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How To Choose your Wedding Dress

Monday, April 15th

How to Choose Your Wedding Dress

Identify Your Budget:

Determine your budget and how much you're willing to spend on the dress. If you start your search without laying out a budget you could potentially overspend and have to make unwanted cuts in other areas that will alter the wedding event. It's important to stick to the budget and not quickly give in to the first beautiful dress you see. A less known designer can offer just as beautiful of a dress as a famous one and you'll find many dresses that look very much alike.

Consider the Big Picture:

Where you have the wedding, the reception, what time of day and year all impact the actual dress you should purchase. Before going dress shopping consider several aspects of the event to assist in your purchase.

  • Season. Clearly you don't want a long sleeved dress in Summer but certain materials are also not appropriate for the warmer months and vice versa for Winter. Also consider what time of the day you're wedding will occur. An early day wedding and an evening event will have a different feel and look and you should be dressed accordingly.
  • Shape. Very few people look good in every dress style. Consider your assets and highlight those in your dress. Research what dresses work best with your particular shape whether you're tall and curvy, short and petite, busty or thin.
  • Style. Everyone has their own personal style in the clothes they choose, their hair cut, shoes, etc. Look for dresses that compliment your style and don't choose something you might look out of place or awkward in. You'll want to feel comfortable in the dress and fee it represents you.
  • Theme. If you have a formal theme to your wedding you'll need to consider wearing gloves and a long train. If the theme is more whimsical your dress and head piece should correspond. Consider what theme and color scheme you'll have before purchasing your dress.
  • Movement. Dancing all night? Sitting? A long sheath dress is nearly impossible to bind in and will be very uncomfortable if you plan on dancing the night away. Identify how much movement you'll need to make, if there's a lot of walking or if you'll have to sit for a period of time. Make sure the dress you have allows you to comfortably work with the evenings event.
  • Avoid Fads. Your wedding is not the time to go with the latest fad. You'll regret the odd pictures displayed around your house in 5 years if you're wearing an unusual look. Think elegant and timeless in the dress you select.
  • Consider the Color. Not everyone looks great in white. But, thank goodness dresses come in a variety of off-whites, ivories and subtle shades of pink. White tends to wash out the skin color of people that are blond or fair skinned. Don't be afraid to choose a version of white that looks great on you.
  • Shop online. Ordering a dress online is a great way to browse a full selection, avoid the hassle of salespeople when shopping and save money. Online dress shopping is one of the top ways to meet your tight budget. A number of online wedding dress stores are available to saves you hundreds or even thousands over the cost of a dress at a local bridal shop. If you already have a specific designer or dress style in mind it's easy to find the same or similar dress quickly from a quality wedding store with strong inventory.
  • Check the return policy. Before you purchase a dress online or from a bridal salon identify the specific return policy and what if any fees are associated with the return. Only choose an online wedding dress store that allows you to return your dress should you change your mind. This is an important aspect of successfully finding a dress.
  • Do your research. If you are buying a dress in person do some research on customer satisfaction. Try the Better Business Bureau and talk to friends. If you are shopping online utilize independent product reviews to rresearch the online seller before making your final decision. These companies take much of the hassle away for you by identifying return policies, history, customer service levels, selection, costs and more.

Shop Online:

Shopping for a wedding dress online is the latest wave in savvy bridal shopping. Online bridal shops have low overhead, no commissioned sales staff, and no fancy stores to maintain. As such, they are able to offer significant price cuts to beautiful gowns.

With well designed websites you're able to narrow down your search quickly to find exactly what you're looking for at a better price. Locate independent product reviews to identify quality wedding dress shops. These sites to a good job of researching several companies to identify return policies, selection, customer service and the best value.

Do your Research:

Whether you're shopping online for your dress or heading out to a local bridal shop, make sure you understand the background of any company you buy from. Use the Better Business Bureau website to check for service issues, years in business and a low rating.

Return Policy:

An important piece of advice is to understand the return policy and what it specifically entails should you change your mind when the dress arrives. Some companies do not provide a return policy, others charge a fee and some return with no questions asked.

When your wedding day arrives and you have a beautiful gown to wear that fits perfect with your theme, style and shape you'll feel confident that you look your best for the occasion. As with any aspect of your wedding you should plan the big picture before you make any decisions.

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Wedding Dress Store FAQ

Congratulations! You can start looking for your dress whenever you like, but a good rule of thumb is to have your date and venue arranged first - so that you'll have an idea of the season, look and theme for your wedding. (For example, a beach wedding in August requires a very different dress from a cathedral wedding in January!)
Most off-the-rack dresses will fall somewhere in the $500-$3000 range, but you can find options priced much lower and much higher. You'll likely need alterations as well, so don't forget to factor in those costs (which will depend on which service you use).
In today's world, you can buy anything on the web - including a wedding dress! In fact, as many as 20% of brides in the US get their dresses online. If you've had a hard time finding one that you love locally, the internet may be your best option. Online retailers of wedding dresses make it much easier to find the right sizes, hottest trends, and all of the accessories to match.
That can be tricky, but almost every single online wedding dress store has a helpful sizing guide. You can usually reach out to the store's customer service team for extra help in taking measurements and finding several dresses to choose from that should be a good fit. Keep in mind that wedding dresses tend to be sized differently from regular clothes, often 1-2 sizes higher than what you wear day-to-day. (So unfair, we know!)
For wedding dresses, it's usually free. (Good luck finding anything else about your wedding that will be!) A few retailers have a minimum order requirement, but let's be honest: with as much as you'll spend on a wedding dress, you probably won't have a hard time reaching that amount!
That's probably the biggest fear brides-to-be have when buying their wedding dress online, but rest assured that most stores let you send it back - as long as it's still in new condition with all tags attached (no wearing it for your big day and then returning it!). Make sure you read the return policy of any store you're considering for your purchase, though: some don't accept returns under any circumstances!
When budgeting and planning for wedding attire, many brides forget that it's not just the dress. You'll need shoes, any desired accessories like a veil, gloves, and/or jewelry, and suitable undergarments!
Great question, because without preservation your dress may yellow or oxidize, experience mold or mildew, or be permanently creased in the wrong places. You can pay a professional to preserve your wedding dress; expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $700 for the service.
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