When shopping for your perfect dress there are so many things for one woman to take into account it can seem overwhelming way before the fun even starts. From budget, style, fabric, and color to who will come along and where should you go there are so many decisions. I always say keep an open mind and keep your thoughts simple.
I know you see all these episodes of Say Yes to the Dress where the brides bring 10 people along for the ride. This is NOT a good idea. When in life will you ever get a group of 10 women together and they all agree about one particular thing? NEVER. Your dress shopping experience is about no one but you. Yes, you want someone with you to give you an honest opinion as to wether a gown looks beautiful or if the color is right for you, but some women get caught up in what they like or do not like and get that confused with what you like. It is hard to keep focus on the bride with a large group. Keep it simpe 1 or 2 is enough.
Next on my list of to do's when shopping for "the dress" is to keep an open mind. Try on a variety of necklines, silhouettes and fabrics. Many times you will fall in love with something you never thought you would like. What you fall in love with while shoppping online may not be what you love on you. Keep in mind that models are 5'10 with high heels, size 4 or 6 with implants and a lot of retouching. It's perfectly fine to try them on but do not be heart broken because they do not look that way on you. Your consultant should be able to help you find the perfect style for you.
Always keep budget in mind. Never try on a dress that is way out of your affordable price range. Do not do it for fun or just because someone thinks it will look great on you. If you can not afford it then stay away. You do not have to spend an arm and a leg on a gown to look fabulous.
Shop at boutiques or small bridal salons for a personal one on one experience. Some may think that boutiques are way too over priced, but this is where doing your homework comes in handy. Many times boutiques carry things in many different price ranges. There is a huge difference in cost between a Maggie Sottero and a Vera Wang.
If boutiques are not for you and you have found a pretty dress online BEWARE! In many cases you are not getting the label you are paying for and in some cases gowns are not made to the measurements posted online. Returning a wedding gown is neither fun or easy. You are not dealing with a live person who is respnsible for your merchandise. You may never get your money back or issue resoled.
Warehouse shopping can sometimes make many brides happy, many end with negative thoughts that are never resolved. When working in a large setting like a warehouse in many cases consultants are working with many brides at once and can not give the bride the attention she needs to get her questions anwsered. Also many brides are drawn in for the $99 dress or some other "deal". Take into account that those gowns in most cases are never there in the size or color you want.
Under garments- MOST well made dresses do not require you to purchase special bras or slips. There are some cases that this is not true. If you have a very large bust sometimes there is not enough support in the gown to carry the weight. Some brides want ballgowns to be even fuller than they come and in that case larger slips are added. Just do not get these instances confused with a certain warehouse setting that requires you to purchase a bra and a slip with all of their gowns.
Ordering a dress can range in the time it takes for it to come in. This can be 3 months all the way to 9 months. Some designers offer a rush option but be prepared to pay for this option. When ordering a dress many brides want to order a smaller size because they are going on the famous "wedding diet". This is never a good idea. Order to the size you are then and you can always have it alstered. Stressing over losing the weight can cause you to do the opposite. No bride feels good if they have to let their dress out and what if there is not enough fabric to get it to zip. If you have to have it taken in then that is proof you accomplished your goal. Some stores do not offer off the rack purchases while the majority do, that is always a question to ask before falling in love with a dress that is not available in the timeframe you need.
Aterations and customizations can be made to all dresses. That does not mean that everything you want done to a dress can be. Make sure that when you get to the point of having your gown altered you are speaking directly with the person doing your alterations. Also when you meet with them make sure you are prepared and have all undergarments (Spanx, bras, bodysuits, bra cups, etc.) and shoes with you at your appointment. Before leaving your appointment make sure you inquire about the fees associated with your alterations and when they are expected to be paid. In most cases you are not required to pay for your alterations until they are complete and you are happy with them. Never pay and take your dress from alterations if you are unhappy with the work.