What style wedding dress do you want?This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

With all the choices out there for brides-to-be in terms of gowns, designers, and styles, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are my tips from a bridal designer’s point of view to picking your wedding dress.

Designer’s Tips For Selecting Your Wedding Dress

Do your research

1. Do Your Research

Decide on what you like and don’t like. It sounds simple enough but once you get into a store there will be literally hundreds of dresses to choose from and you’ll just feel overwhelmed by choice. My advice is to pick 3 or 4 designers you really like that are in your style and budget and do your research!
Watch your budget

2. Budget

Decide on a budget and stick to it. This ties back into rule number 1. There are many brands at different price points, and you need to have an idea of what you are willing to spend. Don’t try on gowns that are out of your budget! You may fall madly in love with it and no other gown will live up to it, and you will be disappointed. It’s really important to be realistic.

It's your dress

3. Style

Honestly, I think the best advice I can give you is COME ALONE. This is your dress, and your day. Don’t let people project their opinions on your wedding, and what you want to wear, even if they know you well. Trust yourself! If you do want to bring friends, bring to your follow-up appointment when you have a clear idea of style and budget and they can help you with your top three choices.

Don't feel compelled to wear white

4. Don’t Feel Pressured to Wear White

White is gorgeous, but it’s not for everyone. Yet, I feel a lot of women go for it because they feel that it makes them “look like a bride”. If you do like white, then amazing- go for it- but don’t feel that you have to wear it if it’s not a colour that speaks out to you. Instead, look at pale pinks, a nude, or a soft grey, or champagne. At & FOR LOVE we have an amazing dirty gold dress that really stands out in a crowd.

Expect alterations on your dress

5. Don’t Think about Size

All designers size charts different. Don’t look at the number. Look at what fits you, and what makes you feel good, and remember that the dress will be altered anyway to get a perfect fit. No one is looking at the tag in your dress.

Help finance your honeymoon with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.

Bio:  & FOR LOVE // BRIDAL AND CEREMONIAL WEAR FOR THE EFFORTLESSLY COOL BRIDE 

& FOR LOVE is a modern bridal and ceremonial brand inspired by real life and real love. We create gowns, separates, and jumpsuits for a new type of bride- a woman who believes it’s ok to break the rules, and knows that looking like a “bride” just means a killer outfit that looks and feels amazing.

We believe in style that’s authentic, effortless, and elegant. That’s our definition of cool, and that’s what bridal means to us.

Angel Spendlove, the designer and creative director of & FOR LOVE, grew up in Sydney, Australia, and graduated from the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, VIC. With her signature boho-meets-modern style, she is inspired by Kate Moss, Rooney Mara, Alexander McQueen, and vintage Balanchine costumes. Angel is the key eye behind & FOR LOVE’s aesthetic, and believes that bridal wear should be a celebration of your true style – and not an excuse to dress up like a 4-year-old‘s princess party.

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Essentials for your beach honeymoon

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

A relaxing beach honeymoon on the brain? Alongside planning your wedding, you might be thinking about your honeymoon too, and we’ve got the perfect 9 essentials for your beach honeymoon right here.

Whatever dreamy beach location you’re headed off to – St. Barts, Tulum, the Maldives? – it’s time to pack! In preparation for organizing, and basically playing Tetris in your suitcase, these 9 essentials range from health to fashion forward items you’ll be wanting to post to Instagram immediately.

9 Essentials For Your Beach Honeymoon

Get a great hat for the beach

1.) The Perfect FLOPPY HAT

Not hard to fall in love with Eugenia Kim’s floppy “Do Not Disturb” hat. Not only will this hat make you feel good and on par with fashion, but it protects your head and face from those damaging UV rays. It also has another function as well; to hopefully let those who pass by, know that you and your honey need not be disturbed. (Image courtesy of Rocky Barnes)

We also love these floppy sun hats too!

2.) The Perfect SUNNIES

We imagine the perfect sunglasses for the beach to be large and full to protect your eyes from the sun as well. But we also think staying true to your face shape is a top priority. Take these Gentle Monster cat eye sunnies. They look great on square, oval, and heart-shaped faces.

Definitely make sure to try on all styles to find which you like best.

We might also suggest these:

Great beach read

3.) The Perfect BEACH READ

Jane Austen. Nicholas Sparks. Charlotte Bronte. Classics for sure, and always worth it. Having a great beach read to pass the time as you soak up the sun is great. Excited to dive into SweetBitter” by Stephanie Danler. A young woman leaves her small town for the Big Apple and in this first year of struggle, she finds herself working at an exclusive Manhattan restaurant and in a love triangle. Sounds like the perfect coming of age story, with lots of drama of course.

Perhaps try these too: (Probably best to choose only one book to take, to keep your bag light!)

4.) The Perfect LUGGAGE TAG

Whether matching or just one for yourself, this “Mrs.” luggage tag from Kate Spade is positively adorable and definitely stands out when finding your suitcase on of the airport carousel. It celebrates the occasion and especially useful, making it an essential for our beach honeymoon for sure.

More to choose from:

Beach towel

5.) The Perfect BEACH TOWEL

We are in l-o-v-e, love with this round beach towel from Kind & Good. The banana leaf print, of cours,e speaks to a Caribbean beach vibe, and with those tassels, makes for one fashionable beach accessory. Lay out in style and enjoy soaking up the sun, view, and that juicy book read.

Love these too:

Great beach coverup

6.) The Perfect COVERUP

Every bride on her beach honeymoon needs a white coverup over her bikini and one like this “Elan” Crochet Coverup found at Nordstroms is divine. Great for a day where you lay out on the beach, but you also might venture alongside shops and have a nice lunch where clothing other than a swimsuit is more appropriate. Comfortable and light, this item can be worn numerous times.

Take a look at these too:

Perfect swimsuit

7.) The Perfect SWIMSUIT

As a bride, we love the idea of embracing a white swimsuit as well. This one from Lulus is both sexy and sweet. The Blue Life Mirage White Lace one piece swimsuit has it all. Beading, lace, and an open back sounds very similar to many wedding gowns of today, and why not be a bride all honeymoon long?

8.) The Perfect BEAUTY SUNSCREEN

For the most part, keeping your face clean and clear is important anytime of year. But when you head to the beach, you might find it harder to find a great sunscreen for your face and also one that is light enough in case you wear any makeup. We suggest a light tinted moisturizer. But go a step further with a beauty enhancing sunscreen like this Tatcha Silken pore perfecting sunscreen with spf 35. Mix it in with the tinted moisturizer and put all over your face for a clear even tone that won’t look greasy or matte. Add a little waterproof mascara and you’ve got a very natural, (and clean!), look.

9.) The Perfect BODY SUNSCREEN

Skip all those nasty ingredients and be paraben-free. Making the skin actually look better, the La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen is great for brides on the beach. It gives a slight tint to the skin, evening skin tone and giving a natural glow. Even if you aren’t tan, this sunscreen will give just enough color so you don’t look like a ghost in your white bikini on the beach. And you’ll definitely appreciate it not only in pictures, but you’ll be saving your skin too from those harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Take a look at this one too: Clarins Sun Care Milk-Lotion Spray, SPF 50+

We are sure you’ll find a few essentials you need for yourself, but we do hope these 9 essentials will help you on your way and give you an idea of what fun and needed items you should pack. Above all have fun and share lots of kisses on your special beach honeymoon!

Help finance your beach honeymoon wi8th a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.

BIO: Kate McDonald Bridal 

Katherine McDonald began designing dresses when she was a child.  She always loved sketching, sewing and spending time with her mother at the local fabric store.  After exploring various corporate jobs, Katherine set out to design her first Ready-to-Wear line in 2003. LulaKate (Lula for her great-great grandmother and Kate for Katherine) led to her successful bridesmaid line of fun and flirty classic silhouettes that are available in over 50 boutiques.

Shortly after her own wedding, Katherine started designing bridal gowns for clients under the LulaKate label.  In 2014 , Katherine decided that the bridal gowns and little white dresses deserved their own label and Kate McDonald Bridal was born.

Working with luxurious fine European fabrics, delicate details and happy brides is a dream come true. We are proud and committed to being sewn in the USA using the finest specialty fabrics. Kate McDonald Bridal is headquartered in beautiful Charleston, SC with custom design services available at our flagship location.  The Collection is also available at select bridal salons across the country.

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