Wedding planning information and ideas, a wedding planning checklist

Wedding Planning Information and Advice

Wedding Dress Shopping - Ten Helpful Hints

When you begin shopping for a wedding dress there is only one thing that brides will want for their wedding days - to look beautiful and feel fabulous. In just about every other respect every bride will want something different and unique from her wedding dress. There is a wide range of wedding dresses available for brides to choose today, simple and elegant styles, elaborately decorated dresses, hand made custom designed, designer wedding dresses with the name tag and price to match! All available in a spectrum of shades and colours to meet the bride's choice and reflect her wedding theme.

Shopping for your wedding dress, have your preferences clear before you start to shop

1. Know The Style Of Wedding Dress Before You Start Shopping

Most brides will have formed an opinion of what their ideal wedding dress will look like before even being proposed to! But before you set off shopping for the dress of your dreams you can save yourself some time, frustration and possible heartache by doing a little research beforehand. Spend some time browsing wedding dresses in the wedding and bridal magazines as well as looking at wedding dresses on internet sites, this will help you to form a picture of the style and overall look of your ideal wedding dress in your mind. When you begin shopping for the dress, you will have a clearer idea of what you're looking for from the thousands of choices that are available. If you are having your wedding dress made for you, it will give you a clearer start for discussions with your dressmaker. You may want to consider starting a 'wedding dress scrapbook' containing pictures of wedding dresses that you particularly like.

2. Shop For Your Wedding Dress Early

Start to choose your wedding dress as far in advance of your wedding date as possible. You need time to form opinions, decide on the right style, colour, decoration, ……to browse and shop! Depending on your choice of dress and supplier, it can take up to several months to produce your wedding dress to your final specifications. Many brides order their wedding dress 12 to 18 months before their wedding day. Making your choice early leaves you the option of any wedding dress supplier for the wedding gown and the widest range of styles and designs. This will leave you time for the other wedding preparations in the months leading up to the wedding.

3. Know Your Wedding Dress Budget

Establish your budget for the wedding dress before you start to narrow down your options for various wedding dresses that suit your style. If you were to select a wedding dress that falls beyond your price range you would be disappointed, to say the least. It's always tempting to try some of the top-priced dresses just for the experience, but resist doing so - if you were to fall in love with one of them your wedding budget would be shattered, or you would be heartbroken. 

If your heart is set on a wedding dress that is beyond your price range, or maybe is a one-off designer creation for another bride (a celebrity bride featured in a magazine, for example), have a look for very similar creations as 'end of season' clearance, in department stores, on internet sites, 'second time around' outlets or charity stores. A good dressmaker will be able to revise the fit and appearance of the dress for you.

4. Take Your Time Shopping For The Wedding Dress

It's your wedding dress - a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, enjoy the experience. You're a very special person, preparing for a very special day in your life, make choosing your wedding dress a very special and memorable experience. Start early, take your time and don't allow anything to stress you or spoil this very special experience.

5. Make Appointments With Wedding Dress Stores / Bridal Suppliers Before You Go

Some bridal stores operate an appointment system for brides wanting to browse and try on wedding gowns. If you wish to visit a particular store, call them in advance and check if an appointment is needed. Stores do this to enable their assistants to give you the attention and advice you deserve when browsing or choosing your wedding dress. It's good to find this out ahead of your visit to avoid wasted time or disappointment due to the assistant trying to deal with too many customers at the same time. If you have made an appointment to view wedding dresses and find that you're unable to make it, have the courtesy to call and cancel / re-book, so that the store can reallocate the time to another bride.

A number of bridal stores have started to introduce "Try-On" fees. Opinions of this policy vary, but you should check with stores if there are any fees charged for consultation or trying on wedding dresses, to avoid any uncomfortable situations when you arrive at the store. Where a fee is charged, this amount is normally deducted from the price of a wedding dress purchase, but you should consider the potential extra expense where you don't find your ideal wedding gown in that particular outlet.

6. Buy The Dress - Not The Tag!

Whatever style of dress you settle upon, whatever it's colour and regardless of the price range, remember why your fiancé proposed to you - because he loves you. A beautiful wedding dress is an essential part of your wedding day, it adds to the ambience, but it doesn't affect your love for each other.

Consider the designer dresses if they meet your requirements and your budget, but don't set out to buy a designer tag with a wedding dress attached - always keep the perspective of your love for the dress first and the manufacturer's tag second.

7. Make Your Own Decisions About The Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress is a very personal statement, your personal decision and you need to be able to make your own decision and listen to your heart on this beautiful occasion. You're looking for a wedding dress that makes you feel great and look great and you need to be able to rely on your own instincts without undue influence from others. You may not want to make choosing your wedding dress a solitary affair, but restrict those you take with you to just one or two close and trusted friends.

If you, or those shopping with you, have children arrange for a child minder whilst shopping for your wedding dress. Whilst choosing your dress, you don't need the distraction of supervising or amusing children at the same time. Plus, a bridal store displaying very expensive wedding gowns and dresses is no place for bored or curious children to be.

If you are planning to buy bridesmaids dresses from the same outlet, then it is better to arrange a separate visit for the bridesmaids after you have made your selection for your wedding dress. This is especially appropriate if you have younger girls as a part of your bridal party. Additionally, it will show your bridesmaids that they are important to you and will receive special attention for their dresses. 

8. Make Sure You're Prepared For Trying On Wedding Dresses

You're going to be trying on a selection of very expensive, possibly unique, wedding dresses and they need to be handled with care and consideration for others who may wish to purchase them as new. Ensure that your preparations and dress for the visit to the bridal store are appropriate by making sure that you have bathed or showered and that your personal hygiene is in order. Wear suitable, not skimpy, underwear for the day. Little or no make up, hairspray or heavy perfume will be appreciated by the store, as this will protect the dresses from picking up colouring stains or smells (however nice!). This will also give you the opportunity to view the dresses against your natural colour. Avoid trying on dresses following a recent application of tanning solutions, hand/foot creams or other items that may mark the dresses in some way.

If you have chosen your wedding shoes (unlikely before the dress) take them along with you, alternatively take along shoes of a similar style/height to those you will prefer to wear to your wedding. Many bridal salons will not allow you to wear shoes whilst trying on their dresses, in which case they will normally supply a shoe-height platform for you to stand on while wearing the dress, although this restricts you seeing or feeling movement in the dress. Some shops have pairs of bridal shoes that they are able to loan you whilst trying on the wedding dresses, so that you get a good idea of how it will look and move.

Expect that the dress you choose will require some alterations, including adjustment to hems and underskirts to fit correctly.

9. Place Your Order Only When You're Sure You've Found The Right Wedding Dress

A wedding dress is a unique creation and totally different than most other clothing merchandise that you purchase. If you change your mind later, it is unlikely that you can just return to the store and have a refund.

When you have made your final choice of wedding dress it's time to stop shopping! If you've found your ideal wedding dress stop looking - you've found the one for you, be pleased with your decision and your choice and concentrate your efforts on the rest of the wedding arrangements.

10. Time The Wedding Dress Alterations Carefully

When you have made your selection of wedding dress, it will take some time to prepare for you. There will be other fittings to follow, after the dress has been manufactured to your sizes. On the first fitting, expect the wedding dress to be comfortable and a close fit to your body sizes, but don't expect perfection. Almost every wedding dress will require some alterations to achieve the perfect fit for you.

Bear in mind that you are likely choosing your wedding dress months before the wedding date. In the meantime, your sizes may change due to a diet, exercise routines or other lifestyle changes. If you're unsure, order a wedding dress of the larger size as this can always be adjusted to become smaller, but it is more difficult to make one larger, as there often isn't enough fabric in the dress to work with. 

Try to arrange the final fitting of your wedding gown as close to the wedding date as possible. You will need to allow enough time for any final alterations and delivery back to you, but you should end up with a dress perfectly tailored to fit you on your wedding day.


.... and after the wedding day consider capturing the beauty of your wedding dress in the less formal and clinical surroundings of your wedding day. This is an ideal opportunity to preserve the memories of the beauty of your dress and your own beauty at the time of your wedding forever! Wear the dress - have fun!





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