Finding the perfect wedding dress can feel like an elaborate and expensive game of hide and seek; with the dress of your dreams always hiding around the corner, but finding a wedding dress can be a wonderful, once in a life time experience, if you follow a few basic steps I will outline for you here.

ijphoto_cicada_bridal-1156 copy1. Know your body type

The biggest hurdle that most girls have to finding the dress of their dreams is not understanding what looks best on their form. This is best done by taking your measurements and doing a little math. You can see exactly what I mean by checking out this great post from on finding your perfect body shape. Then check out what dress silhouettes look best for your body type. David’s Bridal has a guide for this, and so do many other sites as well.  Once you know what to look for it’s time to browse Google and find some dream dresses. (These might be totally out of your budget, but we’ll worry about that later. ) Be careful to look for the silhouette that flatters you the best, but don’t rule something out just because it doesn’t match your research, you never know until you try!

wedding dress designer cicada bridal ijphoto seattle washington 2. Look for custom designs over “cookie cutter”

Chain stores have one benefit, they can give you exactly the dress you’ve seen before. If you’re looking for something different, unique, or personal, a smaller shop with an emphasis on custom design is a better bet. These stores often have the designer working in house (or sometimes behind the register!) so you get incredible access as well as options.  Boutique bridal shops will cater to your body shape, personal style, and need to stand out from the crowd. While custom might sound like it comes with a larger price tag the truth is larger retailers will simply charge you the difference in alterations. Cicada Bridal is one of my favorite shops and I’m sure that once you visit them they will be yours too! This Seattle wedding dress boutique is filled with romantic and bohemian looks that sparkle with elegant details, delicate lace, and the finest materials. The design team behind Cicada has created a line that has a lot of mix and match possibilities including belts, removable skirts, and lace overlays.

wedding dress designer cicada bridal ijphoto seattle washington 3. Know your budget

Too often a bride get so excited about her new engagement that she rushes to purchase a dress without giving any thought as to what she should expect. Here’s a few budgeting tips.

  • 5-10% of your total budget will be your wedding dress. The average wedding for Seattle is between $23,932 and $39,886. Don’t forget accessories are included in this number and could run anywhere from $200-$1000 depending on the person (and how much you spend on those amazing heels you’ve been dreaming about.)
  • Sample sales a
    re a great way to find a dress at a lower price tag. Depending on the store, sample sizes vary. If you are interested in buying a sample dress or hear about a sample sale, ask first what the street size is for their samples. Keep in mind that wedding dress sizes are different than your regular size. Your measurements are necessary in deciding what bridal size you wear.
  • The more you alter a dress, the more money it will cost. If you find the dress at a chain store, be prepared for alterations if you are taller or shorter than 5’9″. Most wedding dresses wedding dress designer cicada bridal ijphoto seattle washington are made to fit a person of that height and floor length gowns will need alterations if you are shorter. If you are taller, be prepared to pay more as adding more material is always more expensive then taking some away.

Finally, remember that your wedding dress is an expression of you! Choose a dress that makes you feel great as well as look great. Make sure it fits perfectly, so you can enjoy wearing it, and allow yourself the splurge, you deserve it!