How to Shop for a Wedding Dress

The search for the ‘right dress’ is both an exciting and frightening time. In order to make the most of this experience and hopefully makes this an easier process than finding a husband to be, we’ve rounded up basic concepts you know should know about wedding dress shopping!





If you have the luxury of time, use it to your advantage!  Start window shopping after your engagement or around 9-10 months before your wedding.  There’s a lot to think about when shopping for your dress (your body type, style and fabric) so do yourself a favor by prioritizing this on your wedding timeline.

A wedding dress




This is very crucial. As much as it is fun to bring all your gals, this part of the itinerary has to be limited to a handful of people. Make sure to bring only those people who’s opinion your trust the most.  Remember, to many cooks spoil the broth! 

Plus, most bridal shops can’t really accommodate a large group of people.





  • Expect:  Other brides will shop for their dress too!  There can be a lot of demand  specially when its peak wedding season.
  • Do:  Pick up the phone  or book online, whatever you choose, book an appointment!


  • Expect:  Fine details.  Some shops may ask for a consultation fee, limitation to the duration of consultation, number of dresses you can try on, number of people to bring, what to wear on fitting and/or  what gown sizes are available for you to try.
  • Do:  Check their website, look for the FAQ Summary or ask their staff for these information.


  • Expect:  Gorgeous dresses.  Lots and lots of gorgeous dresses.  Having a ton of options is not always positive, it can also be overwhelming and confusing.
  • Do:  Once you have decided on the shop that you want to visit, select 3-4 dresses from their site which you are keen to try on.  If they don’t have a website that you can check before hand, then at least bring a photo of your most favorite style for reference.


  • Expect:  Cost.   Ah yes!  The pretty sparkling dress comes with a price tag.
  • Do: If you are on a budget then it is best to research the price range of your favorite dress.  The average price of an off the rack NZ wedding dress is between $1500 to $2000.  However,  a couture gown can start around $3000.  Price can increase depending on production, uniqueness, fabric, fit and alterations, time needed to be completed, embellishment, workmanship and brand.




  • Have a list of questions ready for your stylist or consultant.  I am sure there will be a lot of things going on your head on the day of your fitting so spend a day before your appointment and think of important things you want to ask or clarify (payment, timeline or if your dress can be bustled).
  • Bring proper undergarments and shoes.  Strapless or plunging gowns have much more support than regular clothing, so going braless can be an option or you can simply wear a fancy bra.  Underwear (in a light color) of your choice will also make fitting easier.  Equally important, do not forget to bring heels at the height that you think you will wear on your wedding day.
  • Move while wearing the dress.  It may be the nicest dress in the rack but if you can’t breathe, eat, and move in it, then it’s not really worth it.
  • Be open to different gowns.  Don’t be afraid to try gowns which are not ‘traditional wedding colors’.  Maybe a style in ivory, champagne or nude will surprise you and bring out the bride gorgeous glow!
  • Don’t hold  your tears if you feel like it’s coming out.  The tears will help you decide which dress your heart desires!




Love in Navy & Yellow

As endless as the ocean, as timeless as the tides, Nicole and Dylan tied the knot in the beautiful beach of Mount Maunganui.

































Filled with great food and yummy treats, Nicole and Dylan’s wedding

also had a personal touch with guest favors and reception decor

created by the Bride and Groom!















PhotographerAnetha Fantail Photography | Ceremony Venue: Mount Maunganui Beach| Ceremony Set up: Celebration Lane | Reception Venue: Waters Edge Memorial Park | Bride’s Dress:  Pamela F Bride’s Shoes:  Number One Shoes | Hair & Make-up Stylist: Bells & Brides Stylist Groom’s & Groomsmen Attire: Hallensteins |  Groomsmen Attire: Flowers: ‘Mum & Dad’ | Décor: ‘Bride & Friends’|Cake: ‘Groom’s Mum’| Catering: Lemongrass | Jewelry: Michael Hill & Walker  | Invitations: Imprintz | March 16, 2019  |


Navy and yellow


How to Manage the Stress of Wedding Planning

Major life events (happy or sad occasions) are intrinsically stressful.  We all go through different milestones in life, moving home, changing jobs or the birth and death of someone we love.  Some people transition through these changes with ease while others struggle with great difficulty.

The good thing to recognize is that stress management (while it seems to be an abstract concept) is actually a real life skill that when mastered by brides can transform the wedding planning experience into a positive event for both couple.


At its core, stress management depends on four key steps:


Step 1:  Recognize the signs of stress

Stres is the body’s reaction to harmful situations (either real or perceived).  When you feel threatened, your body reacts in a way to prevent injury (‘fight or flight’ reaction).  Stress can affect different aspects of your life (physical, emotional, cognitive). The symptoms can be vague and will vary from one person to another.

Aspects of Life Symptoms of Stress


Low energy, headache, upset stomach (diarrhea, constipation, nausea), aches, pains and tense muscles, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, loss of sexual desire, nervousness and shaking, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Emotional Easily agitated, frustrated and moody, feeling overwhelmed, having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind, low self-esteem, lonely, worthless and depressed and avoiding others
Cognitive Constant worrying, racing thoughts, forgetfulness and disorganization, inability to focus, poor judgment, being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Information retrieved from http://www.webmd.com

Q: Based on the table above,what are your stress signs and symptoms?

Weekend forecast_


Step 2: Identify the source of stress

Wedding planning involves various stressful decision, from budgeting and creating vision boards to meeting friends and family’s expectations.  In reality, perfectionism about wedding arrangement is quite common and can also be a big source of stress.

“Where expectations are, anxiety is sure to follow .”

-Jared DeFife, The Shrink Tank

Specifically, according to a wedding registry app Zola the top sources of wedding planning stress are:

  • Getting it all done
  • Managing guest list and RSVPs
  • Finding a venue
  • Creating, managing and sticking to a budget
  • Achieve perfection and instragram-worthy event
  • Disagreement with in-laws or spouse to be

Q: Relating to your own experience, what are your current source of wedding planning stress?



Step 3: Learn to manage the source of stress

To begin with embrace that everyone will always have something to say about your wedding.  There may be unsolicited advice, wedding horror stories and negative vibes from well-meaning friends and relatives.  In order to best address this, stick to your core plan and clarify the wedding you truly want or do not want to have.  


“What will your marriage mean to you?”

-Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway, Huff Post


Another solution to stress-free wedding planning is giving yourself and your fiance time to prepare.  If possible, decide on the guest list early on. This is because a lot of things will be dictated by your number of guests: venue, catering budget, invitations, wedding favors and others.  The number of guests and who to invite is definitely a sit down conversation to have with your husband to be!

Q: Based on the wedding planning stressors that you have identified, describe values, beliefs and specific tasks that can help you address these stressors.


Step 4: Build your tribe and delegate

While you might want your personal stamp on every single detail of your wedding planning, you will save yourself from tremendous stress if you take time to delegate tasks.  Your bridesmaids can ba a great start to ask for help! A reliable family may also just be standing in a corner waiting to offer a helping hand. Learn to ask for help (running errands, menial tasks ) and receive it wholeheartedly!  

Professional wedding planner may also be an option for you.  Some offers assistance from creative planning to your big day celebration, while others have ‘on-the-day’ services.  Check what is available to you locally.

Q: Look at your to-do-list, which tasks can you delegate to your a)hubby, b)bridesmaids, c)friends and d)family?



Step 5: Take a break and learn how to REST!

Wedding planning stress will get the best of you especially if you are constantly thinking and worrying about it.  So hit the ‘breaks’ and get a much needed rest. Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!

Unplugging from wedding planning doesn’t have to be expensive at all! All you need to do is allocate a specific time for breaks.  For example, you can schedule Friday afternoons for ‘wedding planning free time’. So instead of googling wedding dress designs, you can plan for a quiet time with a good book and wine; or keep your mind off from wedding planning by decluttering and tidying up your home on a Saturday morning or a quick catch up with girlfriends in the afternoon.  


Whatever, your schedule looks like, have a time set aside for a well deserved REST.


Other activities you may want to add on your schedule:

  • Work out/Yoga/Pilates
  • Massage/Pampering Day
  • Start a journal
  • Movie Night
  • Short Road Trip

Q:  What destressing activities best suit your personality?


I am


Pink & Purple Wedding

Surrounded by family and friends, Alan and Marian tied the knot and promised forever!

Between renovating a house and looking after kids our beautiful couple organized their big day with much love and support from their family.  From self-catering, baking the wedding cake to the gorgeous bouquets – each piece surely had a personal family touch.






































Photographer: Emily Ardern | Ceremony Venue: Historic Village Chapel | Reception Venue: Te Puna Quarry Park | Bride’s Dress:  Vanilla Bridal, Essence of Australia | Bride’s Shoes:  JJ House | Hair Stylist: Easa Williams | Make-up Stylist: Eden Osterman Groom’s Attire: Munns Menswear | Bridesmaid Dresses: Pagani | Groomsmen Attire:  Munns Menswear Flowers: ‘Mum & Dad’ | Décor:  Kaimaiview | Cake & Catering: ‘Dad’/Self-catered | Invitation & Stationary:  ‘Bride’ | Jewelry: Michael Hill April 6, 2019 |


Free: Wedding Budget Template

If you’ve just got engaged, congratulations, and welcome to a very exciting time of your life!  One of the few things you should do is work your way through the initial wedding planning checklist which also includes budgeting!

The first step of budgeting is to identify what you can comfortably afford to spend and figure what kind, size and style of wedding will work for you.  And as your wedding planning sister, here’s a free wedding budget template which comes in black/pink, blue and green decor.


Wedding Budget Template Blck_Pnk


Wedding Budget Template Blue


Wedding Budget Template Green


The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are. (1)

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