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Plan ahead….Sit down and really think about what you want for your day. It will be helpful when you enter the maze of wedding dresses out there to know what your budget is and what your specific wants are (i.e. I must have a full skirt, or my arms must be covered). You should also get an idea of how traditional or modern and simple or elaborate you want your dress to be.
When to start shopping….Two words: Shop Early. 9 to 12 months before your wedding is ideal since you'll need time to spare for fittings. Why? Well, unless you are fortunate enough to find a ready-to-wear dress or a sample gown that fits, wedding dresses are usually custom-made to fit each bride's measurements. Once your dress comes in, it usually needs just a few alternations until it fits you perfectly. If you are only working with 6 months are so, sometimes you can add a rush on your order to get it in on time, but do expect to pay a rush charge. On the other end of the spectrum, don't make the mistake of buying too early. The last thing you want is to buy what you think is your dream dress two summers before your wedding, and find out the following summer that your real dream dress has just been created.
Where to start…TheWeddingMarket.com of course! Print out a list of Bridal shops in and around your area from the WeddingMarket.com and start looking at your calendar. If your schedule will not allow you to go during the week, then give the shops a call and set up an appointment with one of their consultants. Many places don't require an appointment, but you should make one anyway. This is to ensure you don't wait around for an hour while the consultant helps customers who did have appointments. People with appointments will always come first.
Shopping side note….Things to bring with you:
Comfort…You've got to weigh out your priorities with this one. Some women think pain is beauty and do not mind sacrificing comfort for the most beautiful dress that they have ever seen. While others prefer to be able to breathe! If comfort is a priority to you then be sure to consider that when trying on wedding gowns. If the dress is not comfortable in the store, it's not going to be comfortable during your wedding. I mean, do you really want to have boning jutting into your ribs while you are trying to have all of your pictures come out with you tugging your dress up. Bottom line, your dress needs to make you feel beautiful, confident and like it was made for you!!
Finding “the one”… You wouldn't just marry a guy because he looked to be the perfect one for you..right?! You would want to get to know him, make sure that you two are compatible, and get your friends and family's opinions. While that metaphor is a little bit of a stretch, shopping for the perfect dress is kind of the same process. If you like a particular style, try it on. Half of the time, brides try on styles they absolutely love, but they just aren't flattering enough and vice versa. Sometime brides try on styles that they never thought would look good on them and they fall in love with them. You never know until you try it on. Decide if you feel comfortable and confident, get the opinions of loved ones and make sure that you and the dress will be compatible enough to spend at least 4 hours together!
Ordering side note: Beware of shopping online! Getting the dress sized correctly is very important, and this is best done by actually trying it on. If you're not careful you could seriously regret your decision
Don't get discouraged… Ok, we all know this one, but we need reminders every once in a while. Just like shopping for jeans, most women will try on many, many gowns during their search. It's not only normal to not find the perfect gown on your first try, but that's pretty much the norm. It's also common to get your mind set on one particular dress to shortly turn around a find yourself rethinking things. No matter what, don't rush. No one wants to make a rash decision and pick out a dress only to regret it months later. The savvy shopper will keep looking and when she finds one, she will know it.
FYI: It's said that you can expect to try on anywhere between 30 and 150 dresses before finding the final one. Some women try on hundreds. Thank goodness dating doesn't go that way!
Above all else, be sure to have fun!