All You Need To Know To Find Your Perfect Wedding Dress

As Matt and I are coming up on our third wedding anniversary (oh my word time flies!), I thought it would be fun to share a little bit more about our wedding and the details I get asked the most often about. I have to say, the biggest question I get is, “Where is your dress from?” Along with that question, I also get asked how I knew my wedding dress was “the one” and how I chose the style! So I am going to share my best tips for how to find your perfect, dream dress, and talk more about how/why I chose the Essense of Australia dress I wore on my wedding day.


Before Matt and I were even engaged I knew that I wanted a long sleeve wedding dress! I had never known anyone who wore a gown with sleeves, so I thought it would be unique, while maintaining a timeless look. When I started looking for wedding dresses after we got engaged, I had a budget and style in mind, but wasn’t really seeing many options with sleeves. My mom had made several reservations one day for me to try on dresses at three stores in the area. At the first two stores I wasn’t seeing anything that was felt like ME and matched my style, until we got to the third store and they finally had a long sleeve dress!

This was the Essense of Australia dress that I put on and instantly felt like it was perfect for me. I loved the fit; even in the floor model dress that was cinched tight with clamps to hold the dress up, I could tell that it was a gorgeous dress. The mermaid fit was flattering in all the right places. I liked that it was snug around the hips and waist, and from there tulle made the train fall in a really elegant way. The back had a zipper so everything was held in really secure and snug, but there were also gorgeous silk buttons all the way up the back that covered the zipper and added so much detail to the back of the dress. The back of the dress also dipped down and showed some back through the light lace overlay, which I think was so important since the rest of the dress had so much coverage! I loved that the sweetheart neckline on the front had the lace overlay which met with the sleeves; it was just so gorgeous and looked so elegant. One thing I was always hesitant about with lace dresses is the lace making the dress look dated or old fashioned. The lace on this dress was so unique because it was a thicker lace pattern, instead of being really intricate. I loved the whole look and thought that the lace almost looked like flowers, vines, or greenery, which was perfect with my flower crown!

I am literally still just as obsessed with this dress as I was almost three years ago haha! I love that Essense of Australia created gowns that are unique, extremely high quality, and also very timeless at the same time. I would choose this dress again if I was getting married tomorrow! There is something to say about a dress that is fashion forward, elegant, modern, and traditional all at once.

You can search the Essense of Australia site for similar gowns with long sleeves, or search by season and style.

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Why Essense of Australia

When bride-to-be’s ask me for my advice on where to shop for a dress, I will always recommend Essense of Australia because I think they truly have the best selection for any bride wanting a unique and memorable dress. I found it so refreshing to be able to choose a dream dress that didn’t break my budget, and I think they have the biggest selection of affordable dresses I have seen.

Thinking back to our wedding day, if I could describe my bridal style in jus a few words, I would choose: Elegant, bohemian, and romantic. I definitely wanted my wedding dress to be traditional and elegant in a way that years from now, I could look back and still think it was a timeless decision. However, I also really wanted it to describe my fun style, and I feel like the construction and details of the gown did just that! I love that the Essense bride is carefree, free-spirited and has a dress that perfectly describes who she is.

I can still remember the feeling of wearing my Essense gown on our wedding day. I honestly felt like the most gorgeous girl in the world. The lace train was elegant and long, with the most perfect thicker lace edge. Details of lace on the neckline and beads closing the back and sleeves were touches that made the dress stand out. The Essense designers loves these details as much as the bride; whether it be beading, lace, a plunging neckline, open back, or pockets, they know what brides are looking for!

Essense of Australia dresses this season are inspired by ‘a walk through the wildflowers’. This is told through lace patterns, intricate beading, uniquely shaped trains, and feminine silhouettes. Much like my bridal style, a bride wearing Essense could incorporate greenery & flowers into her wedding day to play off of these feminine and romantic styles. Long, flowing greenery from a big bouquet, a crown of flowers, or a few sprigs of greenery tucked into a low messy bun.

There are hundreds of stores nationwide (and across the world!) that carry Essense of Australia dresses, so no matter where you are located you can find your dream dress without compromising on style and budget.

TIPS FOR Picking out the
perfect wedding dress

Now that you have heard all about my dream dress, I want to help you find yours! As you start to look for dresses and dream up your wedding, there are a few things I would start to consider and ask yourself, that really helped me narrow down what I was looking for & find my perfect bridal style.


When I started shopping for my wedding dress, I knew right away I wanted something with long sleeves and a fitted body. I loved the idea of a classic white dress, but knew I wanted the lace to be modern and updated. I had looked around a little bit online but hadn’t really found anything that was calling my name; there were a lot of gorgeous dresses, but I wanted to make sure I found the dress that was really ME. I think as a bride it is important to figure out what your style is. A lot of brides go a very traditional route with their wedding dress. Other may opt for a more bohemian vibe with flowing fabrics and lace overlay. You could go for sleeveless, lace, no lace, strapless, sweetheart neckline, plunging neckline.. the list goes on. I recommend starting a Pinterest board of ideas of styles you can see yourself wearing so you have somewhere to look back and use as a reference when trying on dresses in person.

what style is my WEDDING?

I think that most brides probably go in to wedding planning with some sort of idea as to what their dream wedding looks like. Especially with Pinterest and so many bridal magazines & Instagram accounts, it seems like some of us have dreamed up our wedding way before we are even engaged * ahem, me *. One of the biggest parts of planning a wedding is the venue. Once your venue is booked you can send Save the Dates and everything sort of feels real. I love that wedding venues are sometimes the strangest places (like come on, would our parents ever have guessed we would be getting married in BARNS? haha) but are transformed into gorgeous spaces. When picking out a wedding dress, keep your venue location and style in mind. It can be helpful to figure out what your style is if you know the style of where you are getting married.

You can also think about what accessories you might be wearing with your wedding dress; as all of this goes under the style category of your wedding. I knew I wanted a flower crown with greenery, and because of that opted out of a traditional veil. Because I chose not to wear a veil, I wanted to make sure the train of the gown I choose was elegant and detailed, to make up for the lack of veil. Jewelry, a veil, belts, earrings.. all of these accessories add to your dress and can help decide what you want your dress to look like!


Season is not always a deciding factor when choosing a dress, after all you should really choose one that you feel the most confident & beautiful in, regardless of the season. Even before Matt and I were engaged or even knew that what season we were going to get married in, I had known I wanted a long sleeve dress! So in my mind it didn’t really matter the season, this was what I knew I wanted haha. It just so happened to work out perfectly that we ended up getting married in February, so the sleeves were perfect for a Winter wedding. But if you are struggling with finding even a starting place for what style is most fitting for your big day, I would start with the season. From there you can narrow textures, styles, and even materials that you want your dress to be.


Budget is probably one of the biggest conversations people have surrounding weddings. We save up, maybe we are blessed by our parents savings, budget it out, and it still always seems like so much money haha! One thing I had to remind myself over and over, is that a wedding is an event to celebrate the promise you are making to one another. It is something to keep in mine when you are purchasing some big items, like a dress, that you may only wear one time. I would say if you do the research and stick to your budget you will find there are a lot more options than you might think at really reasonable prices!

Bre Sheppard Wedding Dress - Flower Grown - Greenery - Makeup Inspo - Bridal Style

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+ my wedding hashtag #TheSheppShindig

I am extremely thankful for Essense of Australia for sponsoring this post that is so special to me! I hope that as you walk through your engagement season, and go through all of the many amazing steps towards your wedding day, you can remember that your wedding is an event to celebrate the promise you are making to one another. I recommend that you have fun, keep it light and meaningful to you and your future husband. Keep your family and friends close during this time. And I also hope that these tips for picking out a wedding dress are helpful & practical as you choose the dress of your dreams!