Bridal Styling: Ask the Expert
By Raashka Mannie

26 August 2020

Bridal trends may come and go, but style is eternal. Discovering that style is all the easier with an expert by your side.

Our expert is Aingie Miller, a bonafide maestro when it comes to all things weddings, be it styling, coordination, officiating, or planning. In this case, we're pulling at the thread of her plentiful experience in bridal styling. It's one of those terms that we hear whenever weddings are mentioned, but it's never explained as it should be. Bridal styling is something designed to make your life as a bride thousands of times easier through the talents and expertise of a consultant - and it's definitely not going to cost you a pretty penny to look that way.

Aingie walks us through the details of bridal styling, from the real details of what it is to her carefully curated process. "Every dress looks good on mannequins and magazines," she shared with us, "but this process is about finding the dress that is perfect for you."


Image by Anna Briggs


1/ What is bridal styling?

Most brides haven't even heard of a Bridal Stylist. However, a lot of brides feel overwhelmed by the choice of bridal dresses or find themselves too busy to do the thorough research that they would have liked to do. I work with brides to ascertain their style based on their personality, their body shape, what dresses work best for their figure, their skin tone, and what colours best suit them.


2/ What does having a bridal stylist achieve?

Think of it as you're investing in your confidence. I aim to help you find a dress that not only suits you but also makes you fall in love with how you look and feel. As a bridal stylist who is trained to see what others may not, it's my goal to ensure a bride looks her absolute best on her wedding day. As I'm also a celebrant, I do come across some brides who don't look comfortable in their dresses - you want to wear the dress, not the other way around.

I think we can get caught up being a 'white bride,' but white may not actually be the best colour for you. I see brides adjusting and fidgeting with their outfits when they should feel like the dress fits like a glove. I'm an expert at deflecting attention from parts of your body that you may feel self-conscious about and diverting attention to the aspects of your body you love. I also think it's crucial that the dress suits your personality.


Image by Anna Briggs


3/ What is the process of bridal styling, and how do you work?

I break my process into five individual steps. I keep it fun and informative, and my brides learn so much about wearing what flatters their shapes - which they can then apply to everyday wear, too.


5/ Can you talk us through the steps?

I have an easy and affordable five-step process for styling brides.

The first is a casual introduction, typically held at a café. It's helpful if the bride puts together a mood board of what she likes, so I can get to know their style, and, of course, their budget.

Our second meetup is somewhere more private, like the bride's home. That way, they can feel comfortable and confident in their own space. For me, it's essential to listen and understand what ideas and inspiration the bride has to date, aware of how the bride wants to feel in her dress.

The third step is about me researching and putting together the bride's profile. It's a real timesaver for every bride, as I remove all the stress by narrowing down the most suitable boutiques and salons, liaising with them and making all the necessary appointments.

The final and fun stages: shopping.

We have some great fun here. Bubbles can flow, and you can bring your bride tribe and or any family members to offer support and smiles. I usually pick out two salons based on the style of the dress. Most stores will charge a $50 to $65 consultation fee, and we normally try six to eight dresses at each salon. I always like the bride to try on a wide range of outfits, which enables me to identify and explain why particular looks are or aren't working for her. The advantage of having a stylist is that I work for the bride and not the store (obviously, with assistance from the salon staff, who know their product lines best).


Image by Anna Briggs


6/ How long does it usually take?

Allow about an hour for the first and second meetings. The shopping stages are about 3 hours but can be easily spread over two different days. The final decision is up to the bride and the time period for this depends on them alone. I always suggest that brides don't rush into this and instead take the time they need before saying yes. Once the bride has made her choice, my process typically stops there (unless I'm asked to be involved in the fitting process).


7/ How much does bridal styling cost?

The bridal styling process is $399, and $65 thereafter for any extra hours.


Image by Anna Briggs


8/ What do you take into consideration?

Basically everything. I run through a questionnaire that asks about your wedding plans and goals to date, including your venue. I want to know what inspiration you have, about your style, personality and more. Everything matters to me, and connecting to the brides that I style is vital. Technicalities often delve into undertones, height, body shape, bust size, budget, and so much more.


9/ How do you discover the bride's personal taste?

This is another good reason why it's prudent to meet in her home. The bride's lifestyle choices, interior design, daily wardrobe, jewellery and so on are all good signs of their personality and style. We're all made up of so many things, so learning about my client is a step most crucial.


Image by Anna Briggs


10/ What sort of background do bridal stylists usually have?

I am from a Fashion background, and I have advanced training in styling.


11/ Who else can you style?

It's limitless. Popular wedding requests are bridesmaids, as it's hard to find the right colour and shape for everyone. Thankfully, wedding trends have realised one style doesn't fit all. I'm also happy to style the mothers of the bride and/or groom.


Image by Anna Briggs


12/What's your favourite part of bridal styling?

I wait to see the moment the bride-to-be falls in love with herself, to know her dream dress has just become her reality.


13/ Do you have any handy tips for brides?

  • If you're getting your dress made in New Zealand, most designers need around four months.
  • If you're getting your dress sent from overseas, allow six months for postage and any alterations. However, remember you're that buying a feeling and you're taking a big risk ordering online.
  • If you are on a budget, think pre-loved. Remember that a wedding dress is only worn once.