How To Find Your Dream Wedding Dress with Anita Patrickson

Hi there, fellow Julianne fans! Anita Patrickson here. As Julianne’s friend and stylist for over six years, we’ve had great times in even greater gowns! This year, I worked with Jules on finding the one dress that mattered most: her wedding dress.

Julianne and I went back and forth, discussing it quite a bit. Of course we’ve selected many gowns for her before for special events like the Golden Globes and Dancing with the Stars (I’m fairly certain she has worn every style and color under the sun). However, it was important to Julianne that this dress would be a different type of special. She wanted something timeless, clean, and elegant: a dress she could look back on years from now and still be awed by its classic beauty. I couldn’t agree more!

Because celebrity clients have tried on a million gowns before, they have more pre-planned idea of what they prefer for their wedding gown. But with my girlfriends and non-celebrity clients, they are in completely new and exciting territory. Often, these brides-to-be will end up picking a dress they never thought they would wear. My first piece of advice is to always keep an open mind and try on every style — you will probably be surprised what looks and feels right!

I always tell brides they should work backwards: pick the location and theme, then match the dress to your wedding. For starters, where are you getting married? Location dictates so much of what you should wear. If you’re getting married in a vineyard, something off the shoulder would be lovely. In New York City? I’d lean towards something clean and structured with big city vibes. What time of day? What time of year? Try a long-sleeved gown in the winter or a little less material in the summertime.

Next, there are certain questions you should answer for yourself before shopping:
• What is your body type?
• Which parts of your body do you want to show off?
• Which parts of your body would you rather conceal?
This one might surprise you, but I always ask my clients: What would your partner like? One of my friends, a true tomboy, once mentioned to me how much it would mean to her husband to see her in a gown with a full skirt. She just loved that he was going to be so excited. I thought that was so sweet. While I believe you should usually dress for you, this would be the one time to dress for the both of you.

Of course for Julianne, she had to have a dress that she could dance in! You and I both know she’s going to dance her patootie off in whatever dress she wears, so it better be able move. If you plan on wearing the ceremony dress to the reception, ask if it’s possible to alter or bustle the bottom half. One of my recent brides changed into a jumpsuit for her reception knowing ahead of time she was going to dance her ass off. That’s perfect bridal planning!

Accessories I Do’s:
• Make sure your shoes are appropriate and comfortable. Will you be walking on sand, grass, etc.?
• Plan to have a pair of practical shoes on hand. Use the heels for the photos then swap them out with some sparkly white flats or even some cute sneakers. Tuck them under your seat at the reception. You will be glad they’re there at midnight!
• Plan your undergarments ahead of time. It is no fun trying to find the right underwear to work with your dress at the last minute.
• Pre-pack a clutch with mints, lipstick, and other necessities. Give it to a trusty bridesmaid so you have it at the reception.
• Celebrate tradition! I always incorporate the something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue into the look. It’s fun and special!
• For the ceremony, let your ring be the star accessory — keep everything else minimal, simple and clean.

Most importantly, does it all feel like YOU? Are you traditional? Are you always wearing vintage? Do you usually tend to push the envelope? Allow your dress to match your personality and vibe! Like Jules, if you are true to yourself, you will look back on your wedding day and know you made all the right choices.

Thanks for hanging with me while Jules is away on her honeymoon. I hope that helps all the brides-to-be with their dress choices! For all the former brides, what did you do to make your look unique? I want to hear your stories!

Be sure to check out People Magazine’s exclusive behind-the-scenes to learn more about Julianne’s gorgeous Marchesa gown.

For more amazing fashion inspiration and advice, follow Anita on Instagram @AnitaPatrickson.

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