"The Feeling" // How do I know I've found my wedding dress?

That long-awaited feeling as you step into the 5th gown of the day after thinking, "I'll never find the perfect wedding dress!"

Your heart begins to flutter, the dress sparkles like no sparkle you've ever seen before, you get a twinkle in your eye and you look like the most beautiful bride in the entire world.

Sorry to break it to you, but it doesn't happen like you see it in the movies. Yes, many girls get that "feeling" you always hear about but unfortunately for the rest of us, that "feeling" never comes.

Does that mean I should keep looking? Should I just give up and settle?

We all wish that a light bulb would go off in our brains or a twinkling star would appear telling us, "THIS IS THE DRESS!" But oftentimes, it's a bit harder than you think to make that decision. I mean, these are the photos you are going to look at for the rest of your life, this is the dress you will become a wife in, and this is the moment you've been waiting for since the dress up days!

So instead of relying on "the feeling," I've put together a list of other ways you may be able to tell that you've found your dress (or reasons you know it isn't THE DRESS), and you can then stop searching! No, you don't need to check off the entire list, but just one or two on there, and you can be sure that your search is done!


How do I know I've found (or haven't found) my wedding dress?

1. You hated the look of it in magazines and yet, you love it when it's on you.

2. You leave the bridal salon without a dress, but you just can't stop thinking about it.

3. Once it's ordered, there's no turning back aka no returns. If that thought scares you at all, then it's not the dress!

4. It flatters your current body.

5. You feel the prettiest you've ever felt...even if you aren't wearing makeup!

6. You just want to put it back on a second, third, and fourth time.

7. You WANT your friends and family to take photos of you in it!

8. You know that he will absolutely love it...because he is the one you're trying to impress!

9. You love it even though your friends and family hate it. Because YOU are what matters.

10. You can imagine yourself wearing it on your wedding day!

11. If there is any doubt in your mind, it is not the dress.

12. The tears flow as soon as you put it on...and that's called "the feeling."

If you've already found your dress, how did you know that is was "the one"?

Tips & tricks from only the best!

Today is going to be extra short and sweet. And while the information you'll be reading may seem like a bit of a "jumbled mess" with no apparent theme (except that fact that is all has to do with hair and makeup), I learned so much going through this process with Kelsey and the Swell Beauty team and just had to tell you about the biggest tips and tricks that I learned throughout this experience! Yes, I've been a bride before and had my bridal trial, but it was a completely different experience looking from the outside in.

The Swell Beauty team provided an overwhelming amount of knowledge and expertise, and throughout the day, I made sure to take notes on the tips and tricks I heard so that I could share them with all of you! So here are the tops ticks and tricks that I think every bride should know!

It's All About Balance

Balance, balance, balance. We talked about it on multiple occasions throughout the day because it is so important to take into consideration when choosing your hairstyle. And this is one reason why it is so imperative to bring a photo of your dress along with you!

Your hair to dress "ratio" must be balanced. So if you have a poofy dress, you don't want your hairstyle to be too poofy. And if you have a poofy dress, you don't want your hairstyle to be too flat, but with a great overall balance of hair to dress
style, you'll able to create a stunning style that brings out the beauty in you!

The "Fake" Tan

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with spray and airbrush tans, the type of "fake" tan we are talking about here. In college, I used to love getting spray tans, but that is beside the point. But when it comes to your bridal trial, "fake" tans play a very important role and you need to know some important information on the do's and don'ts!

If you are going to get a spray tan, it is important to not get your face done. The reason being is that your stylist can easily match the color of your arms and chest with the makeup she uses, but if you get the spray tan on your face, it often shows up blotchy...not something you will want for your wedding day!

Save Yourself A Couple Bucks

I hear it time and time again, "I am going to hire a friend so I can save some money on hair and makeup." DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT fall into this trap! Your photos are what are going to be sitting on your coffee table, hanging on your walls, and will be part of many "#tbt's" for years to come! And your hair and makeup are, obviously, a large part of those photos! And not only that, you want to feel your best, to feel more beautiful than you've ever felt, on this very special day, so if you need to save some bucks, I am sure you can find some ways to save somewhere else :)

You've Found "The One"

There are thousands upon thousands of hair and makeup stylists out there, plenty which are amazing and many more who claim to be wedding stylists. So before you get yourself into trouble and end up paying more to fix a wrong decision, I've asked Dee to explain to all of you the best way to find "the one" for you, what to look for in stylists you want and don't want, and how to ensure your experience is a positive one from booking through the end of your wedding night!

"Not only do you want someone that does beautiful work, but someone who will go above and beyond to provide you with additional tips and tricks to ensure you look and feel your best on your big day. You want to find a stylist who has a website and many social media outlets full of images and most importantly experience IN WEDDINGS...at least two years!

You DO NOT want to book anyone who has no photos of their work or experience in weddings, or a stylist who works in a salon that focuses on your every day cut and color. These stylist come into a wedding with a different mind frame than wedding professionals. On a normal day, they can have their assistant finish your cut, color, wash, or blow dry but on the wedding day, this cannot happen. They are not sued to timelines and pressure, cannot take you 10 minutes late or run past the designated timeline. Your regular cut and color stylist lacks wedding experience and consistency in this area. Avoid someone who tells you, "I usually don't do weddings, but I will do it for you!"

Your stylist should want to bring out your natural features and your true beauty without trying to make you look like a different person, and you should be able to see this in their images! You want a stylist who uses professional hair and makeup products, and not ones you can find at your local drug store.

Find a stylist who is willing to and truly wants to spend as many hours as it takes on your trial, because he or she cares!" - Dee, Swell Beauty

And with all of this, you should be one step closer to finding your perfect stylist FOR YOU, with some great tips and tricks along the way! And believe me, Swell Beauty sure did go above and beyond on Kelsey's trial...we were there for eight hours perfecting her looks - talk about commitment to their brides! And that is exactly the stylist you'll want to find for your own wedding day :)


I hope that this series is not only fun for you to watch, see, and read, but that is eases any worries or unknowns about what your hair and makeup trial will be like. Our goal is to guide you through the process of choosing your stylists, offer you tips and tricks along the way, make sure you are best prepared for your trial, and help you through all the way to your wedding day!

Swell BeautyBleudog FotographyAfterDark Media

IMPORTANT: Bridal Trial Preparation

The trial is an important step in creating your dream wedding vision and your final bridal look and there are steps that need to be taken in order to ensure the trial runs smoothly and effectively. Not only do we have some "homework" for you to prepare, but your stylist and makeup artists need to know a little about you beforehand to make sure they are using the right products for you!

So today, we have some checklists for you to use for your own trial - what you need to come prepared with (and don't get worried, it's all fun wedding inspiration that you love compiling anyways!) and a checklist of questions to give to your stylist before the trial so she can prepare and brainstorm the products she is going to be using beforehand!

Your Trial Checklist

It is imperative that you come prepared to your trial with everything listed below, as the overall style and theme of your wedding will help determine the bridal styles that will best work for you! Although you may have some great ideas of what you want your hair and makeup to look like, always come in with an open mind, as your stylist will always have some great ideas for you based on the inspiration you show him or her.

"It is a great idea to come with inspiration photos to show your artist so we have a foundation to build on. Hair texture, thickness, and theme may play a role in the final look. And while some brides have an exact style in mind, once the stylist sees the dress and discusses the theme, we may tweek the style a bit to fit the bride and to flatter her the most with the dress and accessories she has in mind!" - Dee, Swell Beauty


But always remember, while they are the professionals and have some great ideas, in the end the final decision is yours! And like we said yesterday, don't leave your trial until you are in love with your look :)

Here is what you need to come prepared with:

 - A photo of your wedding dress
 - Photos of your bridesmaid dresses
 - Floral, decor, and your wedding day inspiration
 - Your wedding theme and colors
 - Your veil, headpiece, or any hair accessories

 - Wedding day jewelry and accessories
 - Photo of yourself when you do your own makeup
 - Bring a maximum of two family/friends with you
 - Wear a white, loose tank top for pictures

Here is a quick sneak peek at Kelsey's consultation and how all of these items come into play!

Pre-Trial Consultation

As you know, a stylist is going to have TONS of different products and the reason is that not every product works well for everyone. If you have thick hair, curly, and oily hair, the products your stylist uses are going to be different than a bride with dry, straight, thin hair. Just like a bride who sweats easily will need different products than a bride who has extremely dry skin.

"It is also important to bring a photo of yourself so the stylist can get a good idea of what you look like on a day-to-day basis. A photo of your every day look in addition to a dressed up version of yourself allows your stylist to best bring out your features and your true beauty, without making you look like a different person." - Dee, Swell Beauty

So sending your stylist the answers to ALL of these questions beforehand, will help him or her be best prepared for your trial and will allow your time spent together to be most effective.

And thank you to Dee, owner of Swell Beauty for providing us with all of the necessary preparation tools and questions so all of you can have an effective trial when your day comes :)

Skin Questions

1. What type of skin would you say you have?
    A. DRY
    B. OILY
    D. Combination

2. Do you have freckles? If so, do you like them covered?
3. Please describe your skin tone and complexion.
4. Do you way your eyebrows or facial hair?
5. Do you struggle with dark circles under your eyes?
6. Do you tend to wear a lot of makeup?
7. Do you tend to like more natural makeup?
8. Have you worn false eyelashes before?
Are you considering wearing them for your wedding?
9. Do you have eyelash extensions? Are you considering getting them before your wedding?
10. Do you have any allergies to specific brands of makeup/products? If so, what are they?
11. Do you have sensitive skin?
12. So you tend to sweat easily?
13. What color are your eyes?
Do you plan to tan before your wedding? If so, what kind? (tanning bed, spray tan, sun)
15. Do you have any skin concerns? If yes, explain.

Hair Questions

1. How long is your hair?
    A. LONG
    B. SHORT

2. My hair is...
    C. THICK

3. What would you say your hair texture is?
    A. CURLY
    C. WAVY
    D. COMBO

4. What color is your hair?
    B. RED
    C. BROWN
    D, BLACK
    E. OTHER

5. Does your hair tend to get oily?
6. How long can you go without washing your hair?
A. 1 DAY
    B. 1-2 DAYS
    C. 2-3 DAYS
    D. I have to wash it every day

7. Is your hair colors treated? Or do you have virgin hair?
8. Does your hair hold a curl?
9. Do you have a sensitive scalp to pins, brushing, and pulling?
10. Are you allergic to any hair products?
11. Do you wear hair extensions? If so, what kind?

12. Are you considering wearing hair extensions for your wedding day?
13. What hair products do you use?
14. Do you have any hair concerns? If so, what are they?

Coming prepared to your trial and giving your stylist as much information about yourself beforehand will allow him or her to be best prepared, to get their creative juices flowing, and bring out your wedding theme, style, and your natural beauty for your wedding day!


I hope that this series is not only fun for you to watch, see, and read, but that is eases any worries or unknowns about what your hair and makeup trial will be like. Our goal is to guide you through the process of choosing your stylists, offer you tips and tricks along the way, make sure you are best prepared for your trial, and help you through all the way to your wedding day!

Swell BeautyBleudog FotographyAfterDark Media