From the time you were a little girl you might have wondered how your wedding dress would look. Would it be sparkly? Would it be straight or full? Would it have a long train? Now that you’re engaged, it’s time to make that dream a reality! What you wear on your wedding day will impact your memories more than any other part of your day.
Start shopping for your gown the moment you know you’re getting married! You will need your dress for your bridal pictures, and most photographers ask that you have your bridal sitting a month before your wedding. Be aware that delivery for ordered gowns (as opposed to off-the-rack gowns) can take up to 4 months. Then, once the gown is on-hand, most gowns will need some alterations. This can add a few more weeks until your gown is ready.
Different bridal shops have positioned themselves to serve different customer agendas. Some offer services such as exclusive designs or customized gowns, while others specialize in rentals. Look for a store that specializes in meeting your particular needs. Make a list of the shops nearby and visit as many as needed to find one that meets your criteria. Find a shop that you feel good about. Are the display gowns new styles, and well displayed? Is the shop clean, neat and, organized? Do you feel that the management is passionate and detail-oriented? A professional bridal consultant is one who is experienced and will focus on you in a positive, uplifting and friendly way. She knows how to find and show gowns that will match your personality, flatter your figure, and be appropriate for your venue. Plan to work with the same consultant on each return visit if you can. She will become your new best friend! It is in her best interest to make sure you are well taken-care of so that you will refer your friends to her bridal salon.
Once you find a salon or store that makes you feel special, make arrangements for a try-on session. Don’t be afraid to fall in-love with a gown. The Holy Grail experience of shopping every store and trying on every dress can be confusing and detrimental. You might end up buying the gown you are wearing when you get sick of shopping, and somebody starts pushing your buttons! Don’t let that happen to you.
Whether your budget is large or small, this is your big day, and you want to enjoy every moment! Plan to take only one or two trusted individuals when you shop. They will offer their opinions, but trust your instinct and choose the dress that YOU love. Leave small children at home since they get bored easily and can be a distraction. If you already have a veil, shoes or other items, take them with you from the very beginning so that you can coordinate your look. The right slip and bra will make a big difference. Select accessories such as your veil, headpiece, jewelry and shoes while you are wearing your gown so that you achieve the most pleasing overall wedding-day outfit possible. Expect to pay for at least ½ of your gown initially. Since policies vary from store-to-store, be sure that you read and understand any agreements that you are asked to sign.
Once you find the perfect gown and accessories, much of the rest of your wedding details will fall into place. Enjoy your wedding planning