Newly engaged brides often sprint straight to the nearest bridal salon, eager to have a magical experience trying on gorgeous gowns. Before you lace up your running shoes, stop and take a moment to prepare. Slow down and take these five steps before you try your first gown, and you might avoid confusion, or worse, buyer’s remorse:
Book your venue, or at least decide the type of ceremony and reception you would like and when you’d like to have it. You need to choose the appropriate style for the setting: a ball gown won’t work for a beach wedding. The venue and the season can also affect the fabric, length and embellishments. Remember, the gown will set the tone of the event.
Determine the budget and who is paying for your dress. You’ll want to tell your bridal consultant how much you can spend right away, and don’t try anything you can’t afford – there’s nothing worse than falling in love with a gown that is financially out of reach. Remember your accessories (veil, headpiece, belt slip, jewelry, belt, shoes) and the cost of alterations when establishing your budget as well.
Do your research. Browse the magazines and websites for styles you like, and learn which silhouettes flatter your body type (visit www.tiffanysbridal.com for more information on choosing the best style). At the same time, don’t get stuck on one gown. Simply have basic vision for your gown, and remember that a gown that almost fits the bill might be altered or customized to perfection.
Choose your entourage wisely. It’s best to bring no more than three of your closest friends and family to your appointment at the salon. Think about their personalities before you make the invitation: will they be supportive or overly pushy and opinionated? Ultimately you will wear it, so you have to love it – share your vision of the perfect gown with them and ask them to help you find it.
Meditate. To prepare yourself mentally, remind yourself not to let your expectations get in the way. You might not cry or shout hallelujah when you put it on, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t your gown. Some people simply don’t react dramatically. It is also okay to buy the first dress you try, or at least one of the first. If you love it, don’t confuse yourself by trying on every gown in the store. Stay open to different styles and new ideas. Allow your consultant to use their expertise and make suggestions that might surprise you.
Once you’ve completed those five steps, you’re ready to make your appointment. Bear in mind that you should order a gown approximately six months before your first fitting. Alterations may take a month and portraits may take yet another, so it is a safe bet to start shopping nine months before your wedding to avoid any rush fees. When you go to your appointment, have fun and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.