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Bridal Gown Shopping Tips

February 18, 2010

By Bethany


He proposed…You Set the Date…Now it is time to start the search for your wedding gown!  Since you want to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience; I have a few tips to help you through the process.

 1.  Research:  Start by looking through bridal magazines and searching online to get ideas.  Keep a folder with print outs and clippings of anything that interests you to bring to appointments.  For example, if you like the silhouette of a gown, the details, or the overall look save the photo for future reference.  These will be helpful when you are trying to explain to the bridal consultant what you are looking for. 

2.  Set a Budget:  Figure out the overall budget for the wedding and decide how much of it you want to use for your look.  This means, the dress, Alterations, accessories (headpiece, veil, garter, handbag, jewelry, etc.), undergarments, shoes, honeymoon lingerie.  Everyone has different views on how much they want to spend on these items, just keep your budget realistic.  Don’t forget that some of these items can be borrowed.

3.  Make Appointments:  Research what designers you are interested and where they are sold.  Create a list of stores you want to go to and keep in mind what designers/stores will be within your budget.  Don’t waste your time or the consultants’ time going to places you can’t afford.  The worst thing is falling in love with a gown you can not get.  Make appointments at least 2 weeks before to ensure the date and time you want is available. 

4.  Who to Shop With:  decide whose opinion really matters to you and whose doesn’t.  Don’t bring a crowd.  Many brides make this mistake and regret it.  The more people you bring the more opinions you will have to hear.  If a jealous bridesmaid or negative mother-in-law says they hate the gown you love, those comments might affect your final decision. Bring one or two people at most.  To include people, offer to invite them to your first fitting. 

5.  Come Prepared:  Bring your folder with magazine clippings and ideas on what you’re looking for.  Skip the red panties, black bra, and thong that day.  Wear seamless nude colored undergarments.  Try to look your best so that you feel good while trying on gowns.  Do your hair and makeup that day and bring extra hair ties to keep your hair out of your way.  Bring a camera just in case they let you take photos (most place do not).  The photos will be helpful to look back remember what you liked and didn’t like.   

6.  Keep Lists:  Keep lists of your favorite gowns from each store and search for photos of them online.  It will be easier to narrow down your list, when you have photos to help you remember.  

7.  Attend Events:  Many events for brides are held every year.  These events will provide you with great gown ideas and keep you informed about the latest and greatest for everything wedding related.  Plus, who doesn’t like free stuff and discounts!  Most venders will give out special offers, taste tests, or free hair and makeup trials. 

8.  Sample Sales and Trunk Shows:  These events provide brides with the opportunity to get designer gowns at a discount.  Most gown designers have sample sales once or twice a year, where they sell their samples at greatly discounted prices (usually 15-75% off).  Keep in mind that sample sizes are typically bridal size 12 (about 10 in ready-to-wear clothing) or lower.  Gowns can usually be taken in, but they cannot be let out.  Trunk shows happen more frequently, and typically feature a certain designer.  They offer discounts if you purchase that day (usually 10-15% off).   

9.  Choose the Dress and Stop Shopping!  Once you find the dress, don’t confuse yourself by continuing to look at other gowns.  Move on to the next step… Accessories! 

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