So you’ve decided to find your perfect wedding dress
Congratulations! Now where do you start?
Do you go to magazines or do you download a hundred pictures from your computer (the cost of ink rivaling the cost of your dress) only to find that you can’t find any of them in the salons? If you are lucky enough to find a few, you’re surprised that you hate them. Or are you the smart bride who makes appointments with reputable salons (here’s where Internet reviews come in handy), arrives with an open mind, and tries the dresses on?
Our vote, after three decades in business, is to get out there
See the gowns, feel them, try them on, and tell your consultant what you like and don’t like. A creative consultant will show you a sleeve on the strapless gown, add beads to bling it up, or pull the crinoline back to narrow the line. She’ll show you where color can be added, or how the bustle will look so you can comfortably dance the night away. Your dream dress is almost always in the store, and with some customizing, it’s yours and yours alone
Are you looking for very simple and understated, but still formal? Look at informals. Trains can be added or a cathedral veil will take it to the next level.
Informal or destination gowns still a bit much for your day? Look at bridesmaids’ and mothers’ dresses. Most are available in white or ivory and a brooch or silk flower may add just the touch you’re after.
Never discard a dress because of its features
Corset backs and zippers are interchangeable. Don’t want strapless? Spaghetti straps aren’t the only option. You can have anything from angel hair to lasagna. How about one shoulder, off the shoulder, portrait collar, halter strap, cap sleeve or keyhole back?
Some designers will change fabric, or color on a dress – ask. Some will lengthen or shorten a train – ask. Some will lower or raise backs and necklines, make a sweetheart neckline or take it away – ask. If a dress doesn’t come in the size you need, in many cases we can have it cut to size – ask.
Speaking of size, please don’t wait until you’ve lost all that weight. When you’ve found your dress, ask about delivery time and the chance of it being discontinued so rush fees and disappointments are avoided. Most dresses can be altered down two sizes. Many of them do not have the seam allowance to let it out.
Special sizes for special people
A pregnant bridesmaid? Choose appropriately. An empire dress in extra length can be raised from the waist. If fabric is needed to add panels, it should be ordered with the dress to assure that it’s from the same dye lot.
Buxom gals need coverage on top to feel comfortable. Make sure the bodice is not too demi, or ask if fabric can be added to the top in a panel or pleat. Talk to the seamstress and get her advice.
Those of us who are “fun size” usually have enough fabric removed from the hem of a long dress to add to other dresses that may need them. Always ask
to save the fabric from an alteration.
Make a statement
A growing trend in the bridal market – shoes of a different color. And do they ever make a statement! We’ve seen orange with fuchsia bows, royal with glitter bows, purple satin… You can match the color to your bridal party or just go with your favorite. Match your shoes to your headpiece. The possibilities are endless.
Much of this advice goes for moms and bridesmaids dresses, as well!
But when shopping, don’t bring everyone you’ve ever met
Everyone has different taste and it can get confusing when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Definitely don’t bring children, as they are very distracting.
If you are decisive, come alone and narrow it down. Then if you can’t choose, bring someone close who really knows your sense of style. After you’ve ordered your dress, you can bring everyone else in to shop for themselves and show them your gown – or not. Surprises are great!
Get your creative juices flowing. Be as articulate as you can with your ideas. You will be amazed at what can be done. Yes, all the changes come at a price, but the gown of your dreams on your most special day – priceless.