Wedding Gowns Buying Guide

The idea of looking like a princess in a gorgeous wedding magazines and on the Web up to a year in advance since dresses are typically ordered a minimum of 7 months before the wedding. Daydreaming and perusing bridal guides are all part of the first step in choosing your theme. In the midst of all the trimmings you should be able to see yourself. Whether you are wearing something simple, elaborate, fluffy, or sleek, this first ideal that you create; this daydream setting is where you want to start. The next step is gathering up a collection of your favorite styles to show to your fiancé (whether you compile them digitally on your reasonable budget and stick to it despite what impulses may overcome you while shopping. Even if the dress of your dreams costs far more than you can afford, don't disregard the many options for saving money and cutting costs (see below for more details). Once you have an idea and a budget in mind, it's time to get to work!

How to Shop for a Gown

While there are several ways of shopping for a gown, the most common is going to a bridal shop (other methods are explained in the section on how to save money). The first thing you need to do is call up a local bridal shop (or several) to schedule an appointment and consultation. Be sure to ask what they charge for a consultation, if anything. Also inquire whether there are any fees for trying on dresses. Before heading off to the shops, be sure to gather a few essentials to bring with you: * '''Your clippings of favorite styles'''. Sometimes it's harder than you think to explain to the person helping you about the "amazing" dress you saw in a bridal magazine. Bring several examples of things you like to help you quickly find your favorite styles in the shop. * '''A digital camera'''. Taking photos of the dress is not always allowed, so you should ask prior to snapping away. However, if you can take photos while wearing the dress you can compare later on. It's a good idea to either write the style numbers (exactly as they appear for each item including the bodice, train, and skirt) on the back of the polaroid or in a small notebook so that you can remember which you liked and disliked. This is crucial if you decide to come back later on to buy the dress. This brings up the question of whether to buy immediately or shop around (read below to consider your options). * '''A friend, the maid of honor, or your mom'''. The point is: Bring someone who knows you well and who you trust with utmost confidence. They can honestly tell you when your butt looks too big from behind, or whether or not white looks better with your skin tone than cream. Having a companion also helps dissuade you from making impulsive decisions, such as buying the first dress you try on, going over budget, or forgetting to ask important questions. * '''Proper undergarments'''. Grandma panties, a thong, or ratty underwear you don't remember buying are not good strapless bra, you might want to bring that too. * '''The right accessories.''' Obviously you won't have all the jewelry that you plan to wear, but you might have an idea of the shoes or hair that you want. This is important: shoe height will determine the length of a gown (and will change the look of your legs if you opt for a short dress), and your hair will make or break a certain neckline. * '''Credit card'''. If you wind up wanting to buy a traditional dress with a long train. You should also consider if a big dress will be able to make it down a small chapel's aisle. * '''Choose a flattering color'''. blush pink are both very popular. * '''Pick something comfortable. '''You will be standing, walking, dancing, sitting, kneeling, and possibly running down a beach. Wherever you are on your wedding day, you want to be comfortable. So when you try on dresses, move around and see how it feels. Note if it gets heavy or if the fabric wrinkles easily, if the bodice pinches or feels restricting, or if it drops too low when you lift your arms. * '''Don't be shocked by sizing (or take it personally)'''. After finding a style you like, a consultant will take your measurements so that you can order the dress. Know that if she says you are a size 10 and really you wear a six or seven, don't be shocked. All wedding dress sizes are going to be bigger than what you normally wear since over the years manufacturers have adjusted sizes for street clothing but not bridal attire. * '''Respect your house of worship'''. If you are religious and plan to marry in a house of worship, check with your officiant before selecting a gown so you are aware of any restrictions on wedding attire; some houses of worship won't allow bare shoulders, backs, legs, etc. It's easier to get plan ahead than worry about covering up at the last minute. If you can't part with the strapless bodice, for example, consider a pretty shawl or matching shrug jacket. * '''Show off your personality and the best parts of your body'''. Certain styles are better suited to certain body types, but even so, certain styles are simply more "you". Try your best to strike a balance between the two. After all, you want to look like a million bucks, but you also want to feel that good too.

Dress Fabrics

There are so many aspects of a gown to consider before choosing "the one". You'll need to look at fabrics, detailing, length, the neckline, sleeves, and other features. In this section of the guide you can find out which styles flatter which figures and more. A few of the most common fabric types are illustrated below, but these days a wide variety of natural and synthetic fibers are used in wedding gowns. Gown Length and Trains Traditionally, wedding gowns are long and white. Today, however, there are many choices beyond the standard evening-length gown. Chic modern brides are opting for all kinds of hemlines, from the traditional to the tiny. Here are a few of the most popular. If you opt for a floorthere to regal; consider your venue, the time of year, and the formality of your wedding before you decide. Don't forget that you'll need to have your gown bustled before you start dancing; all that extra fabric will be gathered up, but it can still be heavy!

Necklines and Silhouettes

Whether or not you have a train, you'll definitely have a neckline! From demure to daring, there are more different styles of wedding gown available than ever before. Recently, strapless has become the most popular style, but there are plenty of others to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular. '''Sleeves''' '''Classic Silhouettes''' '''Modern Trends '''

Before Leaving the Bridal Shop

There is some debate about whether bridesbe should shop around a bit before deciding on the perfect dress or if they should buy the one they like immediately. It goes without saying that shopping around lets you really find the dress that's best for you. However, many times women will expect to find a dress they love four weeks down the road when they come back to buy it. Unfortunately, there is always someone right behind that woman ready to snatch up that dress. Nonetheless, when you decide to buy the dress you have fallen in love with you need to verify a few things with the bridal shop first. * How many fittings will you need? Some women may need up to three fittings, especially if you are losing weight or on an exercise program. * How much will alterations cost? Usually they run about $200 depending on your size and the complexity of the dress and its details. * Can you save money by getting an unfinished hem? This is sometimes a money-saver because it makes alterations easier. * Can you opt to not have detailing added? It saves money if you do it yourself. * Does this bridal shop sell bridesmaids attire and tuxedos? * Is there any possibility that this bridal shop would throw in some extras, such as a veil or headpiece if you gave them all your business for attire? * Is the deposit on the dress refundable if you change your mind? * Can you have all the quotes in writing?

Saving Money on Gowns

Gowns can cost anywhere from $500 to $5000 or more. Some quick ways to save money are to choose a simpler dress with simpler fabrics. However, if you don't want to sacrifice your look, consider some of these options. * Buy a dress that isn't a
bridesmaids dress which will cost much less than their "bridal" counterparts. * If you want something designer, but don't want to spend a fortune, opt for a simpler style with less fabric. Naturally, it will cost less. * Visit the warehouse stores, trunk shows, and sample sales. Sometimes you can find great bargains on dresses, especially on last seasons dresses. * Opt for the plain dress in the style that you want. Buy the lace, beads, or other fancy add-ons yourself. You'll save around 25%. * Browse the sale racks. You never know what you'll find. * Try out online auctions for discounted dresses that have been worn once. * Ask your family if they have a dress that you can wear. Maybe grandma has a beautiful old gown that could fit you. * See the Guide to Wedding Budgeting for more helpful tips!

International Resources

For this resource in your home country, please see: ! FR: Robe de mariée
DE: Brautkleider