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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 only perfect 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 of 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. 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 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 alterations to make the dress 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 adds 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 the 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 is 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 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 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. At 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 underlying bodice. Often embellished with lace or bead accents.

Single shoulder: Features a single shoulder strap and reveals other 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.

Ball gown: 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 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 arm hole

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 length from the natural waistline

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

Royal: 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 of 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 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 to 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 on 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 because 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.

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Biggest mistakes to avoid when planning a wedding

Wedding planning involves so many details that it can be compared to a big, complex project formed of many smaller ones. Once you begin planning your wedding, you will have to make several decisions and choices. These include plans for a sensible budget, meeting deadlines and getting everything done right. So, it is no surprise that your chances for mistakes along the way are high. While some of these can be rectified quickly, others may cost you dearly in terms of time and money.

Unless you have planned a wedding before, it isn’t going to be easy. However, forewarned is forearmed! Here is a compilation of the biggest mistakes we have seen brides make when planning their wedding. Keep them in mind and you can avoid similar issues.

Not setting the budget first

Never overlook the importance of planning your wedding budget first. Wedding expenses can quickly eat into your bank balance. Unless you have a allocated a fixed amount to each aspect, you can quickly go overboard with your expenses. With a little planning, you can choose the venue, catering and wedding dress so that it stays within budget. Since you have more options in these areas, you have the flexibility of choosing them based on your available funds.

However, smaller aspects can quickly add up to a big amount. This article on The Bridal Guide will help you understand what these costs are. Unfortunately, you cannot be too thrifty with these. Plan the budget before you do anything else, and you will have better control over your wedding decisions. You can allocate funds to the bigger expenses after setting aside the amount for the inevitable smaller expenses.

Not hiring a planner till it is too late

Some brides can stand the stress of wedding planning. While these brides can efficiently handle wedding planning tasks, it isn’t as easy for others. We believe the majority of brides quickly buckle under the pressure and lose sleep over wedding planning. It is sad that the rest of their engagement is usually ruined by all the planning. And in the end, it is likely that these brides end up dissatisfied with the overall experience.

If you belong to the latter group, realize it early and seek the services of a planner. If you are already pressed for time, have a demanding job or simply can’t take the stress of wedding planning, don’t wait till it is too late. Wedding planners are experts at negotiating deals with venue managers and vendors. So, don’t wait till you book the venue or hire vendors to hire your planner.

Becoming overwhelmed with inspiration

The internet is a maze of wedding planning inspiration. There are so many wonderful ideas on the wedding scene that it can become a problem when you have to choose. Pinterest-addicts are usually the first to become overwhelmed and confused with this information overload. Don’t be surprised if you lose sense of time or get side-tracked when searching for ideas.

Instead, understand what will work for your wedding and what you can afford to have. Use ideas you see online as inspiration and incorporate only those that actually make sense. Stop once you find what you were looking for and get on with other tasks.

Not prioritizing the guest experience

Your wedding is not just about the two of you. Remember that many of guests take great pains to come and participate in your big celebration. Appreciate their efforts and make plans to engage them and feel comfortable.

The guest experience is greatly affected by the number of people there. Nobody really enjoys a crowded affair. So, think twice about incorporating everyone you know into the guest list. YOu shouldn’t regret having a mediocre party when you could plan one much better. So, include those who really need to be there at your wedding, and plan a wonderful event that all can enjoy.

Going shopping before you know what you want

Wedding shopping for your dress, favors or even accessories shouldn’t be undertaken without prior research. You may be tempted to just do a trial run. However, there is a good chance of your liking something at that time. You may feel it is right and go ahead with the purchase.

Sadly, such impulse buys may turn out to be a decision you later regret. First plan the important aspects of the wedding like the venue, wedding style and time. Then research your options in each area for what would be appropriate. Look for sensible choices that are suitable for your wedding. Only then should you proceed with wedding shopping.

Sharing insufficient or too much information

It is best to keep your wedding planning details under wraps at least till it is finalized. This will help to avoid confusion if you change your ideas along the way. Reveal only what is necessary. Nevertheless, do not skimp on supplying necessary information to your guests. They will appreciate any additional help you can provide on certain aspects, like how to find their way to the venue.

If there are out-of-town guests, you can share information regarding hotels near the venue. Also don’t forget to provide any other relevant information that will make their trip easier to plan. Do the same with vendors. Share as much information as is necessary to let them do their job well.

Pondering too long over a plan

While it is necessary to take your time to make important decisions, don’t delay your choices for too long. Everything is time-bound and most wedding planning decisions involve related tasks. This is why we suggest you set up a wedding planning timeline right at the beginning. Make your wedding plans as per this timeline, and you will know if you fall behind.

When choosing vendors, make your decisions quickly and efficiently. Good vendors tend to get booked quickly during wedding seasons. If you delay your decision, the vendor you like may get booked by another couple. You may then end up having to look for another service provider.

Worrying too much about the little details

There are many big and small decisions to make in a wedding. Although every one of them is important, you should prioritize each depending on their significance in the wedding. Remember that it is nearly impossible to get every single big and small detail perfect. Be open to accepting small imperfections and compromise where necessary. This will make your life a lot easier and reduce your wedding planning stress.

Spend more time on the more important factors and dedicate time and resources to making these perfect. Don’t obsess over the finer details of the smaller elements. Go with what you think is the best possible option and it will all fall into place.

Not paying enough attention to your vendor contracts

We don’t not even want to mention how risky it is to book a vendor without first signing a contract. Now, when there is a contract, it is important you understand everything on it. If there are gray areas, make sure you clarify your doubts before signing it. Read every single contract from end to end. Check whether it comprehensively covers every relevant aspect.

There should be clauses and Plan B suggestions in case of last minute cancellations or emergencies. Include details on all additional charges in the plan. Also add whatever you think hasn’t been explicitly mentioned. This will help to eliminate cause conflicts later.

Trying to appease everyone

The very word “wedding” is enough to have people flocking to you with ideas, suggestions and offers to help. Deal with this situation cautiously. Family and friends may have good intentions, but don’t let anyone take over your wedding. You shouldn’t have to bow to a choice or move with plans you aren’t convinced about, because someone said so.

Remember that this is your wedding day and you should have the last say. Although you can welcome suggestions and opinions, let everyone know that the final decision will be yours. You do not have to do everything as per tradition, unless you are agreeable to it. On your special day, you should be able to enjoy and not regret it later. Stay away from trying to satisfy everyone. This is simply impossible.

Not letting the small mistakes go

As long as you do not have enough experience at wedding planning, mistakes are bound to happen. You cannot plan everything to the last detail and expect everyone to stick to plan. There may be issues with vendors, guests who cancel at the last minute and bridesmaids who show their true colors. Set yourself up to deal with such disappointments and don’t be too harsh on yourself.

On your wedding day, simply focus on the great things that happen. Don’t mull over mistakes or spoil your mood wishing things happened differently. Enjoy the moment as it will never return. Stress on the things that went wrong and you will be making a big mistake missing out on your actual wedding experience.

Expecting the worst

Things may and do go wrong at weddings. While you can try to avoid them as much as is possible, there is no guarantee everything will progress as per plan. However, this doesn’t mean you should only expect the worst. Research and plan your decisions carefully. This alone will reduce the likelihood of errors. Leave the rest to happen as it will.

Simply worrying about what may or may not go wrong will not help in any way. All that it does is add to your stress and spoil the fun of your engagement. Be optimistic and handle issues with confidence. Believe in your abilities to find a solution to any problem, and you will come up with the best possible solution.

Making plans without thinking it through

Dreaming up a wedding is fun, but doing it right can be tough. Before you set your mind on something different and unique, think it through. Consider the funds you have, the practicality of the situation and all the other aspects that will determine the success of your plan.

If you have a destination wedding in mind, make sure you check the legal aspects before you go ahead with plans. Similarly, when picking your wedding dress, try to first understand what would be practical in your venue. Also set your budget before you go shopping.

You assume your vendors understand you perfectly

Whether it is your makeup and hair artist, or your caterer, give clear-cut descriptions for what you want. Don’t just assume that they have understood or you may be in for a nasty surprise later. Whenever possible, share pictures that depict exactly what you have in mind. Ask them to repeat or illustrate what you shared with them.

If there is any confusion, it is best to get it out of the way as early as possible. While it isn’t a good idea to micromanage your vendors, don’t leave everything to them entirely. Keep tabs on their progress and inspect at the right time to find out if things proceed as per your expectations. Find all you must know about your vendor contracts on this article at the Martha Stewart Website.

Planning a wedding is a momentous task. It is not easy whether you have a year to plan or just few weeks. Unless you hire a wedding planner to handle the lion’s share of tasks, you will have to dedicate considerable time and effort to doing it right. Approach the task in a systematic and organized fashion, and it will be easier to carry out.

While you busy yourself with wedding planning, don’t forget to research and choose the right dress for the occasion. Take a close look at our inventory of wedding dress collections and you should be able to find dresses that meet your expectations. For more details, visit our bridal dress gallery at Best for Bride.

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Common wedding budget mistakes most couples make

The wedding budget is the single entity that determines everything about your wedding. Everything from your beautiful wedding gown to the florist, caterers and even wedding favors depends on the funds you put aside for your wedding plans, and how you distribute it among different components.

When stepping into the new chapter of your life as a newly wed couple, you certainly do not want it to be with debt that you will struggle to settle. Unfortunately, many couples have a grand wedding and later struggle with their finances. Then there are also occasions when couples find themselves spending much more than they anticipated on their wedding. This is because of lack of proper planning. Plan the wedding budget sensibly, and you can avoid this situation.

Let us take a close look at the common wedding budget mistakes many couples make and how you can avoid them.

budget

1.Not fixing your priorities

Every couple wants a fantastic wedding. Nevertheless, you have to make at least few compromises, if you are on a budget. Nonetheless you can plan the best possible options for your budget by fixing your priorities. First, settle on a realistic wedding budget. For this, you may have to do some research on the average cost for each wedding planning aspect instead of just picking a number at random. Next, list the order of preference for each of them. This way, you can allocate more funds to those on the top of your list and be thrifty about the ones at the bottom.

2.Not figuring in the smaller, but essential items

A real bride reveals in this article, that one of the biggest mistakes she made at her wedding was overlooking the small items that were still essential to the overall wedding picture. She isn’t alone, as many brides who do most of the planning themselves forget to factor in certain items. It isn’t easy when they later have to find the funds to meet these expenses. Even the smallest dollar purchases will quickly add up. So, you shouldn’t overlook any factor when calculating your budget. Checklists are a big help in this situation. Make comprehensive checklists for every single item you can think of, for your wedding. Cross-check with ready to use checklists online and also have someone else take a look at them, just in case you may have missed something. Factoring in every likely expense will help you avoid going over-budget.

3.Not figuring in the extras for bigger purchases

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For many items like your wedding gown, the price on the label isn’t the final figure you will pay for. There are extras for alterations, accessories, inner-wear and sometimes delivery charges. When you allocate a budget for such an item, make sure you account for these extras as well. Obtain a general idea of how much the extras will cost. Plan the actual budget for the main item after deducting these charges, and you will not end up spending more than you actually intended to.

4.Last minute shopping and bookings

The closer you book venues and vendors to the date of your wedding, the higher the cost you will incur. Start your planning early, and you will have plenty of time to scout around for the best deals. You will also have time to research and weigh options, and find the most budget-friendly ones. Booking early will also allow you to get the best vendors and deals for your wedding. Where wedding dresses are concerned, rush charges are significantly higher and you will again have to pay extra for alterations at short notice. Once you know your wedding day, don’t delay wedding dress shopping. Make sure you shop for your dress at least six months in advance. Similarly book your venue, band, caterers, photographers, florist and other vendors as soon as you finalize the wedding theme and decide on what you want.

5.Trying to save with DIY but ending up with more than you can handle

One thing many brides tend to overlook is the scale of the wedding. Although they may be capable of handling DIY details or have friends and relatives who are good bakers, florists or venue decorators, they may not have the resources or abilities to handle the task on large scale. When a DIY disaster occurs at the last possible moment, the only option is to get the available alternative, usually at a very high price. Avoid this costly mistake by being realistic about what you can actually handle. Also exercise caution when entrusting a wedding task to someone you know. Make sure that they are capable of handling it before handing it to them.

6.Not paying proper attention to vendor contracts

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Never ever assume anything on a contract, but clarify every single doubt. Also, make sure that you dedicate enough time to reading every detail on your contracts, and avoid overlooking anything essential. Different vendors offer different services in their package. So, although one vendor may offer delivery and setting up of your cake, another may not for the same price. Similar extras are wine corkage charges, cake serving charges, taking down of décor and clearing tables. The same applies to your photographer and band too. It is always best to clarify all these little details before you sign the contract and book the vendor. Make sure you know how many hours or what all services are included in the package, so you don’t end up paying extra to get the service you want, at the last minute. Here is a list of the common hidden costs that you may want to consider seriously. 

7.Picking vendors and services without comparing rates

Unless you are absolutely particular that you must have a certain vendor for your wedding, you should check around for the best deals for your budget. Compare deals, packages and service quality to find the right deals that give you what you want. Although you shouldn’t compromise on quality for price, save the greater chunk of your budget for your priorities and adjust with what will fit the bill for the rest. If you come across a deal that seems too good to be true, make sure you consider the pros and cons before making your final decision. Don’t be too hasty to fix a deal. Negotiate the prices, look for discount options or referrals, and you can make your budget work further for your needs.

8.Giving into pressure

Many couples end up spending more than they should, just because people advice them that they need something that they really do not. This can be a budget-buster. So, rather than giving into pressure, do your research and know what you want and whether it is needed to realize your wedding vision. There are few “must-have’s” in a wedding, and these should be what are actually important to you. Unless the people who push you into inviting more guests, putting up a photo booth or splurging on expensive wedding favors are actually contributing to the cost for it, you do not have to oblige.

9.Buying more than you actually need

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It is always safer to have a little extra than you actually accounted for, but don’t take it to the extreme. Although a few extra invitations and wedding favors may be a good idea, you do not need extra hundreds of them, just in case. Think of every aspect thoroughly, so you do not make a mistake when calculating numbers. For invitations, think of how many families will be attending, rather than the total number of people. You do not need separate invitations for members of the same family. So, think of such relevant details and you can save yourself quite some money on these unnecessary expenses.

10.Last-minute changes to plan

If there is one thing that every couple should do, it is have a clear idea of what they want before they set out to do it. Vendors may suggest changes, friends may encourage you to take things a little further, but only you know what you want and what you can afford. Avoid falling for temptation and making last-minute changes that will cost you dearly. You can be flexible and make small variations down the line, but don’t go for a major overhaul as the unexpected expenses in such cases will quickly add up and turn out to be disastrous.

11.A guest list that gets out of hand

Your wedding expenses are directly linked to the number of people who will attend. So, have a good grip on your guest list, and you shouldn’t go over-budget. One of your first wedding planning decisions should be the number of people you can afford to have. Not only should you factor in your wedding priorities when distributing your funds, you should also consider whether this type of wedding will be meaningful to you. Once you arrive at a decision, stick to it. You don’t have to be extra-generous to satisfy your friends or family, nor do you have to feel guilty about having the wedding you can afford. Some decisions are tough, but you have to put your foot down where it is necessary for your own good. This is one such situation.

12.Not exploring your options

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There are many ideas that will take your budget further. It is unfortunate that very few couples explore such options. Simple ideas like serving three-fourth portions instead of full cake slices, or having a selection of local wines instead of an open bar will make a small difference in the overall impact of the wedding. However, it will help your savings even while you can achieve similar results. You can also look to your vendors for creative but thrifty solutions to your various needs. As professionals who have worked at many weddings before, they should have plenty of ideas. Wedding planners are usually experts who can come up with creative and budget-friendly solutions for several wedding planning aspects. Look around for budget-friendly options, at least for your lower priorities. Your guests are less likely to notice the difference, and you can have the wedding you desire for much lesser.

13.Always choosing the safe option

When you are on a tight budget, it may be better to think out of the box than go with the conventional (expensive!) choice. If you are ready to take the risk, it is likely that you will find several good deals in unexpected places. One instance is where your hair and makeup is concerned. You can always have your hair and makeup done by a professional artist. However, you can also consider booking your appointment with a beauty school and enjoy the same outcome. Similarly, you do not need an expensive vintage car to leave your reception in. Instead, deck up any car with some creative décor and it will be just as impressive. One of the best things of thinking creatively is that it allows you to have unique wedding elements that will make your wedding memorable.

14.Forgetting about tipping vendors

Many things about weddings still follow certain etiquette rules. Wedding tipping is one of them. Although it is now largely considered a personal decision, tipping is customary. Unless a vendor’s service charge includes gratuity, or the person performing the service is the owner himself, it is common practice to tip the people serving at your wedding. Similarly, delivery drivers are also normally tipped for their service. Here is a guide to wedding vendor tipping on the Real Simple website. This should give you a good idea of how much you should allocate for this factor. 

Avoid these common mistakes and your wedding should progress without too many hassles in the budget department. For budget wedding dresses, and great deals and offers to make the most of your wedding dress budget, visit this link to our clearance and sale section on Best for Bride—the one-stop shopping destination for today’s bride.