The biggest mistakes brides make when shopping for wedding dresses, according to designer Pnina Tornai

Dec 29, 2020 · 5 min read

Pnina Tornai shared some of the biggest and most expensive mistakes she’s seen brides make while shopping for or designing their wedding dresses.

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Pnina Tornai told Insider about the biggest mistakes she sees brides make when shopping for wedding dresses. urbazon/Getty Images

By Samantha Grindell

For many brides, one of the most exciting aspects of planning a wedding is finding your dress.

But the process can also be stressful, particularly because it’s an expensive purchase that takes a long time to make. Brides often end up making mistakes as they shop that can lead to regret or the loss of thousands of dollars.

Insider spoke to Pnina Tornai, one of the world’s leading wedding dress designers, about mistakes she sees brides make as they look for a wedding dress.

Tornai’s gowns are exclusively sold at Kleinfeld Bridal in the US. Her latest collection of gowns, called “ONE,” will be available at Kleinfeld in January of 2021. Tornai also recently launched a ring collection of the same name, which is sold exclusively at Jared.

Other people’s opinions on dresses shouldn’t drown out your own

Many people’s instinct is to bring a huge group of friends or family members with them as they shop for their wedding dress.

But that’s often not as productive as you think, according to Tornai.

Pnina Tornai is a renowned wedding dress designer.
Pnina Tornai is a renowned wedding dress designer.
Pnina Tornai is a renowned wedding dress designer. Desiree Navarro / Contributor / Getty Images

“I would say that one of the biggest mistakes I see is bringing an entourage that is too big,” Tornai told Insider. “More people usually means more opinions, which can end up confusing the bride.”

If your entourage hates a dress you love, you might not feel like you can get it, which might leave you feeling disappointed as you shop and on your wedding day.

Rather than a big group, it’s best to bring a couple of people you really trust — and who will respect your wishes — when you shop for your dress.

Brides who don’t keep an open mind might miss out on the perfect dress

Tornai recommends brides do some research on the kinds of dresses they like before they go shopping, as it makes the process of narrowing down your options less stressful once you’re actually in a store.

But even if you have a solid idea of the style you think you’ll like, it’s still worth it to try on a few gowns outside of your comfort zone — especially if a salon consultant or designer recommends it to you.

“Definitely do your research before shopping, but also keep an open mind,” Tornai told Insider. “So often, the gown that is the one ends up being the opposite of what the bride originally planned on wearing, and that is more than OK.”

Pnina Tornai’s new collection, “ONE.”
Pnina Tornai’s new collection, “ONE.”
Pnina Tornai’s new collection, “ONE.” Ortal Elimeleh did the models’ makeup, while Benjamin Ruimi did their hair. Dvir Kahlon

Dresses often look different on you than they do on models, so you might be surprised by how much you like a style you previously thought you would hate.

“It really is about what makes you feel the most beautiful, not what you think you should wear or what others picture you in,” Tornai added.

It’s worth your time to try on a few different styles of gowns when you first start shopping so you can know for sure if a cut or fit is right for you or not.

The experimentation might lead you to a gown that’s more beautiful than you could have anticipated. If you don’t take the risk, you could miss out on your dream dress.

If you’re going to buy a completely custom gown, you have to be able to release control

When you order a wedding dress from a boutique, the dress will be custom-built to your specifications.

But some brides like to take that customization to the next level by having a designer create a one-of-a-kind wedding dress for them. The thrill of creating a unique dress is fun for brides, but Tornai said designing a custom gown can be difficult if the bride isn’t willing to let the expert do their job.

“One of the biggest mistakes [I see] is when the bride does not trust me fully,” Tornai told Insider.

A custom dress takes months to create, and even though a bride will see sketches before the dress is built, it can be anxiety-inducing to spend thousands of dollars on a dress when you don’t know what the finished gown will look like.

Some brides take that anxiety out on the designer, which doesn’t help make the dress any faster.

“ONE” will be available at Kleinfeld in 2021.
“ONE” will be available at Kleinfeld in 2021.
“ONE” will be available at Kleinfeld in 2021. Dvir Kahlon

The onus falls to the bride to release control and allow the designer to let the creative process happen, so it’s important to work with a designer you feel connected to and trust if you’re going to buy a completely custom dress.

But if that process sounds too nerve-wracking, you don’t have to design an entirely new dress to have a unique wedding-day look, as Tornai told Insider.

“While there is an allure of having a custom, one-of-a-kind piece that no other bride will have, I don’t think that having a gown completely custom-made is for every type of bride,” she said. “For those who have a hard time visualizing but want something customized, I would recommend finding one of my existing styles and maybe changing one or two elements of the gown.”

For instance, you can take the skirt of one dress and pair it with the bodice of another for a new look.

You’ll regret it if you don’t soak up the fun of the experience

Shopping for a wedding dress should be fun.
Shopping for a wedding dress should be fun.
Shopping for a wedding dress should be fun. Dvir Kahlon

The goal of wedding dress shopping is to find a beautiful gown.

The process can be stressful because of the plethora of options and the expensive nature of wedding dresses, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it.

“This should be the best shopping trip of your entire life,” Tornai said of wedding dress shopping. “Just relax and flow with it.”

“You only get one ‘say yes’ moment — maybe two if you’re doing multiple looks — so make sure to soak in every second,” she added.

However, Tornai also said you should avoid making the shopping process last any longer than it needs to.

“If you found the one, stop looking,” she advised brides. If you keep looking at dresses even after you find one you love, you’ll just confuse yourself.

You can see more photos of Pnina Tornai’s 2021 “ONE” dress and ring collections on Instagram. And before you start shopping for your gown, check out Insider’s guide to wedding dress shopping here.

For more great stories, visit Insider’s homepage.



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