It's important to enjoy the all exciting phases of planning your wedding. Choosing your dress is certainly one of the most exciting and emotional phase of the planning process.
We have pulled together a quick list of tips for choosing your wedding dress.
Decide on a budget
Typically we suggest attributing 5% of your budget to Bridal Apparel and Accessories. This category includes: the actual dress, headpiece, shoes, undergarments, jewelry, dress preservation, etc. If a friend or family member has offered to purchase your dress or a portion of it, make sure to discuss a dollar figure before looking into specific dresses. Furthermore, when you book your appointment, make sure to inform the boutique associate of your budget ahead of time, that way they can pull dresses that match your budget. There's nothing worse than falling in love with a dress way outside of your budget.
Decide on a style
Using Pinterest or looking through Bride Magazine are great ways of browsing various dress styles and compiling your personal wedding apparel style. As you begin to discover styles you like, remember to include the lingo that is being used to describe these styles. When you book your appointment, you can inform the boutique of exactly what you are looking for by using common phrases or descriptions. When you show for your appointment the boutique associate can have the styles you are interested in ready for your perusal. Check out this article for common wedding dress lingo.
What to bring
If you have already selected some apparel items (e.g. shoes, jewelry) be sure to bring them with you when choosing your dress. If you have a family heirloom necklace that you will be wearing, you should wear this when trying on dresses. When deciding on a Wedding Dress an important factor to consider is how it feels as you walk, sit and dance. The best way to decide HOW a dress feels, is to have on the proper undergarments or the undergarments you will be wearing on the day of the wedding. Some boutiques will provide you with these items, just be aware this is an upselling tactic. If you will not be purchasing the undergarments from the salon/boutique consider bringing various types of undergarments: strapless bra, thong, slip, corset bra, etc. We strongly recommend a slip because this will prevent the dress from falling in between the legs while you are walking. Lastly, bring some hair accessories to see how a dress may look with your hair down or up.
Who to bring
If you have ever watched Say Yes to the Dress, you know bringing your entire Wedding Party can be problematic. We suggest keeping your entourage to 3-4 close family or friends who opinions mean the most to you and who will make it FUN! Avoid bringing that friend who is negative all the time and maybe even avoid bringing the friend that says yes to everything you say. Also important to note: Ask your guests to avoid giving their negative opinions until you have been able to see yourself in the dress first. Remember this is your day, your dress, the most important opinion is your own.
All about the shoes
Another important apparel item to have on while trying on dresses are shoes. Even if you do not have your own shoes yet, ask the boutique if they have a pair you can borrow while browsing. If you do not have a shoe style in mind, consult with your boutique associate for a style that will go best with the dresses you have selected. Various shoe types will alter the manner in which a dress falls at the ankle. Keep in mind you will be on your feet most of the time on your wedding so think “comfort” when choosing your shoes. If you are having an outdoor wedding and you want to wear a thin heel, be sure to invest in heel caps so you do not sink into the grass.
We suggest beginning to browse for your dress 9-12 months before the wedding date and actually purchasing the dress 6-8 months before your date. This timeline is ideal because processing times may vary and you will need your dress in time for your first fitting which should be 5-6 weeks before your date. You will also want to have your dress selected when shopping for Bridesmaids' dresses, MOB/MOG dresses, and/or Grooms attire, etc.. Again those items should be selected so they can be ordered in time for timely fitting appointments.
The most important tip is to HAVE FUN! This is one of the most exciting phases of planning your wedding and you should enjoy every minute! It's not every day that you have a personal stylist while shopping. Try going on a weekday so the boutique is not as crowded. Make a day of it and schedule a lunch with the group of people who will be accompanying you as you choose your dress. Request that your boutique associate to pull some dresses that are outside of your pre-determined style, You never know what you may fall in love with! Pop some champagne and don't forget to ring that bell when you finally say YES to the dress!
For more tips check out this article by Bride Magazine.