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Wedding dress shopping etiquette guide

Wedding dress shopping is a very exciting experience for a bride. As her bridal gown is one of the most expensive dresses she will wear in her life, this can also make her nervous. Fortunately, you will have your entourage and bridal consultants to help you make your dress decision. And, as with everything wedding-related, there are certain etiquette rules that you should stick to, when shopping for your wedding dress too. Let us take a look at what they are.

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1.Think through about who you should take along when you go shopping

You may be tempted into inviting all your friends, cousins and relatives to your shopping appointment. However, this is unnecessary and it can even do more damage than good. The ideal size of your entourage shouldn’t exceed four. Make sure you choose the right people, who share your taste in fashion and are supportive. They should provide positive inputs when you go shopping. Also remember that bridal salons may not have the space to accommodate a huge group. Even if your salon may have enough space for your huge group, it can be disruptive to the other brides shopping there. So, be considerate, and take along only those who really ought to accompany you. You can always include the rest of your gang for the alteration sessions, when they can see you in your gown!

2.Always book your appointment

Most bridal salons can only entertain brides with an appointment, when they go bridal shopping. Even if the shop you visit will be able to accommodate you on short notice, it is always suggested to book your slot before you go shopping. This will make your shopping session more efficient. When you have a prior appointment, you can not only book a time that is convenient for you, but your bridal consultant will also be able to focus on you, since she won’t be juggling appointments or be stretched for time.

3.Discuss your expectations at the start of the appointment

Bridal boutiques do not have shopping racks like you see in regular clothing shops. Instead, their inventory is stocked in a back room, from where bridal consultants pick dresses for you to try on. So, it is always good if you have a clear idea of what you want, and communicate that to your consultant. If you have pictures that you would like to see, show them to your consultant, so she knows what you are after. Additionally, if you shortlisted any dresses during your research, check if the boutique can have them ready for your appointment. When you provide this list earlier on, they should be able to have them ready for your appointment. So, you can first check these out, and move on to other options only if you aren’t satisfied with any of them.

4.Be punctual for your appointment and do not expect to stay beyond the allotted time

Just as you expect to be served on time, be respectful of the time slot allotted to you. Either call up to check whether your appointment will run on time, or arrive at least ten minutes before time. Typical wedding dress appointments run for an hour or two. However, weekend appointments may be shorter, as many brides will be shopping on these days. Book your appointment on a weekday, if you want to relax and do your shopping better. Check when the boutique has fewer appointments to decide on your slot, and be flexible if you want to enjoy your experience better. While you are at the bridal salon, make sure that you do not stall or waste any time unnecessarily. The better prepared you are for your appointment, the smoother it will progress.

5.It is important to be honest

Your consultant doesn’t know you personally to decide what would satisfy your tastes and preferences. She relies on your inputs to pick dresses for you to try. So, don’t hesitate to tell her exactly what you want. Although a dress consultant may have suggestions for you, the final aim is to make sure your dress is one that satisfies you. She will move on to other dresses and designs, based on the feedback you give about the ones that she shows first. This will help narrow down the selection to what will most likely appeal to you. So, the more details you give upfront, the quicker this can be done. If you aren’t happy with the dresses she brings out, tell her specifically which features you don’t like. Then, she can get the next dresses out accordingly.

6.Do not wear too much makeup

It is advised that you do not wear dark or smudgy makeup that may stain the dress, when you go shopping. Although your makeup shouldn’t get on the dress while you change into it, it is still risky. Lipstick in particular is notorious for staining dresses, and is very difficult to get off when it does. Your consultant may have to spend an extra amount of time and effort to get it out, if you accidentally get some on the dress. Even though the dresses on the shop floor are meant for trials, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of such small things that can make everyone’s life a lot easier.

7.Disclose your true budget

One of the biggest possible disappointments when you go wedding dress shopping, is to fall in love with a gown that you cannot afford. You should fix your bridal dress budget right at the beginning, so you know the limit to which you can stretch. Remember to also account for bridal gown alteration charges and accessory rates, when planning your budget. When you attend your appointment, your consultant will ask you for your budget, and she expects you to tell her the actual amount you can afford. A few hundred extra bucks may be alright, but it is always best to look only at dresses that you can actually buy, and not try on anything that you cannot buy.

8.Be honest about it, if you have another dress shortlisted already

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Sometimes brides may not stop looking even when they find a great dress, just because they aren’t sure if it is indeed the right one. If this is how you end up at the salon, it is best to be honest about it with the salesperson. That way, neither of you will be wasting time looking at options that cannot beat the existing choice. Your salesperson can show you what they think will be better than the other gown, and you can make up your mind accordingly. She will also appreciate it if you tell her why you are there, and which is the other gown, so she can plan your session accordingly. When you tell her what you like about the other dress, and why you aren’t sure if it is right, she will be able to direct you to dresses that will likely be better choices.

9.First start with low-budget options and then move on to expensive ones

If you are on a tight budget, it is wise to first look at the dresses that are on sale or have offers attached to them. Move on to expensive dresses and ones that belong to the latest collections, only if you aren’t satisfied with any that you see in the discounted section. We always think this is the better way to go about it, than the reverse. In general, the more gowns you try on, the more confused you can become. So, if budget is the main factor in your selection and you come across a gown that looks great, stop there. Don’t even think of looking at another one, or you will again end up being confused.

10.Be prepared with the right accessories

Wedding dresses are delicate garments, and you will need your shop assistant’s help to get in and out of it. So, be prepared for that by wearing appropriate undergarments in which you are comfortable. Also carry accessories that will not look out of place, with the wedding gown you intend to buy. If you are shopping for strapless styles, a nude bra is an absolute must-have. Many bridal boutiques carry undergarments to use during your appointment, but it is always better to go prepared with your own, for your appointment.

11.Check before you take pictures

Not all bridal boutiques allow you to take pictures during your appointment. If in doubt, make sure to ask before you do so. Although your intents may be pure, boutiques face the risk of their designs being copied and used elsewhere, when brides do this. So, if it is against their policies to allow photography during appointment sessions, respect it. You can find all the information about most designer dresses, online. Once you finalize your dress choice and get the paperwork done, it shouldn’t be a problem to click a few snaps. You can ask if you are allowed to take a camera along, when you book your appointment, just to confirm.

12.Be courteous to your bridal consultant

Brides ought to enjoy this special shopping experience of their lifetime. Bridal consultants get this, and this is why they go to extreme lengths to ensure your wedding shopping is an exciting experience. If you have attended such a shopping session before, you will realize how different it is from any other dress shopping experience you have ever had. While you enjoy yourself and have fun with your girlfriends, don’t forget to be polite to your bridal consultant. Appreciate her enthusiasm in searching for the perfect dress that meets your needs and also thank her for all her help, whether you find your dress or not.

13.Update the salon if you have to cancel or reschedule

Remember that you are asked to book an appointment for a reason. Bridal boutiques are busy places, that have brides in queue all the time. If, for any reason, you are unable to attend your appointment or are running late, it is polite to call and inform the shop. They may be able to reschedule your appointment for the same day, if they have other slots available. If it is a rush day, canceling your appointment will allow them to allocate the sales assistant to another bride, thus not wasting their chance to make a sale. If you have booked the appointment, but have already located a dress at another shop, do not forget to cancel your appointment for the same reason. It may be a trivial matter for you, but the shop would appreciate it if you were so polite and respected their time, just like they respect yours.

14.You don’t have to be apologetic if you can’t make your decision then and there

Bridal shops know that not all brides can make this important decision in a jiffy. Some brides have to sleep on it, to be sure they have actually found what they want. So, don’t feel bad about telling your consultant that you will be back later. It is also likely that you may have to visit a boutique more than once, to narrow down on your actual dress. This is because wedding dress shopping is physically exhausting, and you have only so much time to make a decision right there. Your bridal consultant will have seen this happen, and won’t be surprised. If anything, she may even be supportive and offer you another appointment to look at more dresses at another time.

Wedding dress shopping is fun, exciting, nervous and yet, special. It is one of the most thrilling parts of your entire wedding planning process, and something you want to remember fondly. So, take note of all that we have discussed today, and make sure you as well as all those around you remember your shopping day fondly.

Before you go shopping, you should definitely take a look at our e-book, “ What to expect at your first bridal appointment”, which can be viewed or downloaded here.  And to browse through our vast and interesting collection of wedding dresses for your big day, don’t forget to check out Best for Bride’s wedding dress gallery here.

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

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

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

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

1.Fix the maximum price

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

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

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

2.Decide on the style of wedding

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

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

3.Plan who accompanies you when you go shopping

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

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

4.Have an idea of what style you want

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

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

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

5.Decide on where to shop

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

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

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

6.Plan to go shopping at the right time

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

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

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

7.Book an appointment

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

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

8.Carry the required accessories

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

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

9.Dress yourself up to look good

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

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

10.Prepare yourself to be surprised

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

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

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Buying your wedding dress online and how to do it right

via Best for BrideOne of the biggest events in your wedding plans is buying your wedding dress. While nothing beats the experience of visiting a bridal boutique and being enraptured at the sight of yourself in “the dress,” there are situations when this may not be the possible choice, or the best option for you.

Fortunately, you can still have fun shopping for your dress online, and do it right too! You may even find more options than you can find at your local store, and this can be enticing. If online dress shopping is the way for you, let us find out what you need to know to do it properly.

Choose the silhouette and neckline

Since you won’t have a bridal consultant to help choose the right silhouette for your body type, you will have to do this part yourself. Identify the type of wedding dresses that are suitable for your body shape and shortlist the ones that seem right. A good idea is to head to a nearby clothes shop, try on few gowns and see your transformation in them. Notice the silhouettes and necklines that flatter your figure, and base your search on gowns in similar patterns.

Choosing “the dress” from a vast collection

You will quickly realize that online shopping throws open an ocean of choices, and you can feel overwhelmed and confused. So, don’t start looking at pictures right away. First, make a list of the various things in a dress that would look good on you. This would include the neckline, silhouette, type of sleeves and fabric. Also make a second list of the features that don’t flatter you in a dress.

Once this is done, begin your search. First choose by price. Find gowns that fall within budget. The next step is to pick out a certain number of gowns with features in the first list you prepared. Now, eliminate any of these dresses that have features belonging to the second list. Continue this way, till you have a small list of just a handful of dresses.

Pay attention to these chosen dresses in closer detail. Look at the fabric, the construction and how it drapes on the model. Get help from your friends to decide which of these would be the best choice. Take time to finalize it, and meanwhile look on the web for pictures of real brides wearing the dress you chose. Once you have made your decision, check the measurement charts for this particular dress and determine the optimal size. Place your order.

Work with a good tailor

Once you receive your gown, it is likely that you will have to make alterations, so it fits perfectly. Find a good tailor who can do this for you. Choose someone who has experience working with complicated garments and gowns, so he/she can handle the job properly. Leave plenty of time for more than one fitting session, so your dress looks perfect in time for your wedding.

To enjoy your online shopping experience, choose from a variety of designer gowns, and avail excellent offers, visit the wedding collection at Best for Bride.