|1. Create a budget. Most brides will spend about 10% of their wedding budget for their dress.
2. Start shopping early. It takes anywhere from six to twelve months from the time you place the order to when you bring your wedding gown home. Bridal designers need four or five months to make it, and then you need to schedule fittings.
3. Know what kind of dress you want. Love satin, hate lace…let your stylist know what you love and what you hate.
4. What kind of wedding are you having? Destination wedding, outdoors, grand ballroom, barn/country….this decision will play some kind of role in selecting the right dress for the mood of your wedding.
5. Most bridal shops prefer appointments, but most are happy to work with walk-ins too. Saturdays can be crazy busy, so why not try a weekday appointment for a more private and relaxing experience.
6. Bring one or two people whose opinion means the most to you. The reality bridal TV shows show brides bringing a huge group of family and friends – and that just add drama and indecision to the process.
7. Get ready for your appointment and bring items you want to wear down the aisle. Wear a strapless nude bra and a seamless thong or brief.
8. Some dresses look better on you than on the rack. Let the stylist help choose a style which will flatter your body. Keep an open mind. Try different silhouettes to see which one makes you feel stunning.
9. Forget about “sizes” in the wedding gown industry. Every designer’s size charts are different. Taking in a gown is easy; letting it out is difficult.
10. For most shops, a 50% deposit is required when you order.
11. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to the dress on your first attempt. When you know, you just know. If you feel exceptional in that dress, it’s your dress.
12. Move around – sit – dance a bit. You want to be comfortable.
13. Gowns are made to order, so minor details can be customized or switched. You can add a belt to add some sizzle, or add some colored tulle underneath to add contrast. Straps can be added or you might want to order a small jacket or fur for those cooler months.
And a few extra tips –
Fit is everything, which is why, when it comes to your wedding dress, alterations are everything. You can splurge on a pricey dress, but if it’s not altered properly it won’t look any better than a gown that’s a tenth of the cost.
Budget for Alterations: Bridal Alterations can add up. Some shops charge per service ($200 to shorten your gown, $150 to resew seams, etc.) while others charge a flat fee that covers anything you’ll need to make the dress fit you perfectly. Design changes can cost anywhere from $50, to cut a sweetheart neckline, to hundreds of dollars.
Don’t Buy a Gown to Small: Never buy a too-small dress, thinking you will lose the weight. It’s easier to take in a larger dress, than to let a smaller one out.
Wear your Wedding Shoes: A seamstress will adjust the hem based on the shoes you’ll be wearing at the wedding. If you haven’t picked out your wedding shoes yet, bring a pair with a comparable height. Your hemline should gently graze the ground, so that you don’t trip.
So, where are you buying your dress? Be sure to choose a reliable, bridal store that cares about helping you be your very best on your special day. There are some disreputable stores, that have poor service after the sale. Even some of the larger chains have bad reputations. There are both good and bad online bridal stores – and once you purchase your dress, it’s yours. Use care when going that route as well.
Be a beautiful, happy bride in the dress you love!