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Is it wise to go bridal shopping with your fiance?

As a soon-to-be bride, it is likely that you follow TLC’s show “Say Yes to the Dress”, at least occasionally. In that case, you may not be too surprised to see brides who take their fiance wedding shopping with them.

If you are old-school, you may not agree to this idea, as it is believed to be bad luck for the groom to see his bride in her wedding dress, before the actual wedding day. In this context, it is only apt that we look at what is behind this tradition.

According to this article on CNN, this practice originated in the days when arranged marriages were the norm. The bridegroom was not allowed to see the bride at all (wedding dress or not!), till the time they were actually wed. This was so that if either of them were disappointed with who was to be their life partner, they wouldn’t have the option of backing out.

old weddings

Today, the situation is different. Although many brides follow this without question, there are others who choose to do so for another reason. It is a memorable moment when the bridegroom first sees the bride in her bridal finesse, and one that the couple will fondly remember. Not to mention, the first-look is a photography favorite that most couples don’t want to ruin.

Nevertheless, what if you want your fiance’s opinion on this matter? What if you believe that he is the best person to give you an honest feedback when you look for your bridal gown?

In this article on the Glamor weddings website, the author Jenny Feldman shares her experience of how she went shopping with the girls, but showed all the dresses she ordered to her husband, and made her final decision with him. Despite this, the experience of seeing each other in their wedding outfits on the actual day was in no way less special.

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In short, it entirely depends on your personal situation, and what you would like to do. Here are some factors to consider.

  • Are you sure that your fiance will love your wedding dress, no matter what you select? Or does he have very strong opinions on what you wear, and you are worried about disappointing him by choosing something he wouldn’t approve?
  • Does he understand your taste, and does he help you make good dress choices?
  • Do you think that the magic of the moment when you first see each other on your wedding day, will be ruined, if your groom has already seen you in your wedding dress?
  • If the two of you are paying for the dress, it may be advisable to consult him as it is a considerable expense that you want to spend right.

Finally, make sure you discuss your ideas beforehand, so he knows what to expect and both of you are on the same page when you go shopping. Also, don’t forget to check out our bridal gallery at Best for Bride, to shortlist the dresses that will be perfect for your big day.

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10 things to do before you go shopping for your wedding dress

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most anticipated wedding tasks for most brides. After all, the day you get married is the most important day in your life, and your wedding dress plays a huge role in helping you look great for it.

Many brides dream about their wedding dress and wedding day, right from the time they are little girls. Although their ideas of fashion would have changed over the years, the excitement of wedding shopping always thrills a would-be bride.

Being prepared in advance will help you enjoy your wedding shopping to the most, and help you find the dress you want easily. Here is a list of what you should do in advance, before you start with your wedding shopping. Make sure to follow it, and you will be set for the best shopping experience of your life.

1.Fix the maximum price

Let’s get the money part sorted out first. Everything about your wedding depends on the money you can afford to spend on it. Before you even think of going shopping, you should have a definite idea of how much you can spend on your wedding gown. Wedding gowns come in all price ranges, so define your upper limit. Then, you will not waste time on gowns that you cannot afford, or even worse, fall in love with a dress that is way over-budget. Another thing to remember is that if you already know your budget, you can do your research online and shortlist gowns you like. You can then choose a bridal shop that stocks the gowns you like.

Don’t believe that you have to settle for a gown in the shop you visit. You can always shop elsewhere if the boutique doesn’t have a good collection within the range you can afford.

There are several ways to work on a budget and still get a fabulous gown. Clearance sales, dress rentals, discount vouchers and offers make it possible to buy a gown at a price much lesser than its original cost. We suggest that you check out this article to learn more about how to make the most of your wedding dress budget, and also learn about all the expenses will be included in the final price.

2.Decide on the style of wedding

Not all gowns are suitable for every type of wedding. You may look out-of-place in an elaborate ball gown, if you are getting married at the beach. So, plan your venue and style of wedding long before you begin searching for your wedding dress. You have to consider whether certain dress features may be inappropriate for the style of wedding you have planned. For example, if you are getting married in an orthodox place of worship, wedding dresses with low cut necklines or revealing fabric may be inappropriate.

Check out these finer details before you embark on wedding shopping, so you do not have to alter your decision after you place the order. Your wedding dress should also tie with the theme of the wedding and match the formality of the event. If you have planned a classic wedding, a full train and veil may be necessary for your dress to match the style. So, consider all these factors before you start looking for your bridal gown.

3.Plan who accompanies you when you go shopping

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Although the final decision of what you wear on your wedding day is up to you, the people who accompany you on your wedding shopping can significantly influence your decision. So, it is not a small matter deciding who comes along. Don’t feel obliged to invite everyone on your bridal party or include all the women and men who think they should be part of your entourage.

Our experience is that the smaller the entourage, the better it is. Too many cooks spoil the broth, and this is accurate where wedding shopping is concerned. On many occasions, we have we seen a bride walk in knowing what she wants, only to end up being confused by differing opinions and ending up totally lost. When choosing your entourage, make sure they are people who share your taste for fashion and who have your best interests at heart. They should be encouraging and not dismissive of any choice you finally make. If you feel bad for not including all the women who wanted to go shopping with you, you can still invite them to come along when you go for your fitting sessions.

4.Have an idea of what style you want

Wedding dresses come in hundreds of styles and with distinct features. You can quickly get lost in a whirlwind of options, if you go shopping without a rough idea of what you want. So, it is helpful to be prepared.

Start with understanding your body shape and then looking at silhouettes that flaunt your best features. Our previous article on how to choose wedding dresses according to body shape will help you in this direction. Apart from understanding what silhouette will look good on you, you should also consider the choices in necklines and sleeves when making a selection. Do you want to go with trendy styles like off-the-shoulder necklines and sweetheart bodices, or are traditional styles like Queen Anne necklines and three-fourth sleeves more suitable for your taste? Take your time in determining this, as this will help you make your dress decisions much faster, when you actually go shopping.

If there are certain features that you have liked in pictures, it is a good idea to collect them and take it with you when you go shopping. Your consultant can help you identify a similar dress easily, when you can show them what you seek. Remember to keep the venue and weather at the time in mind, when you plan your choices. You can also consider add-on accessories like sleeved mock boleros or waistbands to achieve the desired look, or simply for more style.

5.Decide on where to shop

No one will stop you from visiting all the bridal stores in town before you make a final decision. But trust me, it can get boring and disappointing after a while. So, where you shop is an important decision when you want to enjoy the experience. We think you can make this decision easily by paying attention to the following factors.

  • First determine the list of dresses that you want to try by checking online or in magazines
  • List down the shops that carry most or all of these dresses
  • Check for reviews on the service that these shops provide
  • Call up to make sure these dresses are in stock
  • Book your appointment and keep to it

But, what if you do not have a specific dress in mind? Then go by the reviews of the shops you shortlist. A good bridal salon will have a number of designer collections, that you can choose from. Also, the quality of customer service is very important if you want to enjoy your shopping experience. Talented bridal consultants can help you find the dress in no time. So, pay close attention to this factor. Either check with your friends for recommendations or go with online reviews. Also consider whether the salon has dresses within your price range, before you even book your appointment.

6.Plan to go shopping at the right time

The best time to shop is when there aren’t many people around. So, cross off weekends and evenings. Plan your shopping appointment on a weekday, when the boutique you visit will not be crowded. Don’t worry about taking a day off work, it will be worth it. Going into a shop when it is crowded is not only tiring, you may even end up making a wrong decision without exploring the alternatives.

We also suggest that you book your appointment in the morning, when the attendants will be fresh and attentive. If you plan to pick your dress during a sale, visit on the first day by all means. Nevertheless, don’t hasten your decision if you aren’t one hundred percent sure this is the dress. Think over it, and return once you make up your mind.

Designer Kelima K, in this article on Whattowear.com, is correct in suggesting that brides should start shopping at least six months in advance.  Shopping when there is just four months or less till the date is considered a rush order, and the charges may be higher to get things done on time.

7.Book an appointment

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You can always walk into a store to shop for your bridal dress. However, you should remember that if there are other brides who have booked an appointment, the boutique is bound to serve them first. So, eliminate the possibility of having to wait by booking yours too. Most bridal shops, including Best for Bride, allow you to conveniently book your appointment by telephone or online.  Both methods are definitely better than a boring wait on the day you go shopping.

When booking an appointment, you can also instruct the boutique to keep any specific dresses that you want to try on, ready. Although they may advertise all designer dresses as available it isn’t necessary that they will always have it in stock. So, if you check in advance, it will be easier to try on what you like in the closest size, at the appointment than go in for it again.

8.Carry the required accessories

A nude bra is a basic necessity that you should carry with you when you go shopping. Apart from this if you think you will be wearing shape wear, and already own some, take that along too. Wearing it with the dresses will help you gain a much better picture of how a dress will drape on your body. So, don’t skip these essentials.

Additionally, if you will be wearing any heirlooms, or have shoes, veils, jewelry or other accessories that you will be using on your wedding day, take them along. This way, you can choose a dress that goes well with these accessories, and not have to worry about how to mix the two together after you buy the dress.

9.Dress yourself up to look good

Well, you always look good! So, let’s be more specific. Like this article on the Bustle suggests,  it is a good idea to dress yourself up a little, so you look good when you try on wedding dresses. Basic makeup and a neat hairdo is all that is necessary, but it will make a big difference. If you wear your hair similar to how you intend to do at your wedding, you can better understand how your overall look would come together. This can help you choose between dresses, if that is what confuses you during your appointment.

Once you decide on a dress, you should do your trial hair and makeup session on one of the days you have your dress fixing appointment. This will give you a clear picture of how your look comes together, and leave you time to make any changes if you aren’t satisfied with what you see.

10.Prepare yourself to be surprised

Lastly, always expect the unexpected when you go wedding shopping. Of course, I mean this in a good way! Don’t be too fixated on what you should buy, and what will look good on you. Trust your bridal consultant and don’t hesitate to try on a dress she suggests. Having been in the business for so long, bridal consultants have seen many a bride walk in saying this is what she wants, but go back with an entirely different choice that blew her mind. This is because bridal consultants know the difference between how a dress looks on a frame and how it looks on the hanger. So, make use of their expertise and allow them to recommend dresses they think will be best for you.

So, you now know all you have to, before you start shopping. Now, go on and have a great time! And don’t forget to continue visiting us on Best for Bride for all that you ever wanted to know about wedding planning, shopping and everything in between.

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Types of Wedding Dress Lace

Wedding dress descriptions often mention a type of wedding dress lace used to make the gown. One dress may have chantilly lace while another has guipure lace. Without being able to inspect the gowns up close in person, you might not know the difference between these different wedding dress lace types.

However, it is a fact that there are several different types of wedding dress lace. Also, the effect of one type of lace is entirely different from that of another. The difference is in the fabric, the details in the threadwork done on it and in the embellishments that adorn each of these types of lace. So, have you ever wondered how the types of lace are different? Here are descriptions and some photographs of the different types of lace used in wedding dresses.

Alençon Lace
Alençon Lace

One of the most common types of lace fabric used in bridal dresses is Alençon lace. This wedding dress lace variety is sometimes referred to as the “Queen of Lace.” Alencon lace is named after the city where it originated and Alençon lace has a long history of adorning women’s dresses. This type of lace was first produced in the 16th century in Alencon, a city in France. It is a needle lace. The designs on Alençon lace are outlined with a fine cording. This lace type is often embellished with small crystals, seed pearls, or sequins.

The Alencon lace has survived the competition from machine-made lace, due to its finesse and unique qualities. When cheaper machine-made lace started growing in popularity, production of alencon lace went into a steady decline. Nevertheless, the technique was preserved and it continues to be a bridal favorite to this day.

 

Brussels Lace
Brussels Lace

Of the different types of lace for wedding dresses, Brussels lace is very old-fashioned. This wedding dress lace type was first produced in the fifteenth century in the city of Brussels. This city in Belgium is very famous for its laces. Originally, the term Brussels lace was employed for any type of lace that originated in Brussels. However, this has changed over time. It now refers specifically to a type of bobbin lace.

Brussels lace is extremely delicate. Tradition has it that this type of wedding dress lace was woven in dark rooms for fear that the light would cause the threads to become brittle. Brussels lace is occasionally used for wedding dress details. However, this delicate lace is not as common as other lace varieties.

What sets Brussels lace apart from other types of wedding dress laces is its unique design. Here, the entire unit is made of parts and assembled together. So, the floral details are created separately and woven together to form a single unit. The design is also rather unusual and attractive. In the background, there is no defining cordonnet as is seen in other types of lace. Instead, there are open stitches that border the pattern.

Chantilly LaceChantilly Lace

Chantilly lace is one of the most common laces used on wedding dresses. The lace has a fine, plain netting background. Chantilly lace often is used for wedding dress sleeves and overlays. It is a type of handmade lace and includes delicate details that make it unusually charming.

Chantilly lace has a well-defined and obvious outlined pattern. Originally, this lace was made of silk. The modern versions are also done in linen. One of the most striking features of Chantilly lace is the light and shadow effect that is unique to this lace. There are usually abundant floral details and motifs that adorn the lace. Chantilly lace was the choice of royalty in ancient days when it was made in Chantilly. The practice continues to this day and is a staple in the bridal scene.

Duchesse Lace
Duchesse Lace

Duchesse lace is a variety of Brussels lace. This lace has more open space than many other types of bridal lace. This lace acquires its name from its patronage by Marie Henriette, the Duchess of Brabant. Like Brussels lace, Duchesse lace also has large and exquisite floral motiffs. However, there is a marked difference between the two. In Duchesse lace, the floral motiffs are joined to each other by bars instead of mesh patterns. The lace motiffs are raised from the base layer, and it mainly features large sprays of floral designs.

Guipure Lace
Guipure Lace

The characteristic difference between guipure lace and other types of wedding dress lace is the lack of netting. Most types of wedding dress lace are formed on a netting, the guipure has an open design. This type of lace also is called Venise lace, not to be confused with the spelling of the city of Venice. Guipure lace is heavier than most types of lace. It is a favorite fabric for winter wedding gowns. This lace has a raised texture. It can create a very bold look if used over the majority of the dress.

Guipure lace is similar to Duchesse lace in that it has its different motifs connected to each other by bars or plaits instead of mesh-type details. In the original style of this wedding dress lace, the motifs would contain thicker borders that outlined each element of the pattern. However, this edging of the motifs has been eliminated in modern versions. The lace is very common in wedding gowns.

Schiffli Lace

A lightweight, machine-made lace used as an overlay or edging. Sometimes, this term is used to describe chemical lace. The chemical lace has no netting background because the netting is dissolved with a chemical treatment after the lace design has been embroidered.

There are certain features of Schiffli lace that make it easily recognizable. It is created on a machine or loom with an overlapping embroidery field. The details are created by the interlocking of fabric threads. As a result, it yields units that can stand alone without the aid of meshing or connections. Schiffli lace is used as overlays in bridal gowns. It can also be used to trim sleeves and hemlines, or in the bodice of the dress to create a textural difference.

Many people include eyelet as a type of wedding dress lace. Eyelet is a cotton fabric with embroidered cutouts. It’s not a traditional lace since it’s made on the cotton fabric rather than a netting. Despite not being a true lace, the eyelet is a popular trim with scalloped edging for vintage appeal. The eyelet lace, unlike traditional forms of lace, is sturdy with its definite fabric stretch. The defining of details along the holes adds a quality to the delicate fiber beneath it. It also acquires a boho look, which appeals to chic modern brides who prefer an unconventional bridal look.

Choosing the right wedding dress lace

Where wedding dress lace selection is concerned, there is no right or wrong choice. If you look at the different type of lace wedding dresses, you will find that they all have a characteristic charm that is classic, elegant and definitely bridal.

However, the right choice of wedding dress lace can make your wedding shopping easier if you prefer a certain look. This is because certain laces are better suited for an antique vintage feel, while others are more edgy and modern.

The type of wedding dress lace you wear also affects the overall effect of a dress, and how easy it is to maintain. Soft, flexible and lightweight laces require better care. They are more prone to stretching and tears, and you should be extra careful if this type of lace appears in the hemline of your dress. On the other hand, sturdier forms of lace like the eyelet are less prone to accidents and tearing.

Another factor to consider is the color and the embellishments on the wedding dress lace that influence its look. Off-white lace colors with more texture tend to create an antique or vintage look. Meanwhile, crisp white lace with clear-cut details and fine edging are better suited for modern looks.

Factors to remember when choosing a lace wedding gown

I cannot think of any bridal boutique that will have wedding dresses without lace. Lace is indeed an integral part of the wedding scenery. Although it may not suit everyone’s taste, there are still brides who wouldn’t consider anything but a lace wedding dress for their special day.

If you decide to make your selection from lace wedding dresses, you will have to lavish extra care on the dress. Since wedding dress lace is delicate, it requires special care. Lace is also susceptible to fraying and tearing. Avoid such risks by ensuring the following:

Go for quality over quantity

Handmade wedding dress lace has an exotic quality that cannot be compared to the machine-made version. So, a dress that has just a small quantity of handmade lace will definitely be better than one that is entirely made from the cheap machine-made stuff. Always go with the classics in excellent quality fabric to look elegant and stylish.

Always get the dress altered by an expert

A lace dress should be handled with care at all times. If your dress calls for any alterations, trust only the experts for the job. Repairs on a lace gown have to be done carefully. It is easy to damage the look of the wedding dress lace if it is done improperly. So, ensure you trust a talented seamstress to the job. Also, ensure you pick the dress in the right size, so there will be excess lace to work with when it has to be taken in.

Be prepared to pay more

Every wedding dress, even after alterations should look flawless. And it isn’t easy to get that effect when you have a lace dress. If the areas that are covered in wedding dress lace require alterations, your seamstress will have to put in more effort. This can mean that the alterations may cost extra. So, be prepared for this when you purchase a dress. Altering a lace dress is often a time-consuming task. Keep this mind and set aside enough time when doing your shopping, so this doesn’t turn out to be an issue later.

Place it safely in a secluded space

Wedding dress lace is very delicate and easily prone to tears. It can quickly tear and be damaged if it catches on to anything. So, it is absolutely essential to store it in a safe spot that is away from the traffic zones in your home.

Lay it out flat

A lace wedding dress is always best stored flat. This allows the lace to hold its shape and not result in accidental tears or fraying. Place your wedding dress flat on a shelf in your closet. Else, store it inside a box that you specially buy for the purpose and place it in a safe place.

Consider your veil and jewelry when choosing the lace for your dress

The other part of your bridal outfit that will contain lace is your veil. It is important to match your veil to the lace in your dress for a cohesive effect. So, choose your veil by wearing it with your dress to confirm they go together well.

Irrespective of whether it is guipure, chantilly, alencon or schiffi, lace is a bridal staple that stands out as one of the unique embellishments for wedding dresses. Hence, it is no wonder that lace wedding gowns have stood the test of time. While it continues to evolve to suit the taste of the modern bride, one thing is sure. Lace is here to stay.

We have a stunning variety of lace wedding dresses in our dress collections at Best for Bride. Check out our bridal dress gallery to shortlist your favourites, or for inspiration on planning your wedding day look. For more information about wedding dresses and embellishments, please browse the Best for Bride blog. There you will find detailed descriptions of wedding dress elements including the bustle, veils, and different lengths of trains.