Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Six Things You Should Know Before Shopping For Wedding Gown

Being a wedding planner that also owns a bridal boutique has its advantages. I get to spend time with brides and chat with them at the beginning of their wedding planning process, which is so exciting. Although, they are at The Bridal House to look at bridal gowns, I almost always put on the wedding plannner hat and chat with them about their weddings and the details. Over the last nine months I have determined that there are six things that brides should know before they begin shopping for their wedding gown. Knowing these six things will make their shopping experience a more fruitful one and one that is more enjoyable. So let's get started.
1. Know Your Budget: One of the questions you'll be asked if you walk into any bridal salon is do you have a budget for your dress. No one wants to fall in love with a dress they can't afford, right? Remember that your budget should include tax and alterations. Alterations are not normally included with the cost of the gown. So keep in mind the total amount when doing your search. It's also a good idea to call around to salons to get a general price range for gowns before you make and appointment or a trip over there.
2. Sizing: This is an extremely important point that you should keep in mind when searching for your dress. Bridal gowns are not sized like clothes you buy from a department store. Meaning, if you wear a size 8 in a dress at Macy's you'll probably wear a size 12 in a wedding gown. So what that means is the dresses are smaller, not that you are bigger. I probably explain this about 15 times on a busy appointment day. Once you select your dress, the consultant will take your measurements and order the dress based on the size chart from the designer. Almost every bridal gown requires alterations, unless the gown was custom made to fit your body. The dress is ordered to fit the largest measurement, so if your belly is larger and your bust and hips are smaller the dress will be ordered to fit your waist and the bust and hips will have to be altered.
3. Timing: You should have your dress ordered no later than six months before your wedding. Unless you are buying a dress from a chain bridal store, most bridal gowns are made upon order. As stated above the majority of bridal gowns will require some sort of nip and tuck once it returns, so you want to allow time for the seamstress to make it fit you perfectly.
4. Do not judge a dress on the hanger: When you begin your search I think it's important to try on different styles. I know you have been looking in magazines and you know that you do not want a strapless dress, but I think you should try it on just to be sure. Often times brides bring in pictures of gowns they like and they try them on and hate them. Also, if you are visiting a reputable bridal salon the consultant should be able to recommend styles based on the description you give them. But when they recommend the dress to you, try it. Remember they have seen the dress on lots of brides, so they know how gorgeous it can look on you.
5. No, you really do not have to bring your entire family: I know, I know on Say Yes to The Dress brides bring everyone from their 3rd cousin to their kindergarten teacher to their appointment. I'm slightly exagerrating, but really an entourage is not necessary. The people that you feel you could not make this decision without are the only ones you should have accompany you. The people you bring with you should be ones who want you to have the dress you want. Not the other way around. Shopping for a bridal gown is an exciting experience, but can be a very stressful one if you have the wrong group with you.
6. Sample sizes: I just thought about this topic and thougth it was worth mentioning. Most bridal salons only carry one sample of a selected style. (Larger stores may carry more than one.) For example, if you are a size 0, more than likely any sample dress you try on is going to be too big for you. Salons do not typically have size 0 samples. Our samples sizes are between size 10-16 mostly, with also some samples over size 20. But salons are prepared for this situation by using tools to size the dress down so you can see what the dress would look like in your size. So if you are a plus size bride, I think it is a good idea to do some research before you go out to salons to be sure they have samples that will fit you. That way you save yourself some time and gas.
I hope this was helpful. I would love to read your comments. Please feel free to leave some.

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