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

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!

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

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10 things that suggest you say “No” to a wedding dress

Not all brides are lucky enough to realize it when they come across the right wedding dress. Unless you have a very specific idea about the dress you want to wear, and find one that matches every one of your expectations, wedding shopping may not be so straightforward. With thousands of options and gorgeous wedding dresses that look just as good as the others, don’t be surprised if you are soon lost in a world of tulle and lace.

Here are the factors that you should pay attention to when you go shopping, so you know that when it is best to let go of a particular dress. This list will help you narrow down your choices by eliminating the dresses that will not be right. So, let’s look at when you should say “No” to a wedding dress.

When the dress is way over-budget

We cannot emphasize how important it is to first fix your wedding dress budget, and then go shopping. Wedding dresses can be as expensive as you want them to be. However, there are plenty of gems that are affordable as well. Don’t make the mistake of even trying on a dress that you cannot afford. If you fall in love with it, imagine the disappointment when you realize you simply cannot have it. And if, for some reason, you end up trying on a dress that is above budget or even think of wearing it just for the fun of it, keep in mind that you will not be buying it. The single reason that it costs more than your budget allows is enough for you to say “No” to it, this time.

Tip: When you calculate your wedding dress budget, don’t forget to account for alteration costs. This can easily add up to a few extra hundreds. So, look for a dress that will still be within your range, after the possible alteration charges that you may incur.

Your entourage is in love with it, though you aren’t

You know how it is when everyone around you seems to think this is the real deal, but you aren’t so sure. In some cases, you may be certain that this is not the dress, but your entourage may compel you to think otherwise. Don’t succumb to such pressure. Remember that no matter what the others think, a dress will simply not be best, unless you feel it yourself. Don’t force yourself to see their point of view and make the mistake of saying yes, because everyone thinks it is the one! We repeat, you do not want to be married in a dress that will leave you regretting the choice, simply because it wasn’t the one that you loved. Check out our previous article on how to choose your entourage wisely, so you minimize your chances of ending up in such a situation.

Some useful Info: Before you go shopping with your entourage, take a look at this short article on the Opinionator. Joanna Hershon tells us how she finally made her own dress decision for her wedding despite already having a dress picked out by mom, and how everything fell into place once she did. That’s something you should also consider!

When you are pressed for time

If you have been trying dresses on for the entire appointment and are satisfied almost to a great extent with the one you finally wear, do you take it? No, you shouldn’t!

Remember that your decision may be influenced by the other dresses that you tried on, and that you are running out of time and energy. Don’t make this mistake. Love a dress only because it is a dress you want to be married in, and not something you settled for. If you are saturated with lace, chiffon and organza gowns, stop the ordeal and go home. Come back for another appointment when you will be fresh and energetic. If you are almost certain that a dress is the right one, but not 100% sure, still don’t go for it. Instead go home and sleep over it. If you still find yourself attracted to the dress the next day, then it may be the one after all. Otherwise, you will be glad you didn’t finalize the decision without thinking it through, only to regret it later.

If it is not your style

The right wedding dress would be an extension of your personality, and it should reflect your taste and personal preferences. However beautiful a dress may be, if you cannot connect with it, it is best you simply say no. We have seen many brides agree to a certain silhouette just because their mom or friends think it is right and coerce them into agreeing. Other times, brides are tempted to try on the trendiest wedding dresses in the shop. However, a wedding dress is not just about the look. It is about becoming the bride that you always dreamed of being. So, if you have never turned towards a ball gown all your life, don’t do it on your wedding day. Similarly, if the latest trend statement, say a halter neck, isn’t one that you feel comfortable in, just stay away from it. Take cues from your current wardrobe and the look you love most on yourself, to decide what your wedding dress should be.

When the dress is too trendy

Fashion is always changing, even in the case of wedding dresses. So, what is in today, may be out tomorrow. We think it is best to experiment with fashion trends in your daily wardrobe, but never with your wedding dress. This is because the pictures of your wedding day will stay with you for a lifetime, long after the trends have changed. So, you don’t want to end up with a dated look, ten years from now. Use trends as a guide to find styles that really appeal to you, and enhance your natural figure and features. As award-winning bridal stylist, Ellie Sanderson tells us in this article on the Huff Post, “You can make a nod to current fashion but don’t take anything to extremes.” Stay safe with fashion trends that are good enough that you can expect them to be around for a while longer. Also, make sure that the dress features actually add to your attractiveness. Then, it won’t be a problem even if the style is no longer a fashion statement when you flip the pages of your wedding album years later.

If the gown doesn’t match your theme

If your wedding is based on a theme, it may not be the best idea to choose a dress that doesn’t match it. For example, an ultra-modern sleek gown may look out of place at a rustic vintage wedding, just as a traditional ball gown would be inappropriate at a beach wedding. So, pick your theme and find a wedding gown that matches it, or do the reverse. Do your homework on the types of silhouettes, fabrics and gown designs that would be best for your chosen wedding theme. Then go shopping and pick a gown that is suitable for the theme, and not just one that you are attracted to at the moment.

When the dress feels uncomfortable

Although you may find yourself look amazing in a dress, you should also feel comfortable in it. Wearing anything that you aren’t accustomed to will make you uncomfortable, whether it is on any other day or your wedding day. So, stick to wearing only a dress that is comfortable and doesn’t make you extra-conscious on your wedding day. The world of wedding gowns is ruled by strapless and sweetheart neckline gowns, but this design feature isn’t for every bride. It can be pretty annoying if you have to keep pulling up your neckline throughout the day, if you aren’t used to wearing it before. So, if you have never worn a strapless gown yet, or find yourself highly uncomfortable in it, it is best to avoid this on your wedding day. Similarly, other bold wedding dress features, like a fully-exposed back or a silhouette that is too clingy may not be suitable for all brides. If you choose a dress that has sleeves, you should be able to comfortably lift your arms. Unless you can alter the design to suit your personal taste and it doesn’t drastically alter the look of the dress, it is better to continue looking.

When you find more flaws than favorites

A few alterations or custom changes are fine, when you choose a gown. But, if you think a dress is alright, but you will have to fix at least five or more things for it to be good enough for your wedding day, it certainly isn’t the right gown. When there is just that one feature that is perfect, but all the rest of the features do not appeal to you, it simply means you will have to spend a lot of time, effort and not to mention money, to fix it. Remember that every alteration costs money, and you may end up paying a lot of money if you have to make many custom changes. This is usually not worth it. You are better off looking for another gown with the features that you like.

When your mind is still on another dress

Don’t always expect to cry and get all emotional when you come across the right dress. This doesn’t happen to all brides. Sometimes, you may not be sure that you have already found the right dress, till you try on more and your mind keeps going back to the previous one. So, if you find yourself torn between two dresses, and if you seem to get nowhere with your decision, don’t try to force yourself to like the one that you are wearing. It could be that you are inclined towards the current choice only because of it’s features that are similar to your original choice. Just to make sure, step out of the dress and think objectively about both. Unless the second one has a clear advantage over the first, it may be the first that actually appeals to you. Either way, it would be a good idea to take your time to make a decision. Go home, think over it for a day or two, and then return to place your order for the one you actually love.

If the gown doesn’t look great on the body you have now

Many brides anticipate a pre-wedding weight loss, which they expect to successfully happen in the months preceding the wedding. Whether this is possible or not, do not let this factor impact your dress decision. It is always better to choose a dress that looks good on your currently, and also buy it in your current size than take it in a smaller size. If the gown doesn’t flatter you right now, it is possible that it may not look good on you even after you shed the extra pounds. And if you are unable to lose the intended weight, it would be an even bigger tragedy. So, if the dress isn’t figure flattering or attractive on you at your dress appointment, say “no” to it without hesitation.

Wedding dress shopping is exciting, but equally daunting. However, knowing your options, finding a talented bridal consultant and looking for what you want will help you find the dress of your dreams with fewer hassles. Brides before you have done it, and so can you.

To enjoy your shopping experience, and to make the right choice from the thousands of designs available, trust the talented team at Best for Bride to help you. Book your appointment with us, so we can help you make your wedding dress dream a reality. Our vast inventory of top-class, high quality designer wedding dresses are sure to impress you. So, what are you waiting for? Come visit us today!

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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

dress

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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Wedding Tasting Etiquette: 10 Insanely Useful Things That You May Not Know and Should Be Aware Of

The food that is served at your wedding has an important role in determining the overall wedding experience. Most of the guests, if not all, will look forward to the food that is provided on your wedding day. So, you do not want them to be unhappy with the meal offered, while everything else was done to perfection.

Most wedding vendors offer a wedding tasting session before you book your order. With this option, you can actually see, taste, and experience the food that will be served on your wedding day. We suggest that you take your caterer up on this offer of wedding food tasting and make sure everything is just right, so there are no regrets later.

Outdoor wedding reception

As with anything wedding-related – from the bridal shower gifts to choosing the perfect ring, there is a catering tasting etiquette that you should adhere to. We will be looking at the do’s and don’ts of wedding food tasting etiquette. But before we move to this list, let us first try to understand what you can expect at your tasting session.

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