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4 tips to help you decide who should go wedding shopping with you

dress shopping

dress shopping

Wedding shopping is an experience that every bride should enjoy. We, at the bridal shop, try our level best to pamper our brides like princesses, from the minute they walk in. Although we do our part to make it a positive experience that you will cherish, you should remember that your bridal entourage has an equally important role in determining how your visit goes. A supportive bridal party can make your wedding shopping exciting, while a group that disapproves or criticizes most of your choices can ruin the day.

It is always refreshing to see an excited and buoyant bride walk in our door, and equally apalling to find her disheartened and confused when her entourage criticizes her choices or tries to take over the appointment. This is why the bride should carefully choose her entourage, and make sure it has the people who will help her make the right decision. Here is how to make sure you take the right people.

Take as few people as you possibly can

When the number of people accompanying you increases, so does the number of opinions. Don’t feel obliged to call all the people you think would like to go. Only ask those who can really help you. Two or three are good enough, as long as they can do the job well.

A good shopping buddy will be encouraging

How many times have we seen people make faces at the bride or say something horrible, when she comes out in a dress that she thinks is right? This is enough to cloud her mind, and make it certain that this isn’t the right one. It is best to avoid those who are too judgemental and make you miserable with their opinions. The last thing you want is to lose your self-esteem and confidence, based on their opinions.

They should be mindful of your budget

Your wedding dress budget should be sorted out before you go shopping, and your buddies should be those who can agree with dresses that fall within it. Don’t take along people who cannot respect your financial limit and force you to try a dress that is over-budget. If you end up liking it, it will only disappoint you that you cannot afford it.

Wedding dress princess seams
Image Credit: Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0, )via Wikimedia Commons

Your shopping companions have previous wedding experience

Renee Strauss, in her article on the Huffington Post mentions that brides can benefit from choosing someone who has been to enough weddings, to help you decide how practical any dress you wear, would be for the type of ceremony you will have. Having been to many weddings, it is likely that she will have a fair idea of how a feature may be helpful, or how it may cause difficulties if you were to wear it. Also, if there are cultural constraints on your wardrobe, this friend would be indispensable in helping you rule out features that won’t work, and those that will be right.

This has hopefully cleared the air on what you should remember when choosing your entourage. For more tips and information on wedding shopping, download our free e-book on What to expect at your Bridal Appointment.  Visit us at Best for Bride for all your wedding shopping needs, and we assure you the experience of a lifetime.

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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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5 Things to Do after you buy your Wedding gown

So, you’ve finally found the dress of your dreams! Good job!

With one of the biggest decisions made, you may be relieved that you’re done with the most important part of wedding shopping. But, before you sit back and relax, you have a few more tasks to actually complete your wedding dress shopping. Let us look at what they are.

Get your wedding dress altered

It is highly unlikely that the dress you buy will fit you correctly. Alterations are key to obtaining a perfect fit. Check whether the store where you purchased the gown offers fitting services. Else, find a professional seamstress who knows her way around wedding dresses, to do the job. Plan your fitting schedules so that your wedding dress is ready well ahead of the date of the wedding.

Buy your wedding shoes

Now that you’ve chosen your wedding dress, it is time to accessorize. Your first stop should be the shoe shop as it is a good idea to wear your wedding shoes to your first dress fitting session and get the skirt hemmed to the correct length. You will also have to break your wedding shoes in, so they do not pinch or hurt your feet on your wedding day. The earlier you buy your shoes, the sooner you can accomplish this.

Choose your wedding jewelry

Once you buy your wedding dress, you should plan what you want to wear with it, to complete your wedding look. For a gown that has plenty of details and embellishments, go with simple jewelry. If you have chosen a simple wedding dress, you can opt for bold and big jewelry pieces. Buy them sooner than later, so you can see how they go with your wedding dress. You will also have time to change them if they do not go together. If you will be using a family heirloom, get it out, have it polished and ready for the day.

Get your accessories right

Apart from jewelry, you’ll also have to get all the other required accessories. Depending on the look you have planned, go shopping for your tiara, veil, headpiece, clutch or any other accessories you may require to complete your wedding look. Be flexible with your ideas on accessorizing and don’t wait till the last minute to go shopping. Every accessory you choose should work well with your dress, and not against it.

Buy the right innerwear

Invest in good innerwear to make sure you look and feel comfortable on your wedding day. If you want to hide any bulges, choose shapewear that will do the job. If your gown is strapless, make sure you find a well-fitted bra. If you don’t want your dress to cling to you, buy a petticoat that does the job. Buy your wedding day innerwear early, and wear them to your wedding dress alteration sessions. This will allow your tailor to alter it to your exact measurements, so you look perfect on your wedding day

Haven’t you found your wedding dress yet? Visit us at Best for Bride to browse through our vast collection and find the choices that are right for you.

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10 topics you must discuss with your partner before marriage

kiss“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”    Fawn Weaver

A happy marriage involves a lot of adjustments and compromises. The change in your relationship status will reflect on how you see each other as a couple, and also have a significant effect on your personal and social lives. There are many things that are bound to change. Some of these will be evident from the minute you are engaged, while others become obvious over time. As with any other relationship, expectations change, obligations increase and with all this, the scope for arguments also increases. Soon after the honeymoon phase wears off, many couples start battling challenges.

Nevertheless, no relationship is hassle-free. While most factors will fall into place over time, discussing the potential problem areas in a relationship before you tie the knot will help you avoid quarrels to a great extent, in the future.

Let us take a look at the most important things (in no specific order) that couples should discuss with each other, and reach a consensus on, before they agree to spend their lifetime together.

We do not suggest that you sit down and discuss all this in one go. Instead, take your time to talk about it, but make sure everything is sorted out.

1.Finances and bills

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How do you intend to settle your bills, once you are married? What is your household budget? Will you pool all your income together, or will you retain individual bank accounts and split the expenses? If so, who pays what? How much personal spending is too much? Discuss how you will handle emergencies, gift giving and daily spending, and there will be fewer nasty surprises in the future.

Making a plan and sticking to it, is a lot easier if you are currently living together, and already have sorted things out to a great extent. Nevertheless, this should be a definite point to discuss, as a surprisingly large number of marriages are affected by money problems. If either of the partners comes into the marriage with an outstanding debt, you should discuss how this will be handled. The same goes for a partner who has an asset, how will this be treated?

2.Careers

Both you and your partner should be aware of where the other is on the career ladder, and what your job aspirations are. Discuss what your careers will be like five years from now. Will you be taking on a more demanding role, and if so, what will that involve for your spouse? Do you see yourself quitting work to finish studies? If so, how long will that take, and when do you plan to do it? Will your career require you to travel extensively or relocate to a new destination in the future, and is your spouse fine with this?

While you are at this, also discuss options for worst-case scenarios, say one of you couldn’t work. How will you handle such a situation? This will prepare you in advance for giving due importance to both your career aspirations in the coming years.

3.Your dreams and biggest wishes

If your current career is just a stepping stone till you put aside enough money to start your own business or pursue an artistic venture, make sure your partner knows about it. Whether you will be without an income for a short while in the future, or you need support while you try to break into a new career, your partner will be better equipped to assist you, if he/she is in the know and agreeable to it. This is very important, especially if your future plans involve drastic changes to your current situation.

It is not just about your job, but you should share your ideas for your personal goals too. Do you wish to move abroad and settle down in the future? If so, it wouldn’t be fun when you put this idea across to your partner post-marriage, and he/she is shocked by the very idea. It may be too early to think of settling down, but you should still discuss where you would prefer to buy a house and live long-term. Although all this may change in due course, you should both be open to the current expectations, or it can be a huge source of worry.

4.Family obligations

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Once you are married, it is no longer “me”, but “we.” You cannot just assume that everything you’ve done with the rest of your family, will continue to be the same in future. Your partner’s family will also enter into the equation, and radical changes are to be expected. Remember that your partner may not be as excited as you are, about spending every Sunday at your parents’ place, just as you may not be if it were the reverse.

Have reasonable expectations, and your fiancé will respect your requests and appreciate your personal space better. Rather than argue about where to spend next Christmas, it will be better if you discuss this upfront. How about family vacations? Will this be a continuing practice, or will you consider each event only if it works for you at the time? You can always change your plans down the line, but setting the expectations right will prepare you better for the near future.

5.Children

 

baby-17369_1280There are couples who decide they want to start a family right away, those that want to put off having children for years, and some that don’t want children at all. The important thing is that you realize your partner may not share your idea. So, be sure to discuss this before you commit. Just because he loves playing with kids, it doesn’t mean he will want some of his own, or that he is ready to bear the responsibilities of a child soon after marriage.

So, don’t put off the discussion regarding having children, till after you are married. It would also be a good idea if you can decide how long you should wait before having your first child, so you can plan your life ahead accordingly. Discuss how long you would try naturally before considering medical help and what methods you are prepared to consider if there is an issue.

6.Boundaries

Arguments are part of a healthy relationship, but there shouldn’t be anything that constantly results in disagreement and either of you refuse to relent. Whether it is having his friends over all the time, either of you volunteering the other for a job the person despises, or your excessive shopping, make sure you both know where either of you have draw the line. If you take a look at the many wedding forums, you will quickly notice that many spouses constantly struggle with handling a certain habit or action of their partner. Most of the time, this puts a strain on the relationship and is a constant cause for worry. The problem usually is that these couples didn’t discuss their boundaries before they got married, or despite doing this, their partner doesn’t honor their interests.

Marriage is all about compromises and adjustments, but it should be in a direction that promotes a healthy relationship. Whether it involves family or friends, you should both realize that your partner too has a say in it, just as you do in their case, once you are married. So, you may have to rethink the way you handled things in the past. If some aspect leaves one of the partners constantly miserable, it is unfair and means that the other person should be more accommodating. Ensure that both partners know what drives the other nuts, and the two of you work on a solution to it. This will save your sanity in the future.

7.Past events

The past may be gone, but cannot always be forgotten. Honesty is crucial to building trust in a marriage, and you should share all the relevant details of your past with your partner. If there is some event in the past that will have significant bearing in your future, your fiancé should know of it. Make sure that your partner knows your family history, your past relationships and how they have shaped you, your sorrows and also achievements.

It is not just the negative, but the positives too that you should share with each other. Remember that discussing the past allows you to understand each other better, and build intimacy. Nothing shatters a relationship so much as when a partner comes of know of something significant in your past, which they believe you should have told them prior to marriage.

8.Faith and beliefs

If either of you are religious, and expect your partner to participate in religious celebrations or events, make sure your partner knows. One’s family background needn’t be an indication of how they conform to a particular faith. So, don’t assume your partner is religious just because his parents are. On the contrary, if your partner is dedicated to his faith, while you don’t plan to be involved in it, it will be best if you convey this to him and avoid a rift in the future.

If you plan to have children, you should also discuss how you will bring them up, if both of you don’t share the same beliefs.

9.Division of household responsibilities

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Gone are the days when the woman ruled the roost, and the man provided for the family. Now, the boundaries have blurred so much, that both are equal partners with equally demanding roles at home and at work. Unless you already have a list of who does what, you should discuss this before you tie the knot.

Don’t expect to divide the task list into two, but make sure that both of you do your reasonable share. If there is something like cooking or laundry that you hate doing, don’t just delegate this responsibility to your fiancé. Instead, inform them and work on a solution. These things are best sorted out at the beginning of the relationship, as it can otherwise trigger arguments, when one partner feels they are handling the lion’s share of the responsibilities at home.

10.“Me” time

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Neither of you can forego of your personal relationships, just because you get married. You have your friends, and he has his. You are lucky if you mostly have common friends, and don’t mind sharing all your time together. However, this isn’t always the case. There could be times when he wants to chill out with his friends, or you want to go on a shopping expedition with yours.

Don’t let your marriage stand in the way of your having fun. Make an arrangement with each other to continue doing what you love, without the other stepping in the way. Spending time alone, without your spouse, will give you some space to yourself. It will also make the transition from “me” to “us” easier. Try to be respectful of when the other is spending time away from you, by not planning any couple activities or family events that disrupt this routine. So, the next time you are invited home for a family dinner on Sunday, ask your partner before accepting the invitation, if that is when he will be having his band practice with his mates.

 

New year

It is of course, possible that your individual situation will involve more factors. For example, this list on the Huffington Post,  prioritizes a discussion on how important IKEA is in your life. It may sound irrelevant (even funny) to many. But as they say, at least some marriages are greatly affected by something as trivial as spending too much time at a home improvement store. So, expand your list, to suit your personal situation.

Relationship counselor and author, Leslie Vernick says, “ A healthy relationship is one where both people in the relationship give and both receive. There is a safe and open exchange of ideas, feelings and thoughts and all perspectives are considered and valued. There is also the freedom to respectfully challenge, confront and strengthen one another.”

Let this guide you as you enjoy your engagement and begin your marriage on the right note. For more wedding tips and advice, keep visiting us at Best for Bride.