COLOR, COLOR EVERYWHERE! And, some really unusual and unique designs to make every bride feel like "ONE OF A KIND" on her wedding day. These luscious and delightful creations are a rainbow of color and texture. None of them is traditional and all of them are elegant and fabulous! Whether you are a bridal maverick with a flair for the dramatic, a fan of frothy and delicious lace and tulle or just want to wear anything but white, there are hundreds of choices- enough to confuse even me. And, while I am on the subject of dresses, I should give you all a refresher course in "buying the dress". Prompted by a reader this past week, I have decided to list some of the rules of shopping for your dream gown.
1. Know youself and have a realistic idea of what you can wear and your budget
2. Look at the magazines, but realize that those models are very tall and very thin! You may not look like that in the same dress.
3. DON"T take your entire family and all of your bridesmaids with you!! This is a daunting task and the more people you involve, the more confused and frustrated you will be. Take your mom or your best friend or any person whose opinion you trust. Remember, there is plenty of time to show off the dress to everyone else. And, don't have the bridesmaids trying on dresses the same day. Make a seperate appointment for that.
4. Make and appointment. Most bridal shops require one, but all prefer one. If you walk in without an appointment and get angry because you have to wait or the staff isn't welcoming, you may be missing out on "the dress" by walking out. And, dress the part. Do your hair and your make up, wear the proper undergarments and dress up a little. This is an important time in your life. Make it feel that way.
5. Sizes! Bridal is not "ready to wear"!!! Measurements are done differently and patterns are cut differently. So, if you wear a size 8 and the sample size 12 fits- that's ok. The rule of thumb is that bridal is 1 to 2 sizes up from your normal dress size. The style of dress is also a factor. If you are a size 6, but you are a little hippy and your dress is a trumpet skirt or a sheath- you may need to wear a bigger size. On the other hand, if you are a size 12 and you have a small bust and your dress is a ballgown or an a-line, you may fit into a size 14 and not need a size 16 or 18. Judge how you look in the sample size against the manufacturer's measurements and your normal size and make a logical and unemotional decision. Remember this- NO ONE IS GOING TO LOOK AT THE TAG AND SEE WHAT SIZE DRESS YOU ARE WEARING!!!! But, if you look awful because the dress doesn't fit right, people will notice.
6. More on sizes! Most bridal shops charge for alterations and if they can convince you to buy a much bigger size, they can get more for your alterations. Use your head and listen to the sales person. But, if the red light in your head goes on because you have on a size 10 sample and you normally wear a size 8 and the sales person is telling you to order a size 14- STOP. Insist on the size 10 and just sign off as being responsible for that decision. The only exception to that is if the dress is very fitted in an area where you are bigger.
7. " I am going to lose 20 pounds before the wedding, so order me a size 4" NOT!! Most brides do lose a few pounds before the wedding, but don't pressure yourself that way. There is enough stress involved in a wedding, and a dress can be taken in significantly without compromising the look. So, order sensibly and if you do lose the weight- GREAT! But, if you don't you won't be in tears at your first fitting.
8. Hems and Bustles: If you are ordering a dress that is all lace, has no waist or is ornately beaded on the bottom in a pattern- INSIST on a "hollow to hem" measurement. It usually carries a charge of about $100, but it is worth it. The cost of hemming a dress like this is much more and you usually lose something in the translation. There are many types of bustles and you don't have to settle for one that you hate! Have the seamstress show you several and decide.
9. One of the most important things I can tell you about buying a wedding gown is this-- Don't go to 10 different stores and try on a dozen dresses in every store. Be focused! Have an ideas of what you want, be open to a smart sales person who tells you to try something on and when you feel it in your gut- go for it! Don't second guess yourself, don't buy what someone else wants you to buy and LOVE your dress. Too much of a good thing isn't good and too many dresses with too many opinions can be a disaster!
This is a wonderful time in your life. Enjoy it and keep it a happy time. Of course, this is a good place for me to tell you to have a planner who can guide you and who knows what they are doing. A good planner will be your advocate at the bridal shop and will help you if the going gets tough! I welcome questions to this post and will be happy to answer anyone with what knowledge and experience I have.
Dresses from top: Reem Acra, Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Atelier Aimee, Carolina Herrera, Morgane Le Fay, Oscar de la Renta, Edgardo Bonilla, Vera Wang, Vera Wang