal look while trying on dresses.


Oh Darling, Do Enjoy It!

Last, but certainly not least, enjoy it! Creating your bridal look and deciding on your wedding dress is a big decision that can easily become overwhelming. We encourage you to take your time, relax, and enjoy it. You can sleep on your decision, and venture back to say, “yes” to the dress. Designing your wedding day look is a short chapter in your planning process. Try to savor every moment of it and cherish the experience. 


Photography: Stephanie Brann Photography

Design & Styling:  Ashley Henry of Henry Photography

Floral Design: Ashby Floral

Cake:  Enticing Icings & Custom Cakes

Bridal Boutique:  Ivy Bridal Studio

Bridal Gown: Modern Trousseau

Stationary, Favors, & Custom Napkins: Ivory House Creative

Linens:  Connie Duglin Linen

Model:  Kaitlyn Sapp