For most girls, the daydreams of wedding dresses start at an early age. Inspired by fairytale stories of regal weddings and glimmering movie star gowns, it's easy to find yourself falling in love with a style of wedding dress long before the question has been popped. Once the moment comes though, and visions of white gowns and sparkling tiaras have to come face to face with fittings, budgets, and timelines it can feel suddenly overwhelming. Whether you started daydreaming about your dress as a girl or have waited to find your person before even considering the gown, there are five foolproof tips to ensure that saying yes to the dress is an easy breezy process.
Start with Style
If we had a dime for every time we heard someone say "I ended up with a dress totally different than what I thought I would get!" we'd be living large. It's so important to identify the style or styles of gown that strike your fancy, but equally helpful to come to terms with the idea that another gown you never expected may ultimately steal your heart. Identify the "must try" styles and be sure to have images of those prepared for your appointments. If there aren't any super specific ideas in mind, be prepared to try a little bit of everything. Having flexibility in the process can truly open a world of possibilities!
Tackle the Budget
The least fun part of wedding planning is identifying and sticking to a budget. With dresses especially, it's easy to find yourself falling in love with a style only to find out it's astronomically more expensive than you ever imagined. The good news is, these days there is typically some version of every dress for almost every budget. When you have your budget set, factor in bridal accessories like veils, shoes, etc. and the cost of tailoring before determining what your absolute maximum spend limit is for the gown itself. All things bridal come with a price tag, so having a clear picture of all of the add ons ahead of time will help keep the entire bridal look on budget.
Nail Down the Details
The details of the wedding day as a whole play a huge role in narrowing down what type of dress will fit the bill. Factor in the season and its typical weather, the venue type, and the guest dress code when determining what style of dress to choose. While there are no hard and fast rules, it's helpful to approach with a sense of logic. This means considering avoiding heavily beaded, stiff fabrics, and Princess Diana style trains for weddings on the beach and instead opting for ethereal, airy numbers that are easy to move it. For winter weddings some kind of sleeve can be a beautiful option, and/or plan to budget for a cape or shawl as an element of your wardrobe. At the end of the day you should walk down the aisle in the dress that feels most like you regardless of other factors, but it's helpful to envision how the gown will function and feel on the day when all of the other elements are considered!
Dabble in Dresses Early
While you may fall in love with the first dress you put on, brides-to-be often have to visit a few bridal salons before finding the one. The process of ordering a gown, shipping the gown, and completing alterations can take several months and have unexpected delays (especially since the world has changed with COVID). With that in mind, we recommend booking an appointment or two soon after getting engaged to make sure you have ample time to go through the entire process. If you have a tight turnaround time from engagement to the wedding day, prioritize finding a gown to account for the shipping and fitting.
Choose the Boutiques
Wedding dresses aren't one size fits all and neither are the boutiques that sell them. Whether you're looking for a specific designer or sustainable styles, each boutiqe has something different to offer. With a handful of favorite styles in mind, and favorite designers to go with them, we recommend seeking out boutiques in your area that stock them. Base your appointment scheduling off of preference and get the top choices lined up first. Some designers have very limited retailers which may require traveling to try on, so getting a jump on these soon can help with budgeting. If you've been dreaming of finding the perfect dress at a destination boutique like Kleinfeld or thought about going direct to the designer's flagship shop, give yourself extra time for travel as you'll likely need to schedule a second try on once the dress arrives in store.
At the end of the day, selecting the right wedding gown is a deeply personal experience. There are always voices in your head, entourages with opinions, and articles with the "dos and don'ts", but all that matters is how you feel about and in the dress. With these tips you'll strut into those bridal appointments set up for success and ready to say yes to the dress!!
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