I wanted to cover some of the initial to-dos that brides encounter when planning one of the best days of their life. Venue. Wedding date. Photographer. Caterer. Florist. Dress. Selecting each of these are important due to the time sensitivity of each item. I will be blogging about each of these items but wanted to give you some tips on selecting THE dress for your perfect day.

Timeline

Most vendors suggest that you purchase your dress 9-12 months prior to your wedding date. There are many reasons for this. First, you’ll want to purchase it with your wedding day bod in mind. If you plan to lose 10 pounds prior to tying the knot, you’ll want to order your dress so that it fits snug (not tight). Also, 99% of the time you’re going to be ordering the dress you’ve tried on, a process which takes months depending on when you order and what month you’re getting married. Account for 1-3 months for alterations and if anything goes wrong with the shipment.

Selection

Before hunting for the perfect gown, keep these things in mind.
Do not ever try to order from non-authorized online retailers. They will stick out like sore thumbs because they will be super affordable but look like designer gowns. Heck, they may even say that they’re discounted designer gowns. The sites will also look like retail sites, offering tons of dresses in customizable sizes. If it seems too good to be true it’s because it is.
Read more about counterfeit dresses here.

Let’s take material, size, color, and cut. Material is important when considering cost, how the dress will fit, and cleaning. Chiffon or lace are typically more expensive while polyester and taffeta are more affordable materials. Think about when and where your wedding will take place. Outdoor weddings, particularly beach weddings, are gorgeous but will stir up dirt and sand on your dress. Also lighter fabrics are perfect for spring or summer while warmer, layered, or heavier fabrics are ideal for fall and winter weddings.

Dresses run smaller than advertised. So don’t scold yourself if your wedding dress size is larger than your everyday dress size. An average size 2 can wear a size 4-6 wedding dress; therefore, don’t purchase without trying a dress on to ensure that it fits properly. The color of the dress has become as unique as the bride. Wedding dresses commonly come in ivory, cream, and white; however, colors like champagne, mocha, or blush are also gorgeous.

There are endless varieties of wedding gown styles. The two types of fits are the neckline and cut of the dress. A-Line, mermaid, and ballgown refer to the cut of the dress while sweetheart and v-neck refer to the neck-line. Consider your body type as well and plan to try on a couple different styles when you go dress hunting. Just because something looks gorgeous on the rack doesn’t mean it will fit you the same.

Try them on

Before booking a bridal shop, look online (pinterest or google are awesome) to see what dresses catch your eye. Once you’ve narrowed down your preference, search for bridal shops near you, and see what brands they carry. I like to think of bridal shops like shopping at Nordstrom. At Nordstrom, you’re buying a Marc Jacobs or Alexander McQueen as opposed to a “Nordstrom” brand. Bridal shops carry different brands of dresses, so make sure you like what the shop has to offer.

I love Stella York gowns. After researching styles and finding out that I loved this brand, I searched for bridal shops one hour or less from my home that carried Stella York and brands that offered similar styles.

When trying on dresses, wear shoes the same height as your wedding day shoes. When you order your dress, the seamstress will measure according to your height. Wearing shoes the same height as those Badgley Mischka heels you’ve been eyeing will eliminate the need for height alterations as well as ruling out heels altogether.

The one

They say that when you find “the dress” you just know. I tend to agree with that. The reason that this proves true is that you’re not just figuring out if you look awesome, but you’re picturing yourself on your wedding day. You’re picturing how others will see you and whether your groom will cry during the first look. Go with your gut when choosing your dress. The only requirements are that you must feel beautiful and confident.

Once it arrives

You get the call that your dress has finally arrived. Now what? You have a few options. You can take the dress home with you because it fits perfectly. You can get the dress altered by a seamstress recommended by the bridal shop; sometimes they may even do alterations in-house. You can leave it there for safe-keeping or bring it home while you research seamstresses. I found it most helpful to do all of my research before-hand and get it altered 3-6 months before the wedding day.

I could spend days describing each facet of selecting your wedding dress, but I hope that you find this overview helpful. Happy dress shopping!

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