One of the biggest decisions you will face as the big day approaches is choosing the perfect wedding dress and wedding attire. The process of shopping for a wedding dress can be a fabulous adventure, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming–particularly because a bride-to-be often starts shopping for her gown before many other details are determined. You might have had a clear mental picture of the perfect wedding dress ever since you were five years old.
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Take a few minutes to think about what you want
Take a few minutes to think about what you want. It will be helpful when you enter the maze of wedding dresses out there to know what your budget is, any details that are essential (i.e. I must have a full skirt, or my arms must be covered), and an idea of how traditional you want your dress to be. After all, if really a teal pantsuit would work best for you, it’s probably not worth your time to sort through racks of flouncy white gowns.
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Give yourself ample time to plan- generally the rule of thumb is that you need to order your gown at least six months before your wedding. So you should ideally start shopping for your gown nine months or more before your wedding. (If you don’t have this much time, its okay, just budget for some rush charges).
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On your wedding day, you’ll want to look great
On your wedding day, you’ll want to look great, but you’ll also want to be comfortable- it will be hard to pose for all those pictures, dance, laugh and more if you’re tugging your dress up or have boning jutting into your ribs. First- consider which wedding dress is most appropriate to your day – for example- consider a shorter tea-length or cocktail length dress for a beach wedding. If you’re the kinda gal who likes to dance with her hands in the air, and anticipates doing the limbo, perhaps a strapless dress is not the one for you. Look for wedding dresses with removable sleeves or straps to give you the widest range of options.
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Think about your body type and what kinds of dresses generally look good on you. Take a look at what you regularly wear that makes you feel confident and beautiful, and then look for a wedding dress with similar lines.
If a friend is making your wedding dress
If a friend is making your wedding dress, ensure that you have agreed on a fitting schedule and chances to make adjustments. If you’re looking for a bargain at a sample sale, or discount outlet, you should budget money for taking the dress to a good tailor. Many designers will ask for three fittings, and will closely tailor your wedding dress to fit you.
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If money is an issue
If money is an issue, remember that the most expensive kind of dress is not necessarily the best kind. Many brides find a bridesmaids dress in white or off-white that works perfectly, and is hundreds of dollars cheaper. There are thousands of dresses to be had at sample sales, thrift stores, and ebay. Consider taking pictures from magazines to a friend who sews or seamstress and getting a price quote.
If you choose to make your own dress, don’t delay. The sooner you finish it, the sooner you’ll be able to attend to the many other details of your wedding.
Don’t forget this is your wedding day. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and feels like you. And have fun shopping for your dress. It should be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.