Perhaps you’re a bride who has already trolled your city’s dress shops in search of that perfect gown. You may be a Mother of the Bride or Maid of Honor looking to help the bride in your life find her dress. Wherever you are in your search, there is a universal desire…You want the most beautiful gown, and you want to have a nice, memorable time shopping for it. Here are some tips that will aid you in your quest and help you avoid the stress that can come with this, the most important of purchases!
1. Be Nice!
Your mom’s old advice might seem like a given, but you’d be surprised at how many brides-to-be begin the wedding gown search with chips on their shoulders. Whether it’s a sense of entitlement or the diva antics displayed on the myriad wedding reality shows, it’s clear some brides are cultivating the bridezilla role. Weddings can be stressful, but that’s no reason to take it out on someone who is trying to help you. When shopping for your wedding gown, you really do want to think of the old adage “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. If you show your consultant respect from the get-go, your experience is likely to be more enjoyable. Keep in mind that this is your special day, but showing gowns is this woman’s JOB. Even if she loves what she does (which she should if she’s doing it!), you’re still one of hundreds of brides she sees every year. Set yourself apart. A consultant who is treated well is more likely to go the extra mile to make your big day a success.
2. Do Your Research.
Think like a Girl Scout and “Be Prepared”. Pore through wedding magazines and pick out photos of silhouettes you like. Are you into romantic lace or beading? Do you prefer ruching and draping to rhinestones and sequins? Having an idea of your general style will make your task much easier when you arrive at the bridal shop. T ake the location of your wedding and the time of day into account. You may be more likely to choose a simple chiffon slip dress for a casual beach wedding than for an evening soiree in a hotel ballroom. Conversely, you may find a heavily beaded silk ballgown to be more appropriate for a formal country club fete than for an afternoon tea party.
3. Limit the Number of People You Bring to Your Appointment.
This little bit of advice may seem counterintuitive initially. You’re planning for one of the most special days of your life! Why wouldn’t you want to share it with your mom, your sister and seven of your closest friends? Weddings are fraught with conflicting pressures, and the desire to make everyone around you feel included. That said, bringing a large group to a gown appointment can be a nightmare. Have you ever tried to get a consensus out of a group of ten? It’s nearly impossible. Brides end up being swayed by mob mentality. Before you know it, you’re trying on that hideous tulle concoction that you swore you’d never go near. The gown you love is quickly shot down by your “well-meaning” sister-in-law. Your “always-a-bridesmaid” college friend decides to take this inopportune moment to act like a frenemy. What’s a bride to do? The best way to avoid this situation is to be proactive. Choose two or three people at most to accompany you. Make sure that they are trusted, positive friends or family members. The people you ask to be your support system on this day can make or break your experience. It can honestly be the difference between crying tears of happiness or tears of frustration. You want opinions, but ultimately yours is the only one that really matters. After all, on your wedding day you will be the only one wearing that gown down the aisle.
4. Be Honest (With Yourself) About Your Budget.
We all wish we had unlimited budgets. Unfortunately that is often not the case, particularly in this tough economy. You can find a beautiful gown at a price you can live with. It is important to be upfront about what you want to spend so that you are presented with the best options. It might sound like fun to try on that $10,000 designer wedding gown, but think of what would happen if you fell in love with it. Will all other dresses come up short? Why chance having your heart broken?
The wedding industry has exploded in recent years. There are beautiful gowns available at every price point. Trying on gowns within your budget is the best way to avoid heartache. If you fall in love with a gown you know that it is within your reach. Have champagne taste and a box-wine budget? Check bridal consignment stores. Often they have high-end gowns at a rock-bottom prices.
5. Be Flexible.
Perhaps you have your heart set on a ballgown with a sweetheart neckline. Do yourself a favor and try on that mermaid gown your mom wants to see. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the one! If nothing else, you’ve made your mom happy (for once!). Can’t get an appointment at the newest boutique in town with two days’ notice? Check your calendar for the following week, or ask to be called in the event of a cancellation. Some things that seem like tragedies when they present themselves will appear more manageable when you step back and view them from a distance. Your patience will be tried time and again as you plan your special day, and sometimes the dress is the least of it. Keep in mind that there are two important players in this wedding- you and your fiance. When the wedding cake is cut and the last guest leaves it will still be just the two of you. You won’t remember in 50 years whether your petticoat was trimmed with Alencon or Chantilly lace, but you will remember looking into your partner’s eyes on that wonderful day. Enjoy the process as much as the result. You will have the dress of your dreams AND great memories to last a lifetime.