Most brides imagine their wedding day months, years and even decades in advance. It doesn’t matter whether they’ve imagined a formal wedding or a casual backyard party, it the wedding dress of their dreams that matters most. However before you make that purchase, be sure to follow these six simple tips for success when dress shopping.
1. Take your time.
While the occasional bride does discover just the right dress only days before her wedding, this is rarely the case. Most experts agree that as soon as you set a date, it’s time to begin shopping. Many prospective brides begin their gown search after their engagement has been announced. Wise women exercise a bit of caution here, because engagements are sometimes broken for one reason or another.
Having an actual wedding date to work with gives you important information that you’ll need, like the season, venue and degree of formality. It also gives you time to relax and get a sampling of what is available both online and in local stores. Once a wedding dress has been selected, changes and alterations can be made. However should the entire event be canceled, it is unlikely that a deposit at the bridal shop will be refunded in full.
2. Do your homework.
Much like a school assignment, finding one’s dream wedding ensemble requires careful thought. Study not just the latest trends, but classic looks that still turn heads. Websites, books and magazines devoted to bridal fashion provide wonderful resources filled with photographs. Familiarize yourself with what top designers are showing, including their fabric choices and silhouettes.
It helps to keep a digital or paper file with samples of what you like and don’t like. A shade of Antique White or Ecru may look best against your skin tone. There are also photos on Pinterest of gowns in shades of pale peach or pink. Use your findings as a guidepost to pinpoint exactly what you want.
3. Date, time and weather report.
The date you set for your wedding is likely to set the tone for your wedding dress. Is it an indoor ceremony in autumn or an outdoor reception held during the dog days of August? Will your ceremony be held in a house of worship or on lane three at the local bowling alley? Morning, evening or afternoon? Every detail counts when choosing the perfect dress for the biggest day of your life.
Predicting the weather with a high degree of accuracy is something that even the Weather Channel gets wrong now and then. But some things never change. A Christmas wedding in a cold climate (like Canada for example) sets the stage for velvet, fuller silhouettes and sleeves. A summer wedding in Florida is better suited to gauzy fabrics, shorter hemlines and dresses that won’t wilt in the heat.
4. Don’t shop alone.
Take a friend or relative with you when you go shopping for your wedding dress. Having a trusted second opinion is worth its weight in gold. Many prospective brides enjoy shopping trips with members of their bridal party or close family members. This allows the group to not just look at wedding dresses, but outfits for the entire bridal party at the same time.
5. Listen to the wisdom of bridal consultants, but also your own heart.
Bridal consultants are trained to answer questions and assist you. If you wish to see a dress that is not available in your size, let them know that you’re interested in that style. Consultants are aware of new dress arrivals and popular items on back order. While their recommendations can steer you in the right direction, never feel pressured to make a purchase against your better judgment or personal taste.
6. Get everything in writing.
Finally, when ordering a bridal gown, be sure to get everything in writing. If it is not printed or handwritten on the sales invoice, it is more likely that there may be a disagreement later on. Never hesitate to add important information, dates and details. Then have all parties sign off on each line item. Bridal shops that include free alternations or offer accessories at a reduced price, definitely need to document this as well.