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Second-time brides—Tips to choose the perfect wedding dress for a second wedding

Brides who are getting married the second time will usually be familiar with the wedding dress shopping experience. If this isn’t the first time you are a bride, you may  have memories of how your previous wedding shopping session was and remember the excitement of finding the first dress. This factor can influence your overall experience when you attempt to find a great wedding dress again.

However, there is another side to the coin. You will be older, wiser and have a better idea of what you want, when you go shopping this time. From where you are in your life now, it is likely that you will be more confident and think your decisions through. This will also aid your wedding dress selection. Also, if you weren’t entirely happy with your dress decision last time, you can now make up for it. So, shopping for your wedding dress should be exciting once again.

Although it is impossible to keep comparing your choices to what you wore or bought for your first wedding, remember that this new phase in life is also about leaving the past behind. As you step into a new chapter of your life, be open and flexible with your choices. This will help you analyze your options objectively and choose a dress that fully meets your expectations.

To help you further, here are some of our insider tips for second-time brides to choose the perfect wedding dress for your wedding day.

Do your research once again

Wedding dress styles and options will have changed a lot from the last time you went shopping. Although the traditional silhouettes will still be available, there may be newer and more interesting options to explore. So, do your research before you set foot in a bridal store. Look at what is trending and shortlist styles that appeal to you. Collect pictures of the dress features you like and make notes of what you would like to see in your wedding dress. This will make your shopping session more productive.

Look for something different

You may have looked amazing in your old wedding gown. Nonetheless, this is the time to explore entirely different options, and embrace a whole new look. There will be other silhouettes, fabric and dress features that flatter you. So, look out for these options. Find dress styles that will enhance your best assets, that are significantly different from your old gown. This is your chance to do better in your life once again, and let this factor extend to your wedding dress decision as well.

Look for dresses that compliment your personality

Every bride should only choose a dress that reflects her taste. The wedding dress is an extension of your personality. So, don’t worry about following tradition or rules when choosing yours. Only settle for a dress that appeals to your likes. This could be an extension of what you wear on a regular basis. Or it could be a dress that is entirely different. Only you know what you truly want. So, consider this factor well and find a dress that speaks to you.

Match your dress choice to the style of wedding you plan

Let your venue and wedding theme help you choose your wedding dress. For traditional wedding styles, classic gowns may be better than modern, trendy options. If your wedding is a casual, laid back affair, choose simple silhouettes and casual dress styles to match the tone. Although second-time brides may prefer a shorter and simpler dress, there is no rule that suggests so. Ultimately it is your choice to find a dress that matches the venue and wedding style, while adding to your beauty. Here are some ideas on the Wedding Ideas Magazine to find dresses that are suitable for your theme.

Dress according to your age and body shape

Most second-time brides are mature brides. If this is the case, you should choose a style and silhouette that best suits your body shape and overall appearance. Look for dresses that make you look like a younger, smarter version of yourself. Although mature brides tend to gravitate towards classic dress silhouettes like the A-line and fit and flare,  nothing should deter you from trying a cocktail length dress or a fish tail gown. Analyse your body type and find out whether there are any areas you would like to hide. Also, identify the assets you would like to show off. Then choose a dress that camouflages the less desirable parts while drawing attention to the more attractive parts.

Be bold enough to defy tradition

Traditionally, the bridal dress was never white. White wedding dresses are in fact a trend that emerged in the Victorian era. Although most brides still prefer to wear white on their wedding day, you can always break the norm. Stunning colorful wedding gowns constantly make the rounds on runways. Explore these stunning options in light and bright colors. Or choose printed wedding dresses that have been trending recently. Florals and watercolor details are typically associated with wedding dresses.

Your dress should make you feel special

Don’t dismiss the dress as a less-important factor about your wedding. Whether your wedding is an intimate affair or a grand bash, you deserve to feel special on this big day in your life. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your dress. Instead, what is more important is that you love your wedding dress, how it drapes on you and how it makes you feel. With dresses in all price ranges, you will have plenty of options to pick a dress that is unique and makes you a beautiful bride once again.

Don’t even think of wearing the dress you wore the first time around

If there is one rule to strictly adhere to when you are a second-time bride, it is to never use your first wedding dress again. Even if you never got to wear it because your engagement was called off. A dress that wasn’t bought for this wedding day shouldn’t be the one you wear for it. Wearing your old wedding dress will take the focus off your new marriage. So, we suggest you start your special day on a new footing with an entirely new wedding dress. Try to keep it very different from what you wore the first time around, to avoid any comparisons between the two.

Think of comfort and practical constraints

Make sure that wearing a comfortable dress is one of your top priorities. Don’t choose a dress style that makes you feel conscious of how you look. Also, avoid dresses that are too heavy or difficult to manage. Before you commit to a dress, check if it is easy to move around in and fits comfortably. If you feel it looks good but feels uncomfortable, it is better you keep looking.

There are no hard and fast rules on what you should or should not wear when you will be wed the second time. Nevertheless, there are some general trends in the dresses that mature brides opt for on such occasions. Based on this, here are some suggestions to help you get inspired.

Wedding dress suggestions for second-time brides

Elegant Vintage wedding dresses

Most brides gravitate towards elegance and sophistication when they look for their wedding dress. Dresses from bygone eras have the romance and demure finesse to achieve this look. These dresses also usually feature classic style elements that make it comfortable to wear for an older bride.

 

This Mori Lee Morena in Duchess Satin is a ravishing beauty, with its classic V-neckline and A-line silhouette. The sparkling chevron waistband enhances the pristine clarity of the white, making this a splendid dress that is simple yet captivating.

Shorter hemlines

Many brides have already had a chance to enjoy their princess look the first time. So, they tend to look for more casual styles. And what better choice than a dress with a shorter hemline. This style is particularly apt if your wedding is low-key and you prefer a simpler bridal look.

The Monica Loretti Orifilia is an enchanting short dress with cord lace details extending into full-length sleeves and a beautiful bateau neckline. The illusion details create a bridal look, while it isn’t overpowering and perfect for a casual vibe.

Illusion-style wedding dresses

Romantic, classy and dainty, illusion lace details instantly enhance the splendor of any dress. Peek-a-boo lace is always feminine, and second-time brides who have already tried a glamorous look before often choose the delicate, feminine look the second time around.

Dreamy illusion hand embroidery details form enchanting embellishments on this soft Monica Loretti dress. The A-line gown is entirely crafted from smooth, flowing fabric with an embroidered illusion bodice over the sweetheart neckline as the only embellishment. This is a stylish yet elegant choice for a second-time bride.

Long sleeve dresses

Whether it is to conceal your upper arms or to look modest, many brides look forward to exploring options in gowns with full-length sleeves. The presence of long sleeves is often slimming, and it works with various silhouettes to create different effects. It is also a timeless style that appeals to older brides. Full-length sleeves can also be created with the help of a jacket or bolero over your chosen dress, if you are unable to find a dress that appeals to you entirely.

Another dress from the Monica Loretti collection, the Melisa has lace illusion sleeves over a stunning strapless bodice. The vivid textures in the lace sleeves beautifully compliment the soft flowy finish of the gown. The streamlined A-line silhouete is also classy, and the pretty waistband enhances the effect of a slender waistline. This dress style has a slimming effect, and it is a lovely choice that is powerful without too many details.

Dresses with showstopper details

At times it is not about having every attractive feature in the dress, but about highlighting few details with due importance. Dresses with just one showstopper detail are a huge hit with second-time brides. This gives them the opportunity to show off their taste without going overboard with too many details.

Before you dismiss this gown as a simple lace wedding dress with spaghetti straps in the front and few crystal embellishments along the neckline, take a look at the beauty it is in the back.

 

Here, is a stunning back that will amaze everyone. The bodice extends into a narrow strap that borders a sexy cut-out detail above the waistline. It is an unexpected and interesting style, that will capture the attention of your wedding guests. Show off your sensual side in this dress, which is unusually interesting and suitable for your bold personality.

Just a dash of color can make all the difference

Leave your old life behind, and begin your new chapter on a brand new and entirely different note when you wear a colorful wedding dress. A subtle dose of color will set your look apart, without spoiling the bridal effect. Choose colors or prints that suit your complexion for the best effect. Or go with the latest trends in wedding dress colors.

 

This beauty from the Mon Cheri collection is simply magnificent with striking lace appliques that swim over the entire length. An overlay skirt forms panels on either side of the waistline, while the original dress has a fit and flare skirt. This is a dress that will help you sport two distinct looks on your wedding day without spending on two entirely different dresses. Hence it is a practical and interesting choice.

You may be getting married the second or third time, but a Bride is a Bride. Don’t hesitate to explore your options and dream big when it comes to your wedding dress. If there is something you regret from your wedding dress shopping the first time, this is the opportunity to fix it. So, make your decisions only when you are sure it is right.

All the dresses seen here and more are available at our Best for Bride wedding dress gallery. Click here to visit our collection and shortlist your favorites. 

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11 Major Mistakes to Avoid when you are newly engaged

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with a person, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

This quote is very true for newly engaged couples. Being newly engaged is a lovely phase in everyone’s life. It is perhaps the most romantic part of your love story; a time when nothing can possibly seem to go wrong.

As romantic and exciting as this phase is, remember that this chapter also leads to a bigger, even more exciting and chaotic phase—planning the wedding! However, this stage comes with a fair set of challenges and not all are able to handle it easily. There are some common mistakes that many newly engaged couples make and regret in the coming days. Do you know what they are?

Let us look at this list of what to avoid when you are newly engaged, so that your engagement is memorable for all the right reasons.

1.Not announcing your engagement to the most important people first

You are undoubtedly pretty excited about your engagement. It is only natural that you feel tempted to shout about it from the rooftops. Or, in the modern and more efficient version, share your big news on social media. However, remember that this is no trivial news. So, it is only right to first tell it to those who matter the most to each of you and as a couple. Let the rest of the world wait a little longer to hear. Visit your parents and break the news to them. Or if they are far away, pick up the phone and tell them personally. Next, inform your close friends and family. Once you are done with personally informing all those in your close circle, climb up the roof or login to Facebook and make your big announcement.

2.Revealing too much on social media

Making the big announcement is one thing, flooding everyone’s news feeds on Facebook with your news is another thing altogether. Contain your excitement, at least where sharing your news is concerned. Your friends will be eager to know. However, it can be rather irritating when you overdo the stuff you share on social media. Don’t annoy everyone with your openness and limit the amount of information you share. It isn’t necessary to post every update about your wedding planning online either. This can even be dangerous, as your news will be available to everyone. It will make you vulnerable to scams and cause unnecessary confusion if those you didn’t expect turned up at your celebratory events assuming your discussion or post was akin to an invitation.

3.Asking friends and family to be in your bridal party immediately

Wedding planning can be tortuous once you get into the details. So, it is important to think every decision through. Don’t be tempted to simply invite or ask people you love to be in your bridal party. These decisions are best made after you do your due research. Even if you are sure of who should be in your bridal party, play it safe and wait till you are certain before you ask. It is likely that your wedding will be after quite a while. Relationships can change in the meanwhile, situations may come in the way. So, wait till the time is ripe to make your final decisions in this matter.

4.Rushing to settle on a date

Now that you are engaged, a wedding is definitely on the cards. Though you shouldn’t procrastinate indefinitely, neither should you be hasty with your decisions. Don’t quickly decide on a likely wedding date. Instead take your time with this important decision. Consult each other and think of all the factors that you should account for. You will have to find a date on which your preferred vendors are available, the venue is available and so on.

Most couples don’t really consider or plan for a wedding before they are actually engaged. So, take your time with this important decision and you won’t regret it later. Once you lock down on a date, you have limited options in other areas. So, be sure of your decision before you commit to it. It is also a good idea to run likely dates by your family and friends before making a final decision.

5.Not considering budget

Setting the wedding budget is one of the first and foremost wedding planning tasks. Tackle it as a priority. Every wedding decision you make will cost you money. However, how much you spend on each aspect of the wedding shouldn’t happen along the way, or you can run into debt. Talk about your financial situation with each other and plan a practical budget. If your parents will be contributing, you should find out how much they intend to spend. Once you are aware of the maximum you can afford to spend on your wedding, split it into components for each wedding task.

A proper idea of your wedding budget will also allow you to make choices such as whether you should hire a wedding planner or undertake the task yourself. With a good sense of your financial situation and a practical budget, you can approach your wedding planning in a sensible manner. This is also the time to discuss and understand each of your financial situations and suitably plan your future commitments as a couple.

6.Rushing with the wedding preparations

Most couples end up having time for little else, once they begin wedding planning. However, don’t forget that you are in a new chapter in your life. Savor the moment, for it will never return. This romantic phase in your life deserves to be celebrated, and it is also the time for you and your fiance to bond. The wedding preparations can wait. Once you are engaged, don’t rush into the next stage. Instead enjoy some time together and you will be all set to start planning your wedding with full gusto.

Have an engagement party or celebrate with an intimate affair. You can even have an engagement photo shoot. The additional advantage of this idea is that you can also use this as a selection process for your wedding photographer. However, as this post on the Huff Post mentions, the real reason to have an engagement photo shoot is to document this special time in your life. Make fond memories of your newly-engaged status, and it will be something to hold close to your heart forever.

7.Booking vendors without thinking it through

Most hasty decisions during wedding planning end in regret. You will have to book several vendors for your wedding. However, each of these decisions deserve thought and research. In your hurry, don’t hasten to book a vendor till you are absolutely sure you require this particular service. If you rethink your theme, you may find a better deal if you look further. When you hire the services of a wedding planner, it is likely that he or she will have their own recommended list of vendors. Or they may negotiate on your behalf and snag you a better bargain from the same vendor. So, give it enough thought when you make your decision and book vendors only if you are certain. Also, don’t forget to read the contract thoroughly. Ensure there are no chances of error if you go with a particular vendor choice.

8.Booking your wedding dress shopping appointment before you finalize anything else

It is a known fact that wedding dress shopping takes time. There is also the waiting time after placing your order, till when your dress is ready for delivery. Nonetheless, wedding dress shopping should be done after proper research. You should also wait till you fix the other details of your wedding. The venue, weather at the time of your wedding and wedding theme are important factors to consider when choosing a wedding gown. Unless you know these factors, it is best to wait before you book a wedding dress appointment.

We also suggest that you do sufficient research before you go wedding dress shopping. Or you may drown in the numerous options available, and end up confused and overwhelmed. Instead, create an inspiration board and collect pictures of dresses you love. Also identify the best silhouettes for your body shape. Finally, short list the dress features you love most and only then head off for your dress appointment.

9.Agreeing to all proposals without thinking it through

Once you announce your engagement, your friends or associates may approach you with offers for wedding-related services. This could be a relative or friend who runs a wedding-related business or someone who wishes to be in the bridal party. Don’t ever commit to anyone at this stage, as it can spell disaster in the long run.

It is never a good idea to mix relationships with business, unless you are sure you can speak your mind or are sure the person in question is a pure professional. Gratefully accept all proposals and tell your friends and associates that you will think over it. Never agree to anything without actually thinking it through. You can always say that you have to consult your fiance or consider whether the suggestion fits with the wedding theme you have in mind. Only agree to any proposal for help after you are sure it will work out. Also ensure that you will not strain your relationship with the person by this offer of help.

10.Skipping the all-important long discussion with your fiance

Ideally, you should discuss all your important life decisions prior to the engagement. Nonetheless, it is never too late to discuss your priorities and plans with your fiance, before you proceed with wedding planning. Couples should be clear about a number of factors that will affect their future, before they take the plunge. Finances, family relationships, career goals and even retirement plans are on the horizon and will affect your marriage to a great extent.

Make sure that you discuss each and all these factors. There may be compromises that either of you have to make. You may also have to get your priorities straight, so there is no misunderstanding later. Get it all out in the open, so you can start this new phase in your life in the right way.

11.Going crazy over Pinterest

Pinterest is a valuable tool when planning a wedding. So, you should dedicate a good amount of your time to it, when planning your wedding. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your engagement period. You can end up ogling pretty details and obsessing over what you ought to copy to your wedding. However, remember that this is all there only for inspiration. Get the idea, but head out and plan your own unique way to make your wedding remarkable.

Once you complete a wedding-related task, say buying your wedding dress, resist the temptation to revisit Pinterest for the same. It is likely you will find a new dress that appeals more. So, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Believe that you made the best decision possible and move on to the next task. This is the only way to prevent yourself from a  Pinterest-obsession and all the other wedding eye-candy on the internet.

Your engagement period is an exciting time. Nonetheless, it is also full of challenges of every sort. While you have to do most of the decision making yourself, we have the perfect solutions for your wedding day look. Visit us online or in-store, and our team will assist you in finding the perfect wedding dress for your special day.

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14 valuable tips to do it right when you plan your own wedding

Planning your wedding is hard work! You may plan to be your own wedding planner for budget reasons or because you believe you are up to the task. In either case, let me warn you that it is not as easy as it seems. There are numerous decisions to make, deadlines to meet and several lists to create. Nonetheless, it is do-able.

One thing you should remember is to stay focused, calm and optimistic always, once you make the decision to plan your wedding. As long as you are organized and not tensed about the whole thing, you will be able to tackle the potential challenges without difficulty.

To help you along, we have some useful tips. Keep them in mind and you will be able to plan the wedding of your dreams without much ado!

1.Recognize your strengths and weaknesses

Wedding planning involves a lot of work. You will have to pick and negotiate with vendors, schedule appointments and create financial plans for each aspect. Although you may be great at some of these tasks, it is likely there are areas you have no clue about. Before you start planning, try to get a clear picture of what you can and can’t manage yourself. Be realistic as there is a lot of work and limited time. Analyze the tasks that you have very little knowledge about. You may have to find someone to share responsibilities for these tasks. So, it is better to plan for it in advance, than attempt it yourself and end up with poor results.

2.Begin with a budget

All that wedding planning is going to cost money. Also, it is easy to get carried away or let some numbers slide when you handle finances yourself. To avoid this, set up a budget right in the beginning. Create an estimate of how much you can afford to spend. Make sure it is the maximum amount that you will spend, and that you cannot exceed it at any cost. This realization will help you find solutions that are affordable, when you plan your wedding details. Once you have a total amount in mind, split it among the different aspects of your wedding.

3.Hear what your fiance has to say

You must know at least one bride who feels she is the only one involved in planning her wedding! The funny thing is if you ask the broom, chances are he will say it is because the bride refused to let him in the plans. It is easy to end up shouldering all the responsibilities, and there is no going back once you are deep into it. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, sit down with your fiance before you start anything. Discuss your ideas and take note of his suggestions. It is his wedding too, so encourage him to participate. The more open you accept his suggestions, the more inclined he will be to involve himself in the plans.

4.Create a system to get your wedding plans organized

Some of us prefer the book and paper route, while others are better off with technology. Choose what works for you. You need a system to jot down notes, write down expenditures, note down deadlines and save contacts. The simplest working solution is to set up a folder with a calculator, notebook and diary. Use the diary to mark your planning timeline and detail tasks. You can use the notebook to write all other information. Also note down calculations and all relevant details in it. Use this system frequently and make sure you save everything, and you won’t lose track of the progress you make.

Before you dive into wedding planning, separate the notebook into sections for each wedding planning aspect. This will allow you segregate relevant information about each aspect in the right place. We also recommend dedicating a folder on your desktop for this. Most communication that is shared online can be saved into this location for future reference.

5.Make a master-list and many sub-lists for each category

If you are good with lists, wedding planning will be a lot easier. Start with a master checklist, which you can find online. This will provide an overview of all the tasks you have to do for your wedding. However, each wedding is different, and you may have to edit your list to fit your ideas. Once you have your final master-list, create sub-lists of tasks for each aspect. Note it down and it is unlikely you will forget or overlook any  task. You can even create this list using an online tool. This will enable you to access it anywhere, and check or cross out tasks on-the-go.

6.Make the most of free wedding planning tools

There are several tools that make planning easier. From creating checklists for the wedding timeline and entering your expenses and budget, to sharing pictures with the rest of your team, these technical applications streamline the entire wedding planning process. This makes it easier to tackle. When you set up such an app on your mobile, it allows you to indulge in planning your wedding from anywhere. Some examples include the Knot wedding planner app, Capsule for photo sharing and the Knot lookbook app for wedding outfit planning. You could even update your plans with a simple weather and calendar app from Yahoo to avoid any last minute unexpected changes to plan. For more details on the apps and websites that can be your best friend while making wedding plans, take a look at this post on the Knot website. 

A quick word of advice: If you decide to use any of these apps, make sure you start ASAP! This will help you narrow down your choices to ones that are easy to use. Get used to the method right from the start and the entire process will be way easier.

7.Be prepared for challenges

If you have been involved in project planning at some level, pulling off a wedding will be easier. This is because there are numerous things to stay on top of, all at the same time. Things can and do go wrong! So, prepare yourself to tackle the situation with a cool head and also have a Plan B for every scenario. This will help you have an alternate solution at short notice, whenever required. The best way to handle all challenges is to be prepared for worst outcomes. Apart from making a comprehensive checklist for every single thing to do at your wedding, also consider likely glitches. Then have a solution in mind, in case things go downhill.

8.Take time to think before making decisions

When you are on your own, you will have to depend on reviews and word of mouth to choose vendors, make décor decisions and more. So, do not make any decision in haste. List out your options and properly research before you commit to a contract. Make sure you take time to analyze every aspect and are fully sure of every choice, before you confirm. Where necessary, obtain references and definitely contact them. The most reliable choices are usually recommendations from friends and family, who have done it before you. So, try this path first. From picking the wedding date to choosing the cake design and florist, make sure you won’t have to rethink your decision.

9.Segregate your research 

Organize everything neatly and in its right place to make things much easier. Whether you use organization tools like Pinterest or sort things into folders on your desktop, do it in a systematic way. Create multiple folders or boards for each type of information, rather than just amassing it all in one place. This will allow you locate exactly what you want in no time. You can also share information easily when it is organized well, and save a lot of time.

10.Think well before you ask your friends and family for help

Many of your friends and family may seem eager to help with your wedding plans. However, be cautious of who you entrust with what. You need people who will stay objective and follow your instructions to complete tasks. When it is family and friends, remember that you should also maintain your personal relationship with them. This can come in the way of expressing dissatisfaction when you aren’t happy with how they handle things. Also, unless you entrust the job to the right people, there are chances that they will make decisions without consulting you. This may not always be in your best interest.

11.Get things done ahead of time

Don’t set your deadlines too close. It is always safe to have some buffer time for everything, in case there are delays or hassles along the way. When you discuss timelines with vendors, ask them to deliver ahead of the actual time. This will ensure everything is in place on time. Follow a wedding planning checklist to get a clear idea of what is to be completed and when! Stick to it and you should be fine. If you will be doing things like the centerpieces or favors yourself, get them ready as early as is possible. The last thing you want is to spend your wedding eve completing these tasks, because you didn’t get around to it earlier.

12.Get your priorities straight

Wedding planning involves numerous decisions, that you can end up procrastinating and reaching nowhere. Try to stay focused by giving more importance to certain tasks over others. Have a clear idea of how you want your wedding to be, and don’t change it along the way. Set priorities for the tasks you should complete, and handle them in that order. Do the important ones with gusto. Leave the others for when you have time. Also, wisely limit the finer details to what is practical and can be achieved within the given time span.

13.Run your plan by someone who has already been there

Always get a second opinion if you are unsure. You should have someone who can recognize if you’ve missed anything. This is possible when this associate has been in your position before you. Throughout your wedding planning, consult with your fiance and preferably another bride or couple who have planned their own wedding. They can advise you on anything you may miss or overlook. Similarly, make sure you run your list by the person who will be in-charge of your duties on your wedding day, so you are both on the same page. Read ahead to find out more about who that person ought to be.

14.Find someone to take responsibility on your wedding day

Although you can fully involve yourself in wedding planning till the day of your wedding, you have other things to do on this day. You shouldn’t be the one who follows up with vendors or checks if everything is progressing on schedule. Instead, you should enjoy yourself as the bride. So, you simply must find someone to shoulder all the responsibilities on your wedding day. This could be a trustworthy friend or relative. Nonetheless, the person you choose should be reliable, punctual and have the capacity to take charge of everything wedding-related. It wouldn’t hurt if this person is a tad bossy, if necessary.  This trait will ensure that he/she won’t hesitate to get people on track when necessary. If there isn’t someone you know who can take over all this, consider hiring a professional for just the day.

Planning a wedding is a Herculean task, more so when you do most of it yourself. However, a wedding that is done well, is a blissful and satisfying experience. So, involve yourself in all the planning if you must! But don’t stress yourself out so much that you forget to enjoy it. For more wedding planning tips, fashion advice and all things wedding-related, keep visiting this space on Best for Bride.

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The definitive step-by-step guide to preparing for your wedding dress shopping

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting wedding planning tasks for a bride. We like to think of it as a wonderful and unique journey where brides explore diverse options and finally find a magical dress that transforms them into the beautiful brides they always wanted to be.

However, the path to finding this one and the only perfect wedding dress is not simple. It is fraught with challenges and the options are endless. So, it is essential to plan for the task and avoid drowning in the endless variety of dresses presented to you.

This is where we will help you!

This step-by-step guide will prepare you for your impending wedding dress shopping and the task will not overwhelm you.

Over the next chapters, we will tell you what to expect at each stage leading to wedding dress shopping. We will also tell you how to navigate potential issues so you can enjoy the shopping experience, just like you deserve to.

Let us begin!

Step 1: Factors to consider when shopping for your wedding dress

Are you unsure of how to begin planning for wedding dress shopping?

Don’t worry, for we know exactly what will help you set your shopping criteria. These are practical factors or constraints, that directly affect your dress decision. Start by considering these factors and you will be able to narrow down your search. So, here they are!

Venue and theme 

Have you decided on a wedding theme yet? Your chosen theme will determine your venue choice and directly impact your wedding dress selection. We’ll tell you how.

Imagine you have your heart set on a beach wedding in summer. Would it be practical to wear a heavy satin gown with an elaborate train to this venue?

No!

Such a wedding dress will look inappropriate and it will also be uncomfortable.

Instead, you will have to limit your choices to dresses made from light fabrics in simple silhouettes that are comfortable for the venue and weather. Such dress choices will also tie your look to the theme of your wedding.

Budget

Wedding dresses are expensive. Nevertheless, there are options for every budget.

If budget is a constraint, you will have to stick to affordable choices. So, this is another factor to plan before you go shopping. The latest designer wedding dresses will be super-costly, while ones from previous seasons are usually cheaper in comparison. Keep this in mind when you go shopping.

Body shape and personal preferences

It does not matter how expensive or amazing a wedding dress is. It will not look good on you unless the silhouette flatters your body shape.

So, you should look for dress styles that flatter your assets and distract from less attractive parts.

If you are either plus-size or petite, you may have to tailor your wedding dress search to suit your specific requirements. Not all bridal salons stock dresses suitable for plus-sized or petite brides. So, call ahead to check whether options are available and you won’t waste time at places that don’t stock collections in your size.

It is also important to choose a style that feels comfortable since you will be spending several hours in your wedding dress. Steer clear of dresses that make you feel conscious, restrict movement, or are too bulky to handle.

So, you are now aware of the different factors to consider before you step into a wedding shop.

Next, let us look at another key step of preparing for your wedding dress shopping—choosing the right time to shop.

Step 2: Choose the right time to go shopping 

Is there such a thing as the right timing when shopping for your wedding dress?

Yes! And this is very important when making your shopping plans. We’ll tell you why.

When you place your order with a bridal salon, they pass your details to the designer. The designer then starts creating your wedding dress from scratch. Since wedding dresses are elaborate garments, the entire creation process takes months.

Once the dress is ready, it will be sent to the bridal store. However, it is not yet time to take the dress home.

You now need dress alterations to make it fit perfectly. This can take another month or so.

So, the entire process from when you place your order to taking the fitted gown home can take anywhere between six and nine months. So, this is how early you should finish your wedding dress shopping once you fix your wedding date.

If you shop too late, you jeopardize your chances of getting the gown you love. Although some designers undertake rush orders, they charge extra for it. And imagine the disappointment if the gown you love cannot be created at short notice and you must settle for something else.

Shopping too early isn’t wise either. New collections come out every six months. So, if you shop too early, you may miss looking at the latest trends.

Play it safe and plan your wedding dress shopping six to nine months before the wedding. This should leave you enough time to sort out everything and take your dress home in the weeks leading up to your wedding.

Step 3: Plan the wedding dress budget 

Your wedding dress is one of the costliest items in your wedding budget. Be clear about what you can afford to spend on it before you go shopping and you can avoid upsetting the rest of your wedding plans.

To come up with a realistic wedding dress budget, you should first understand wedding dress pricing and associated charges. Let us look at what they are in the following section.

Understand wedding dress costs

Most brides spend between $400 and $1700 on their wedding dress.  However, there are dresses that are more expensive or cheaper.

In any case, you should have realized that wedding dresses cost more than regular dresses. Wondering why this is so? Here are the obvious reasons.

  • Wedding dresses use expensive fabric. Most silhouettes also have several layers of fabric. This larger quantity of high-quality fabric contributes to the price.
  • Wedding dresses involve intricate details like embroidery, lace appliques, and beading. Most of these details are done by hand. The labor and time involved in creating such stunning gowns add to the price.
  • Wedding dress construction is different from that of regular dresses. Internal boning is used in many designs and the structure has several layers of fabric. This involves more effort and hence a higher cost.
  • Finally, wedding dresses by famous designers are more expensive due to the designer tag accompanying it.

These factors justify the higher costs of wedding dresses. More details on why wedding dresses are so expensive are available here, on the Southern living blog page.

One important thing that you should know when buying a wedding dress is that your expenses aren’t limited to just the cost. There are some unavoidable additional charges that you will incur, and here they are.

Unavoidable additional costs—accessories and alterations 

Apart from the price of the wedding dress, expect to spend some money on the following.

Alterations and fittings: When you order a dress, you pick a size that is closest to your actual measurements. This means that once your dress arrives you will need custom alterations to have the dress fit to your exact measurements. These alterations are additional expenses. The actual cost will depend on the extent of the changes needed. More information on wedding dress alterations are available in the following video.

Accessories: Your bridal look is incomplete without the right accessories. This includes your wedding jewelry, shoes, veil, head-piece, and undergarments. You will have to set aside a part of your wedding dress budget for this purchase as well.

Here is a video that outlines how to accessorize your wedding dress.

For more tips on choosing your wedding day jewelry, take a look at this video we created for the purpose.

Dry cleaning and preservation: Whether you decide to keep your gown after your wedding or sell it off, you must have it professionally cleaned after your wedding. Otherwise, the quality of your gown will deteriorate over time and it won’t be suitable to hand down or sell. So, factor in this cost as well.

Now you should have a better idea of how to calculate your wedding dress budget and all the factors to consider.

What if you are on a tight budget?

Although wedding dresses are expensive, there are still ways to save money on your wedding gown. Read on to find what your options are.

When your wedding dress budget is small 

How nice would it be if you could shop without limitations for the wedding dress of your dreams!

Unfortunately, this is impossible!

When the price is a constraint, there are some ways to maximize your wedding dress budget and find a fabulous dress for a bargain price.

  • Limit your dress selection to dresses that fall within budget. Resist the temptation to try on dresses that you cannot afford to avoid disappointment.
  • Remember that the more details a dress has, the costlier it will be. Choose from simple styles for better prices and dress it up with statement accessories to complete the effect. Low-cost accessories like beaded belts, vintage veils, sparkling jewelry, and shrugs can enhance your overall bridal look.
  • Look out for sales at bridal boutiques, where you can find great deals on wedding dresses. During sample sales, boutiques sell their stock at discounted prices to make space for new collections. You can score fabulous gowns at bargain prices at such sales.
  • Mix and match bridal separates to create your unique look at an affordable price. This not only lets you stay within budget but is a modern and smart approach to wedding dress shopping.

The wedding dress budget is a critical factor concerning wedding dress shopping. Once you figure it out, it is time for the next step which is researching your options.

Step 4: Do your research 

A little planning goes a long way, and we want to make sure you are well-equipped with all the information you need to make the right choice. So, we will tell you all the different things you should analyze, understand, and note down before you set foot in a bridal store.

Understand essential wedding shopping lingo 

When you attend your wedding shopping appointment, you will hear terms like mermaid, fit and flare, empire, butterfly sleeves, illusion necklines, organza, tulle and more. Do you know what these terms mean?

If not, spend some time trying to understand wedding dress lingo, so you aren’t lost and confused at your wedding shopping appointment. Here is an easy glossary of wedding dress jargon for the uninitiated.

Wedding dress necklines:

Apart from the silhouette, the neckline is another distinctive feature of any wedding dress. Apart from the square, round, and V-necklines, here are the other types of necklines seen on wedding dresses.

Strapless: Bodice cuts straight across the bust and there are no supporting straps or sleeves

Sweetheart: Strapless style where the top part of the bodice resembles a heart.

Bateau: Designed in the shape of a boat and reveals collarbones, as it extends from one shoulder to the other

Illusion: Sheer or see-through neckline over the underlying bodice. Often embellished with lace or bead accents.

Single shoulder: Features a single shoulder strap and reveals another shoulder

Queen Anne: Neckline rises at the back of the neck and it has a V-neckline or scoop in the front

Halter: Straps wrap around the neck revealing a low-cut back and deep armhole

High neck: Neckline sits above the collar bones

Off-the-shoulder: Sleeves fall off shoulders to reveal décolletage and collar bones

Spaghetti straps: Thin straps support the bodice on either side

Silhouettes

Here are the most common wedding dress silhouettes.

Ballgown: Structured bodice and ample skirt with layers of fabric that fall to full length.

A-line: Fitted on top and flares away from the body at the waistline, resembling the shape of an A.

Sheath: Column-style dress that outlines the natural curves

Trumpet: Fits snugly along the bodice all the way down to the hips, from where it flares out into a full skirt. Also known as the trumpet

Mermaid: Silhouette structure similar to the trumpet, but skirt begins below the knee creating a more dramatic effect

Sleeves

The terms full sleeves, half sleeves, and three-fourth length sleeves are self-explanatory. Apart from these, there are other types of sleeve styles as follows.

Cap sleeves: Barely cover the shoulders and top of the arms, revealing the armhole

Bell: Fitted sleeves that taper into a bell-shape as it reaches the wrists

Juliet: Fitted at the wrist and puffed in the area between the shoulders and wrist

Waistlines

Basque: V-shaped defined waistline

Empire: High waist that begins just below the bust and continues into a full skirt

Dropped Waist: Bodice extends to beyond the actual waistline

Wedding dress trains

The length of fabric that extends beyond the wedding dress contributes to the overall impact and adds to the attractiveness of a dress. Based on length, the following types of trains exist.

Sweep: Short train that just brushes the floor as you walk

Court: This train extends to a foot beyond the hemline

Chapel: Longer than the court train and usually measures three to four feet long from the natural waistline

Cathedral: Dramatic train that measures over six feet from the waistline

Royal: The long train that flows to twelve feet or more length.

Wedding dress fabrics

Fabrics like chiffon and crepe are lightweight and soft. Satin and silk are also soft but have a distinguishing sheen. Taffeta is heavy with a lustrous sheen. Organza and tulle are stiff fabrics used in structured gowns. A variety of lace also appears on wedding dresses. Find out how to identify each type of wedding dress lace in our article here.

Although we have covered most of the terms you will come across when you go shopping for your wedding dress, this list isn’t exhaustive. If you would like to learn more about these terms and in greater detail, here is an article on the Brides website to help you.

Now let us move on to the next important part of your research—identifying your body type and suitable wedding dress silhouettes.

Identify your body type and shortlist best dress silhouettes

We already mentioned that not all gowns look good on all body. To improve your chances of finding a dress that is right for you, you should first identify your body type.

There are four body types: Triangle or Pear, Inverted Triangle or Apple, Hourglass, and straight or Rectangle. Each body type has its own characteristic features.

Triangle or Pear: Small bust but wide hips and waistline that lacks definition.

Inverted Triangle or Apple: Broad shoulders and a slighter lower half.

Hourglass: Well-balanced upper and lower halves and defined waistline.

Straight or rectangle: Similar proportions in the upper and lower halves and waistline not well-defined.

The right wedding dress will flatter the positive aspects and hide the less attractive traits of your body. So, find your body type and later use this information to choose the right dress silhouette for it.

This post on Who What Wear will help you use your different measurements and correctly identify your body type.  Check it out!

Here are some practical silhouette suggestions for each body type.

Triangle or Pear: Hide the larger proportions of your hips and waistline with A-line gowns and ball gowns that flare out at the waist. Avoid the trumpet and sheath, since these styles accentuate the hip and stomach area.

Inverted Triangle or Apple: A-line dresses and ball gowns with thick skirts that nip at the waistline are suitable for this body type. We do not recommend the trumpet and for this body type.

Hourglass: If you have an hourglass figure, you can carry almost any wedding dress silhouette with ease. Aim to show off your curvy figure and slender waistline with dresses that closely follow your natural curves.

Straight or rectangle: Increase your feminine appeal with ball gowns and sheaths that create the illusion of curves. Avoid fitted styles like the mermaid and dropped waist dresses that enhance the straight contours of your body.

Find the right place to buy your wedding dress 

Remember what I told you in the beginning about factors that affect your wedding dress selection?

Based on your personal preferences, specific needs, and budget constraints, decide where to shop. The following are the options available to you.

Bridal salons: The traditional place to buy a wedding dress, you can enjoy a one-on-one session with a dedicated consultant who will take you through your choices during your appointment slot. Bridal salons have a variety of designer collections, and you can try dresses based on the ideas you communicate with your consultant.

Trunk sales: The perfect option if you want dresses only from a particular designer. New collections are introduced to such customers at highly reduced prices, so you can choose a dress at a lower price than you have to pay otherwise.

Sample Sales: This is when bridal salons sell off old stock to make space for new collections. The dresses, in this case, are either floor samples or those in the store inventory. So, there will be limited sizes and you may have to clean the gown before using it on your wedding day.

Consignment shops: This is the perfect place to find designer dresses at a discount. Good consignment stores will have dresses that are good-as-new, available at a fraction of the cost of a similar original gown.

Online: Consider this option if you have no way to shop at a real store. Online wedding dress shopping is risky and many brides have terrible experiences when choosing this route. This post sheds some light on why online wedding dress shopping isn’t a wise idea.

Compile all information and shortlist your options 

A quick question—What do you think was the idea behind all this wedding dress research?

It was to collect all relevant information and use it to narrow down choices to the right selection criteria.

As you do your research and understand about wedding dresses, collect and compile information on dress styles and features that appeal to you. Start a Pinterest board and start collecting pictures of dresses you like.

Don’t worry if you seem to fall in love with all the dresses you come across when you first begin. To narrow down your options, ask yourself the following questions

  • What features of this dress are suitable for my wedding theme?
  • What makes it suitable for the weather at the time of my wedding?
  • Why is this dress a comfortable choice for my wedding?
  • What is the stand-out feature of this dress that is most appealing?
  • Will this dress flatter my natural figure and best features?

Soon enough, you will see a pattern emerge and this will help you identify what dress features appeal most to you. This information will be of valuable help when you go shopping.

Step 5: Get ready for your shopping session 

By this stage, you have all the information you need and are ready to go shopping. So, here is what is left to do.

Choose your entourage

Your wedding dress is the most important dress you will ever choose, and you must make this decision wisely. So, invite two or three of your closest family members or friends to help you. The reason we tell you to limit the size of your party is that too many people will do more damage than good. Take along only those whose opinions really matter to you, and who can actually contribute to your decision

Book your appointment

Find a convenient time and date for your shopping appointment at the boutique you choose. Preferably have your appointment on a weekday when the salon will be less crowded.

Get everything you need for your appointment ready

Make sure that you are prepared for dress shopping by carrying all that you need for the day with you. Wear clothes that are easy to change out of. If you will be wearing heels on your wedding day, carry a pair to your shopping appointment. For more tips, visit this post. 

Understand what to expect at your bridal appointment

Every bridal dress shopping appointment is different. The better prepared you are for what to expect, the more likely you are to have a productive and pleasant shopping experience. We suggest that you read the information here, to obtain a fair idea and prepare well for your shopping trip.

Set your expectations correctly

It is easier to find the perfect gown when you are flexible and open-minded. You will have experienced bridal consultants directing you, so listen to them. Try on their suggestions even if it isn’t something you would pick. You may be lucky and find your dream wedding dress this way. Trust me, this happens all the time!

Remember that you may not always find your wedding dress on your first trip to the store. This is perfectly normal. Be patient and flexible and you are sure to find the perfect dress that completes your bridal vision with perfection.

As you prepare for your wedding dress shopping, don’t forget to visit our bridal gallery at Best for Bride for inspiration. Find an immense variety of jaw-dropping designer collections in every price range and with every feature you may seek in our collection. Shortlist your favorites and get ready to go shopping. With expert consultants, excellent infrastructure facilities and all associated services under one roof, Best for Bride is the best destination for you to find your wedding gown, whenever you are ready.