Your boyfriend has proposed and slipped a gorgeous sparkler on your finger. You’re now officially engaged, and the time has come to start shopping for the wedding dress of your dreams. Finding a wedding dress can be a fun adventure, but it can also be a frustrating and stressful task. So here are some useful tips and tricks; and an overview of what to expect at a bridal appointment.
Before booking an appointment, it would be a good idea to figure out which types of dresses you would love to wear on your wedding — cupcake style with lots of layers, mermaid style with ornate beading, classic A-line with lace, etc. Your choice doesn’t have to be definitive, but it could help point your bridal consultant in the right direction. Simply flip through bridal magazines, or do an online search for wedding dresses that strike your fancy; and bring the pictures with you.
You should also have an idea of the type of wedding you’re planning; because the dress worn at a tropical beach wedding would be vastly different from a dress worn at a winter wedding in New York. You don’t have to know all the specific details of your wedding; but a general idea of what, when and where would definitely give some pointers to your bridal consultant.
Now that you have an idea of what dress you want and what type of wedding you’re planning, it’s time to make an appointment with the bridal boutique of your choice. You may ask why you need an appointment, and the reason is simple: your time is valuable. Brides with appointments will always be served first, and you don’t want to have to wait for a bridal consultant to free up.
Another thing to keep in mind when making your appointment is to allow yourself enough time to try dresses on — at least 60-90 minutes. Don’t try to squeeze in an appointment during your lunch hour from work. Since it can take up to 15 minutes to get you in and out of one wedding dress alone, you really want to have enough time to try on multiple dresses; and make it a pleasant experience — not just a rushed dash to the finish line.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to avoid wearing anything that could stain the dresses like heavy foundation, lipstick, body lotion or a strong perfume. You should also avoid getting a spray tan before your appointment. Bridal consultants usually recommend that you wear a nude colored (or white) strapless bra and matching undies. You can also bring with you some body shapers or bust enhancers. Don’t forget to bring a pair of shoes — similar to what you’re planning on wearing at your wedding; and if you’ve already purchased or inherited some bridal accessories, bring them along as well.
Once your dress is selected, keep in mind that a deposit of 25% – 50% of the final sale price is usually expected — especially if your dress needs to be special ordered. It can take up to 3-6 months for a dress to be delivered. If you want to keep all your options open, start shopping for your dress at least 9-12 months in advance.
You will also have to plan for alterations cost in your budget. From shortening the hem to taking in the bodice, alterations cost can add up very quickly. Keep in mind that the more layers, beading and details your dress has the more expensive the cost will be. It normally takes two or three fittings to adjust a dress. You will also need to hire an experienced seamstress specializing in wedding dresses to fit the dress properly — being comfortable in your dress for the entire duration of your wedding day is priceless.
If buying a dress is too expensive for your budget, you could always look into renting a wedding dress. Please be aware that choices can be limited, and you’ll rarely be able to make alterations to a rental. Another idea is to rent all the accessories — petticoat (underskirt), gloves, tiara, veil or winter cover. It could help lower some of your costs.
In the end, don’t be discouraged if you don’t find your wedding dress on the first appointment. Just shop around — until you find the dress of your dreams. And, finally, our last piece of advice is to stay true to your style. Don’t lose your personality on your wedding day by choosing a dress that‘s not right for you. Your wedding dress should highlight your best assets and reflect your personality perfectly. On your wedding day, what your future husband simply wants to see is the girl he fell in love with… walking down the aisle, looking radiant and happy.
About the Author: Nadine Elliott, freelance writer for WeddingMuseum.com.
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