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9 Practical Tips to reduce the stress of Wedding dress shopping

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most anticipated wedding planning tasks. It is supposed to be an exciting and interesting experience for brides who get to choose one of the most important, and not to mention expensive, dresses that they will ever wear.

While all this sounds really exciting, it is quite often that we see brides who feel overwhelmed and confused with the entire process. As a bridal shop, we understand how the strain of deciding what you should go with for your big celebration, can really get to you. There is nothing unusual about it, as there are so many choices to look at. It is only human to wonder if you actually made the right decision or if you have considered all that you ought to have.

In this way, wedding dress shopping can get stressful, instead of being fun. We do not want that to happen to you. At Best for Bride, we like to do everything to make sure that every bride has a fantastic wedding shopping experience. So, this article is dedicated to helping you beautiful brides overcome the stress of wedding shopping, and here is how you can do it right.

#1 Fix your budget and the upper limit you can stretch to

This is an essential part of wedding dress shopping, as it sets a benchmark for you when you start looking for wedding gowns. There are dresses in all price ranges. Also, apart from the standard gown price, you will be spending extra on accessories and dress alterations. So, you should know how much you can afford to spend on all this in total, before you even begin looking at dresses.

Whether you visit a bridal shop, or choose to do your shopping online, you will only look at gowns you can afford, when you have a price in mind. This can save you the disappointment of falling in love with a dress that you just cannot afford. So, when you walk in the door and your bridal consultant asks you for your budget, make sure you give her the base price you’ve put aside for the gown, and not the total price you intend to set aside for the wedding gown to be ready to wear. If you are lucky, you will find a gown that requires minimum gown alterations to fit your size and vision perfectly. In this case, you can splurge on accessories or divert the remaining funds to another aspect. Otherwise, you will be glad to have set a reasonable expectation for the price, so that your wedding dress stays within budget.


 #2 Research before you go shopping, but don’t get too worried if it has your head in a tizzy

Just check our website and you will quickly realize that there are several thousands of wedding dresses. Even more annoying is the fact that many of them look the same in pictures. So, how do you choose?

Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one feeling this way! The hundreds of choices in wedding dresses can really have you worried about what is right and what isn’t. But, look at the bright side. With so many choices, you are bound to find the right fit for your budget, that will also look like you want it to be. So, if you are brand new to the world of wedding dresses, don’t over-saturate yourself with too much information at once. First start off with fixing your budget. Then, analyze the various features that look good on you. Finally, check out dresses that have these features and appeal to you. We say this because it is more important to look at a dress for what it looks in reality, rather than for how it looks on the model in the picture. Remember that it needn’t look the same way on you, unless you look exactly like the lady in the picture! And, if you think you are still too confused, this is what wedding dress consultants are there to help you with. So, pop that stress bubble, will you?

#3 Familiarize yourself with wedding dress lingo

When you enter a bridal boutique, your consultant will ask you what you are looking at. It will save you time and energy if you have at least a general idea of few of the wedding dress terms that are floated around a lot. We suggest you take a quick look at this article that guides you through the most popular wedding dress silhouettes, and you will understand what your consultant means when she says “fit and flare” or “A-line.”

Although you needn’t know the technical terms for every single detail that you can expect to see on a wedding dress, a general idea of the popularly used wedding dress lingo will help you. If you know this you can easily convey the idea to your consultant. The other option you can consider is to take pictures of the dresses you like or those with features you have shortlisted, if you don’t know the actual names. This will save you a lot of trouble.

#4 Choose a shop with a good reputation

There may be hundreds of wedding dress shops if you look around, but not all of them will be equally good. The benefit of choosing a good bridal boutique is that the bridal consultants there will be experienced and well-trained to help you make the best choices. So, don’t discount the reputation of the bridal salon, when you start looking at options. When you are in the hands of a good bridal consultant, they will guide you to the best possible choices in wedding dresses.

They know how to pamper you and reduce your stress, so that the shopping experience is exciting and memorable. So, look around and go shopping at a wedding shop that has earned its reputation of being customer-friendly and delivering good quality service.

#5 Browse around by yourself first

This bride, in this article on the Huff Post, mentions that the best thing she did to alleviate the stress associated with wedding dress shopping was to go shopping by herself the first time around.  This sounds like a great idea, as it will allow you to find things out for yourself, without having to seek approval from the people who accompany you.

Since you will be interacting with the bridal consultant all by yourself, you can really use this opportunity to understand what you favor and what you think would be the best. Let the entourage join you the second time, when you have a clearer idea of what you would like to wear. Just make sure that you use the first appointment to really look at all the choices available to you, and narrow down the list to what really appeals to you. Being in the salon and in the midst of real wedding dresses will also help you understand how the different styles look and feel, rather than judging by what you see in a picture. It will tell you how the fabric and structure of the gown are different from what you expect based on a photograph. When you don’t have to listen to another person’s opinion on it, it will give you a clearer perspective of what you actually want.

#6 Don’t bring a big entourage

Since we’re talking about the different ways in which you can cut down on wedding dress shopping, this has to be in the list. I’ve probably lost count of the times I’ve repeated this fact on our blog, but yes, it is only because this is very important. If there is one thing that is real from what you see on the various bridal shows on TV, it is the fact that you can have a tough time choosing your wedding dress if your entourage isn’t supportive.

Don’t feel obliged to invite everyone who wants to go gown shopping with you, or you will only be ruining your chances of finding the right dress for yourself. Choose just one or two people, and do so wisely. Make sure that these are people who know your personal style best and can give you honest opinions. More importantly, they should share your taste. Ultimately, your gown should reflect your personality, and only you know what you favor when you look in the mirror. Unless the person who goes shopping with you shares your idea of fashion, you will simply disagree and not have a productive shopping session.

#7 Be flexible with your ideas

After hours of researching online, you may have convinced yourself that you will settle for none other than just one silhouette or style. Don’t make this mistake! Especially when you have a seasoned expert in wedding gowns, in the form of your bridal consultant, to assist you with your choice. Wedding gowns are surprising in that way, you may find that the thing you least expected looks best on you. And bridal consultants have often seen this magic happening on their shop floor. So, they may be the best judge of what would look best on you, once you share your vision with them.

Our suggestion is to keep your mind open to ideas, and accept it when your bridal consultant suggests a dress for you. What is the harm in trying it on? It’ll be just a matter of minutes, but you always have a good chance of finding a fabulous gown when you least expected it. Although it may be different from what you ever expected, who is to complain if it makes up for this difference in how well it suits you?


#8 Don’t worry if you can’t decide on a single dress

Confusion is a given, when you consider that the dresses you look are all equally attractive and beautiful in their own way. We have seen brides who shortlist five or sometimes even more dresses and look at each of them longingly, unable to decide which one they should go with. This is why we suggest you start your gown shopping well ahead of time, so you have enough time to go back and make a choice.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are totally confused between two or more gowns, our suggestion is to click a few photographs of yourself in the gowns you love and go home and sleep over it. Wedding dress decisions should never be hastened, unless you are really pressed for time. Spend time looking at your pictures in each of the dresses and keep the focus on finding out which dress highlights your best features. This will help you decide which dress will be right for you. Once you make your decision, return to the boutique and purchase the gown you think has to be right. Let us just warn you of one small thing though! Don’t ever make the mistake of taking a look at any more gowns on this visit. It will only make the process more exhausting, and not to mention confusing too!

#9 Don’t second guess your decision

Once you choose your wedding dress and pay the bill for it, don’t ever second-guess your choice. The decision is made, and it isn’t worthwhile going back to it. Remember how certain you and all those around you were, when you stepped out in it? So, stick with it. Plus, think of the huge amount you’ve already spent on your wedding dress! It just doesn’t make sense to go back on your decision and go through the whole process all over.

We suggest that you immediately cross wedding dress shopping off the list and not pay too much attention to any of the new trends that you may later come across. Now, all you need to do is attend your alteration sessions and have the dress that you chose fitted to your measurements. Preoccupy yourself with the rest of the wedding choices like cake tastings and venue décor. These are also important facets that should be considered, and you should engage yourself in it whole-heartedly, now that the major part of your wedding shopping is already taken care of.

We hope these tips will be helpful for you. For more wedding tips, advice and help, continue visiting us on Best for Bride—your one-stop destination for everything bridal.

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10 Money Saving tips for your wedding

Congratulations! You are engaged! Doesn’t it feel great?

As the realization of this new relationship status sinks in, you might be super-excited to start wedding planning and that’s when the bombshell drops—crazy wedding expenses! Yes, weddings are expensive. Everything from the venue to the photographer and food can have you straining your bank accounts down to the last penny.

Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can cut expenses and make the most of what you can afford. After all, you do not want to start your marriage in debt. So, here are 10 money saving tips that every couple should consider. This will help you cut a few corners and save some money while budgeting your dream wedding.

1.Venue

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Three aspects of the wedding usually fall into one account—food, beverages and venue. Together, these three components will consume almost fifty per cent of your total budget. The easiest way to reduce expenses on venue rates is to book a single venue for both the ceremony and reception. This will not only eliminate the rental charge for an entire site, it will also allow you to save on transportation from one site to the other. Two birds with one stone! If you want to further cut charges, consider hosting the wedding during the off-peak season or on a weekday, when prices will be drastically slashed. An advantage of doing so is also that it will be easier to obtain the venue booking as the competition will be very less on these days. Saturday nights are usually the most expensive option. Get married a day early, or a day late, and you will appreciate how much easier this will be on your pocket. Another intelligent idea we found on Buzzfeed is to host your wedding on a day preceding a public holiday, so everyone gets to have fun late into the night as they are off work the next day, and you still get to save yourself some money.

2.Guest-list

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Three words—Snip! Snip! Snip!

Be ruthless with cutting names off your guest list and your wedding expenses will be reduced drastically. Rather than hosting a huge wedding where you don’t know half the people and have to skimp on the service due to budget constraints, isn’t it better to have a lavish affair with the few people who really matter to you? A direct approach to reducing your wedding guest head count is to omit children and colleagues from the list. Also, not everyone needs to have an invite with a plus-one. Limit the plus-ones to spouses, serious partners and live-ins only. Well, if your parents are paying for the wedding, they may want to invite a few extra people, so handle this as is appropriate in your case.

3.Food and drink

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Skip the traditional formal dinner and opt for a wedding brunch or lunch instead. Perfect for a casual wedding, you could cut costs this way. Now, if you want a sit-down plated meal, choose a three course meal over a five-course meal, and it will still go down well. And you can minimize costs by choosing to have your reception at a hotel, instead of at a rented venue. This way you will not have to bring too many things in like utensils, seating arrangements, table linen etc, as it will all be available at the restaurant. You can always find the right dishes to serve on their menu. Most good restaurants have beautiful chairs and tables, and there is no doubt that they are perfect places to dine at. So, help your budget by taking this route. When you choose a restaurant that looks stylish and matches the theme of your wedding, half your job is taken care of. When serving beverages, stay away from the idea of an open bar. Serve beer and wine instead of liquor and add one cocktail drink to complete the list.

4.Wedding Cake—don’t make it, fake it

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Well, maybe not the entire cake, but at least the extra tiers! Remember that each tier will add several dollars to the cost and unless you have so many guests at your wedding, why let it all go to waste? Most bakers can create faux wedding cakes which look exactly like the real thing. They usually use Styrofoam layers and cover it with icing and decorations, so it looks like the real deal. So, you can get the look, but for much less cost. There are several other ways to make the most of your cake budget, the details of which we have covered in a previous article dedicated to the subject. Here are some of the ideas in a flash:

  • Use a smaller couture cake for display and sheet cakes in the kitchen for the actual service
  • Limit the expensive flavors to one or two tiers alone, while using standard flavors for the remaining tiers
  • Choose standard shapes like circle and square instead of topsy-turvy and fancy shapes to reduce cake costs
  • Decorate with economical options like real flowers, ribbons and easy DIY toppers
  • Go for butter-cream frosting instead of fondant and cut the price by almost fifty per cent
  • Use half or three-quarter servings in place of full serving sizes to eliminate wastage and cut costs
  • Serve cake alongside other desserts in the buffet, instead of at the table. Then, only those who want it will have it and you can reduce the overall order this way

5.Rent your wedding dress or buy it second-hand

If you are not keen on having a brand new wedding dress, opt for a rented one or seek one out second-hand. Vintage wedding dresses are a happening trend, and you can max out on this now. Second hand wedding dresses can be found for as low as half the original cost, even when there is little to no damage to them. There are websites dedicated to this, and you will find plenty of choices to select from. The other option is to rent your wedding dress from a consignment shop or bridal boutique like Best for Bride. Here, you can mostly find the gown in the style you want to wear for a fraction of the original cost and not worry about what to do with it later. With the option to also rent matching accessories like wedding jewelry, veils and headbands, you can achieve the perfect bridal look without hurting your bank balance. All you have to do is place your order in time, collect you dress on the appointed day and enjoy your wedding in it. Return it after the wedding, and worry no more about what to do with your wedding dress. It couldn’t be easier. The third option is to repurpose your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown with the help of a talented tailor. Not only will this not cost as much as a brand new wedding gown, it will also give your family heirloom new life. Sentimental and sensible, isn’t that smart? Now, your groom could also rent his tux and the two of you could divert the money saved into a well-deserved treat like your honeymoon.

6.Make the most of sample sales and trunk shows

If there is time left for your wedding, you needn’t go wedding gown shopping already. Keep your eyes and ears open for sales and trunk shows and you could pick up a dress at a better bargain. Or, browse through the sale and clearance section of websites like Best for Bride and make your pick from the dresses listed there. If you aren’t too particular about wearing a specific gown on your big day, why not make the most of your wedding budget by choosing the best choice within your means from these listings? The same could apply to your bridesmaids dresses too. Look for any bulk discounts and use it when choosing the dress. They will appreciate your concern, and nobody at your wedding need know that these were picked up at a sale.

7.Try alternate bouquets

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Cut flowers are expensive and not environment-friendly, so spare the pain and still have fabulous wedding bouquets and décor with alternatives to original flowers. Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets using silk flowers and paper flowers are very beautiful and attractive. Similarly, you can vary your décor using fruits, candles and other easy-to-find accessories and still have a fantastic and unique wedding design. You could even consider succulents and potted plants for your wedding décor, and these could be used again either in your new home or gifted to the party guests to take home with them. Now, if you must have flowers, go for the seasonal and local variety and you can save some cash this way too. Ask your florist for what is within your budget and leave her to weave her magic with it. Or, if you are up for the challenge, make your bouquets on the day with what you find at your local grocery store. The price of the flowers you get there will be far less than at a flower shop, and this means you can find more flowers for your budget. Imagination is key, and it is not difficult to create splendid centerpieces, bouquets, aisle decorations and even venue décor using craft supplies from thrift stores, provided you know how to work around them. You can also use the same flowers that were used at the ceremony venue for the reception, and cut down on associated costs. All it takes is a quick move of the pieces from the first location to the second, and I am sure nobody is going to mind it.

8.Go bargain hunting for your wedding favors

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Personalized wedding favors created exclusively for your wedding are stylish and special, but not absolutely essential. The true meaning of wedding favors is to gift your wedding guests a small and sweet memento for their valuable presence at your wedding. This can be anything you deem fit for this purpose. It can be homemade cookies, brownies you had your baker add to your cake package or preserves that you bought on sale.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be in fancy packaging! It just has to be thoughtful and your guests will appreciate the gesture. Our suggestion is not to be too specific with your ideas and there will be hundreds of bargains out there, waiting to be snatched. Visit the sales and discount sections of wedding favor websites, and book a deal that falls within budget. This will give you a good bargain for the money you can spare. You can always customize it with a few craft supplies that can be found on sale, and you will easily have a personalized wedding favor in no time. Consider printing out your own monogram or wedding stationery using free fonts available online, and you can also save on expensive labels and tags for your wedding needs.

9.Hire and buy local

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When choosing a caterer, booking your band or buying flowers think local and it will save you loads. Plus, you will already know what is best in the area and can make a wise and informed decision accordingly. Go with seasonal fare for your menu and the cost of your food will go down. Should your band have to travel from out-of-town for the reception, remember that you will be paying for their effort to travel this far for your function. Go with the local favorite instead, and you are certainly going to get a better bargain. Like we mentioned earlier, flowers that are flown in from elsewhere will cost more. So, think of whether it is actually worth the added cost. Wouldn’t you be able to achieve a similar effect by substituting it with something local? If so, isn’t that better?

10.Choose your transportation wisely

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You do not need a limo, vintage car or even horse and chariot to drive you away from the venue. You can make a grand entrance or get away in any other car dressed up for the event. All you need is to use your creativity to dress up the car with some wedding paraphernalia, add a “Just Married” sign and you are good to go.

Hopefully, you now have enough tips to have a great wedding day without it costing you dearly. For more wedding tips and advice, continue visiting us on Best for Bride—your one-stop destination for everything bridal.

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Cost-cutting tips for your wedding invitations

Your wedding invitations offer the first sneak peek into your wedding, and it is a reflection of your taste and personality. Hence, you should make sure you choose well.

Wedding invitations involve a lot of stationery, and this can quickly add up to quite an amount of money. There are DIY kits, which allow you to customize and create your own signature style invitations. However, you may not have the time to do it all. So, here are some tips to help you get the best for the money you spend, when choosing your wedding invitations.

Start early and find great deals

As with everything related to weddings, the sooner you start, the more chances you have at finding better offers. If you do not rush your wedding invitation supplier, you are more likely to get a good deal. Also, you will have time to search around and compare vendor prices, and choose the best on offer.

Opt for thermography, instead of engraving and embossing

Engraving and embossing are traditional styles of invitation printing. They are classic, but very pricey. If you cannot afford the huge price tag accompanying them, look at thermography instead. The print looks similar to embossing, but is much cheaper. The benefits do not end here. It can also be done much faster, and the look isn’t very different from the engraved one. Both feel the same to the touch, and the difference can be felt, only when you rub the front and back of the letters at the same time. Well, do you think your guests will bother to go into such details!

Check for package deals and buy in bulk

Most vendors can print all wedding stationery. This includes wedding invitations, rehearsal dinner invites, menu cards, place cards, programs and thank-you cards. Look at vendors who do this, and ask for a discount if you order all your printing from them. Since you will anyway be investing money for all this paper, you might as well do it at one place and get a better deal.

Pay attention to postage charges

Wedding invitations go through the mail, and this means you have to pay for postal stamps. The size of your invitation will determine the postage charges. So, do your research before you choose your invitations, and stick to an envelope size that will help you stay within budget.

Skimp on the extra bits

Each piece of paper that goes into your wedding invite comes at an additional cost. So, consider what is necessary and what isn’t. Avoid inset papers and extra decoration, and choose a simple, but elegant design that conveys all the necessary information. Draft your invite so it is comprehensive but uses less space. With a little planning, you can make your invitation an impressive bombshell of information, but within minimum space.

Check out this link on Best for bride for the various invitation options we have on offer. You can find plenty of inspiration, options for customizing your wedding invitations to match the wedding theme, and also contact us for placing your orders, here.