Plan before you shop for a wedding dress

Plan before you shop for a wedding dress

By Sonia Duggan

After years of dreaming about your future wedding day, the time has finally arrived for you to shop for a dress. But where and when do you start this fun yet slightly overwhelming process? After speaking to local expert Janet Smith of The Bridal Shoppe in Wylie, we’ve got your questions answered. Here are a few things to know before you gather your gal pals and head for the nearest bridal salon.

Have a gown budget. In addition to the wedding venue, photographer and florist, this component of the wedding budget should not be overlooked. Smith says, “Be realistic about what you want to spend and set a budget.” In addition, she says you also need to have some flexibility to go 10-20% higher for additional costs such as taxes, alterations and, in some cases, shipping.

Decide where you want to shop – Aside from asking recently married friends or co-workers for recommendations, any extra research you do can help. Attend bridal shows, either live or virtual, to get ideas and preview vendors to see if they carry the bridal designers and styles that interest you the most. “A majority of our business is from other brides and partnerships with other venues,” Smith said.

Make an appointment. The busiest days for bridal salons are weekends which quickly fill up, “so they have to have an appointment,” says the salon owner. Appointments can be made up to one year in advance which is the ideal timeframe to start. If that’s not possible, allow at least nine months, says Smith, which takes into account four to six months for the gown to arrive and eight weeks for alternations. The majority of bridal  dresses, says Smith, are made in China, Spain and Ukraine.

Know your body. Smith says she spends a lot of time educating brides-to-be about body types.  “I teach them that they have to look for certain points on a dress to flatter areas that they don’t like on their body,” she said. One very popular neckline that brides love, she said, is the deep plunge. “It’s really is flattering to all body types and if you’re curvier it draws the eye up and down.”

Know your style. What do you like to wear and feel most comfortable in when you’re attending a formal event? If you’re the type of person who often opts out of wearing something fitted to a typical formal event, then Smith says you might want something that is not tight. “Know what makes you feel comfortable,” she said. “If I hear brides-to-be say more than two negative things about a dress when they’re trying them on then I’ll advise them to rethink the style.”

What to wear, and not wear, when you go to your appointment: 

Minimum makeup. Plus, if you have a spray tan, it must be over one week old

Button-down shirt. It makes it easier for taking measurements and you won’t have to disrobe to be measured if you wear one

Strapless bra This works with a variety of dress styles

Underwear  Must be worn. Nude or white is ideal so it doesn’t show through the dress 

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