The first thing that a bride does after she says “yes” is go shopping. But, before you go, here are some tips about buying your wedding gown. As someone who has run salons, I have seen it all.
Make an appointment. Bridal shops prefer knowing you are coming. This ensures you will get the one on one, special treatment you deserve.
Dress the part. You are the bride. Do your hair, make up your face. Wear something that you would wear out to dinner. If you feel good- and beautiful, you will be better able to see the “picture” more clearly. And, wear good undergarments. It is hard to see how your gown will look if you aren’t “supported” under it.
This is not a sporting event! Go shopping with your mom or a trusted friend. Don’t take your bridal party, your extended family and the neighbors. The more opinions you take, the harder it will be to focus on what is important- YOU. Besides, it makes for a chaotic situation in the salon and detracts from others’ shopping experience.
It’s your wedding! Everyone has an opinion, but this is your wedding- your dress. If you love it, if you want it, then go with your heart. Don’t let anyone convince you that you should buy their favorite.
When you find it- STOP SHOPPING. If you find “the one”, then stop. The more you shop, the more confused you will be. Wedding gowns are all beautiful. It is hard to choose. But, if you feel right in a dress ( even if you don’t cry) then that is your dress.
Not Ready to Wear. Wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses are not sized the way that ready to wear is sized. So, when you are told you need a dress in a size larger than you wear, don’t panic. Taking a dress in is easier and less expensive than letting it out. Remember that a sample may fit you, but it has been tried on and stretched. No one is looking at the tag inside your dress! You want to look great and be able to breathe. Every bride is determined to lose weight. But, you may not get to where you want to be. So, be smart.
Don’t base a decision on a photo. You may not look the same in a dress as the model in the bridal magazine. Be open to looking at styles that flatter your figure. Not everyone can wear a sheath. Not everyone should wear strapless. And, you may find that the dress of your dreams is way over your budget. Don’t try on that dress if you can’t afford it. Try on similar styles in your price range. A broken heart isn’t the way to go.
Silhouettes and Necklines: Here is a brief explanation of the different styles of gowns. There are also many different fabrics to choose from.
Source- Bride’s Magazine
Slim-fitting with vertical seams from shoulders to hem. Best for: All body types.
Full skirt with a fitted bodice and waist. Best for: Pear shapes, full figures, and tall, slim builds.
Dips below the natural waistline and forms a “V”. Best for: Pear shapes.
Dips below the natural waistline and sits on the hips. Best for: Hourglass figures.
Small, scooped bodice and high waistline with a slender skirt. Best for: Figures with thick waists.
Fitted to the knee, then flared. Best for: Slim, tall builds.
Follows the curve of the collarbone from shoulder to shoulder. Also called “Sabrina.”
Wraps around the neck; generally leaves arms and back bare.
Fits just below the shoulders with long or short sleeves.
An asymmetrical neckline where one shoulder is covered and the other is bare.
Slightly scooped with extra material framing the neckline.
A deep U-shaped neckline.
Straps and straight neckline create a square shape.
Neckline goes straight across the body just above the bust.
T-Shirt or Jewel
A round neckline resembling that of a T-shirt.
Drops from shoulders to collarbone in a “V”.
Things you need to know- and ask:
Gowns take 6-9 months to get. Yes, this is true. Beading and fabrics may come from overseas. Your dress is a custom order. Don’t wait too long.
If you do, you may limit your choices.
Most shops DO NOT include alterations in the price of the dress. Ask the shop what their alteration policies are.
If you buy a dress with a lace or beaded hem.make sure to ask about a “hollow to hem” measurement. This will involve a custom measurement cost on the dress, but it will save you hundreds of alteration dollars and, perhaps, preserve the beauty of the hem of your gown.
When ordering bridesmaid dresses, allow 4- 6 months. Even if your bridesmaids are scattered and can’t be measured in the store, ORDER THEM ALL FROM THE SAME STORE. An out of town bridesmaid can be measured in her town and call in her measurements to the store. This advice does two things- it ensures that your dresses will all be delivered on time and be the same color. Different dye lots are slightly different in color.
DON’T BUY A DRESS ON LINE. This is a very unwise thing to do. Not only don’t you know if the dress will look right, but you may not get the dress you order. You also have no recourse if there is something wrong. Finally, you may find it hard to have it altered.
If you have other questions or need help with your dress shopping, drop me a line. I am happy to help. And the best advice I can offer…
ENJOY THE PROCESS! This is one of the most important purchases of your wedding. It should be fun and stress- free.