7 Steps to Shopping for the Perfectly “You” Wedding Dress

1. Clarify: Define your aisle style. Collect images, labeling each with what you do and don’t like. Consider what will look best on you over what is the trend- those wedding photographs will be with you for life (80’s puff sleeves, ’nuff said).

2. Time It: Most dresses are made to order, so it is advisable to begin shopping 6 months- 1 year in advance. Shop only when you are ready to find and buy it. Finding the dress of your dreams and later discovering that it’s no longer availableis the fast track to a bridezilla-worthy-roar.

3. Where to go: Research bridal shops in your area- but also consider unconventional options like vintage shops, wearing a family heirloom wedding dress, or having your gown custom made (especially if you are a budget, eco-minded, or alternative-taste bride). Wherever you go, make an appointment first! Visit shops during the week if at all possible, since they will be less busy than on the weekend.

4. Who to Bring: Hit the town, but don’t shop with too big of a posse. What happened to the bride who brought 12 people shopping with her? Epic meltdown. Limit your guests to 2-3 whose opinions you value and who respect your tastes.

5. Prep for It: When trying on wedding gowns, bring a strapless bra, hair tie, shoes of the approximate height that you will be wearing, and if needed, a shaping garment like spanx. Most importantly, bring a smile on your face. Being nice goes a long way for having the best experience. You get what you give out- capiche?

6. Find It: In most designer salons, you are going to be brought dresses to try on. Have an open mind about trying on, all dresses look different on the hanger. Taking suggestions about what styles suit you can lead to finding the best dress for your shape. Don’t hesitate to clarify your’ vision if you are not seeing what you want.

7. Make It Yours: Get your gown professionally altered and customized. Do this 1-4 months prior to your wedding date, timing depends on seamstress availability and if your size is still fluctuating, you’ll want to wait until as close to the wedding date as possible. Personalize your gown by add a belt, dyeing the inner tulle a fun color, or with fun hair accessory or statement jewelry.

You’re set. Rock that aisle, girl!

Wedding Dresses: How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress for Your Shape

Most women have been planning their big day since they were little girls, but few have their wedding dress picked out when the time comes. Wedding dress shopping can be a long and emotionally exhausting process for women who do not have the perfect portions of a runway model. To keep your shopping experience enjoyable, remember these tips on choosing the perfect dress for your body type.

Plus-Size Brides

Women who struggle with their weight can have a hard time finding a wedding dress because most floor samples are too small. Even after surmounting this obstacle, many are left wanting when they look in the mirror. To make your curves look amazing, search for A-line dress with an empire waistline that starts right below the bust. Also, avoid dresses that are too loose to keep from adding to your width. Stiffer fabrics, such as satin, will help in this as well.

Petite Brides

For those who are short in stature, look for modified A-line, trumpet, or sheath dresses. Keep in mind that gowns with waistlines above your actual waist will help make your legs look longer. While any fabric will work with your body, avoid a lot of detail, especially on the skirt. Also stay away from ball gowns, dropped waists, and calf-length skirts at all costs.

Tall Brides

While sometimes it feels great to be compared to an Amazon, some women feel embarrassed by their height. For those who are statuesque, shop for a simple silhouette. Avoid excessive embellishments, such as ruffles, bows, and beading. Gowns with low waistline will emphasize the natural beauty of your longer proportions. Look for a hem that touches the floor and long sleeves, if desired, that come past your wrist.

Small-Chested Brides

Not everyone is well-endowed in the bosom area. While the right bra can work wonders, when looking for a wedding dress, a ruched bodice or a lightly padded halter can help as well. The extra fabric fills out your upper body and gives the illusion of a larger bust.

Large-Chested Brides

To avoid looking like a saloon girl, buy a dress with a scooped neckline. This type of neckline will bring attention to your face while displaying your bosom without going overboard. If you wanted to wear a strapless dress, look for a sweetheart neckline or another type with a slight dip; this will keep your chest from appearing even bigger.

On your big day, you should look more beautiful than you ever had before. These tips are just guidelines; if you find a dress that looks amazing, do not just discard it because it goes against everything you read above. By shopping smartly and respecting your body shape, you can find the perfect wedding dress.

Wedding Dress Basics – 5 Things to Know to Before Finding Your Wedding Dress

Chances are your wedding dress will be the most important clothing purchase of your life. Yes, you will only wear it once; but, will you ever wear another dress more anticipated and more talked about? And while this is indeed an important clothing decision, you have probably never gone through the process of purchasing a wedding gown until now. Thankfully, I have rounded up useful advice to get you started on your way to walking down the aisle in the dress of your dreams.

Start Shopping Early

Time is of the essence. Most likely, you did not get engaged after a week of dating, so why would you want to rush such an important shopping decision? Planning a wedding is stressful, and the last thing you want to add to your worries is dress shopping. You need time. Not only do you need time to shop, but keep in mind that you will also need time to wait for your dress to arrive and time for fittings. Try to start looking for your perfect wedding dress right after you are engaged. You should aim to purchase your wedding gown at least 6 months before your wedding date, as this will ensure enough time to wait for your gown to arrive and have it tailored.

Wedding only 5 months away, and you haven’t even tried on your first dress? Don’t panic. While shopping early is preferred, you can always buy a dress off the rack, and many bridal salons can turn a dress around more quickly if necessary. You just may have to be a little more flexible in your dress choice.

Educate Yourself

Wedding dresses come with their own unique glossary of terms (or jargon, as you may want to call it). Before stepping foot into a bridal salon, try to brush up on your vocabulary. There are terms for gown silhouette (the basic shape of the gown), neckline, bodice, sleeves, trains etc. Learn the basics and try to narrow down which options you prefer and which ones best suit your figure. Overwhelmed? This wedding dress styles guide provides detailed descriptions on every type of wedding gown.

Envision Your Perfect Wedding Dress

Many bridal salons do not allow you to simply browse through all their wedding dresses. They first ask you a few questions about your wedding and your overall style and bring dresses that reflect your vision to you. Therefore, it’s best to have an idea of what you want before you shop. After you have educated yourself on the various parts of a dress, think about what wedding dress style suits you. Always dreamed of being a princess? A ball gown silhouette is probably your best bet. Dream of showing off a figure sculpted by hard work at the gym? A sheath dress may be perfect for you. Keep in mind that your dress, while suiting your personal style, should also suit your wedding venue. A formal ball gown is probably not appropriate for a beach wedding in the sand, while a sundress may not work in a cathedral.

Know Where to Shop

The most popular choice is the bridal salon, known for a high level of customer service. Bridal salons exist almost everywhere; you can search our local wedding services section for ones nearest you. Of course, all bridal salons are not the same. Some feature wedding gowns from multiple designers, others feature only gowns from one specific designer custom for their particular store. Price ranges vary as well. While many bridal salons offer gowns starting as low as $300, prices at other stores can start as high as $4000. Call and inquire before choosing a store. Brides on a tighter budget can try an outlet. Bridal outlets offer hundreds of dresses, often from past seasons, at a discounted price.

Determine Your Budget

It’s best to have an idea of what you would like to spend before stepping into a bridal salon. This will save you the hassle of going to salons out of your price range or allowing the sales clerk to bring you dresses you cannot afford. The average cost of a wedding dress is around $800. Shop around online and in magazines to get an idea of how much wedding dresses cost and how much you want to spend. In general, your wedding gown shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of the cost of the wedding reception.

Now that you know the basics, this complete wedding dresses guide can walk you through the rest of the process of finding the right wedding gown for you.