Finding The Perfect Wedding Dress

It’s every girls dream to look absolutely breathtaking on their wedding day. Besides choosing the right person to marry, choosing the right wedding dress is the most important aspect. Most women feel overwhelmed with the task of finding the perfect dress. There are so many styles, colors, and designers to consider. You should choose a dress that showcases your beauty and feels “right” to you. Making the right choice takes time, planning, consideration, and most of all patience! Enjoy a few of our tips to make dress shopping easier:

dallas_wedding_planner_0221*Gown by Maggie Sottero from Lulu’s Bridal ; Photo by The Mamones Photography

  1. START EARLY-You should begin shopping for your dress anywhere from six months to a year in advance of your actual wedding day. Dresses take time to create! On average it takes about four to six months for a manufacturer/designer to make a dress. And let’s not forget about alterations; this could add another two months. Customizing your dress by adding beading, lace, modifying the neckline, or train can take even longer. While many shops do offer rush orders at an additional fee, your choices may be limited. So plan accordingly!

dallas_wedding_planner_0217*Photo by Ivey Photography

  1. BUDGET The perfect dress does not have to cost you a million bucks. Come up with a realistic budget. When creating your budget you should also factor in the cost for alterations; which can vary in price depending on how elaborate your alterations are and where you go to get them done. Don’t forget to add on shipping fees if your dress is not being purchased off the rack. Your dress budget can also include shoes, veil, headpiece and accessories or you can figure these cost separately. Once your dress arrives, it may require some additional care such as pressing or steaming, which can tack on an additional cost as well.                                                                                                                              dallas_wedding_planner_0264*Gown by Anjolique Bridal  from Bliss Bridal Boutique ; Photo by Shannon Skloss Photography

If you are looking to save on your wedding dress as you see it as a one-time wear; try shopping on the sales rack. You may be able to find one that needs minor alterations. There are also many salons that hold big annual sales to clear out their inventory as well as sample sales, where brides can get off-the-rack styles with major discounts.

  1. PLAN AHEAD- Decide where you want to shop for your dress. You can call stores in advance to find out their price range, if they carry the designer(s) you’re looking for, if they offer alterations, and even if they sell accessories. Most wedding dress stores require that you schedule an appointment. If possible, schedule your appointment or shop during non-peak hours. Normally a weekday when you are free; this will give your more time to shop and your consultant’s undivided attention. Carry a notebook to jot down store information with the descriptions of the dresses you like (most bridal stores forbid photos) in case you decide to return back to try on the dress you can’t stop thinking about.

dallas_wedding_planner_0263*Gown by Jenny Packham  from Joan Pillow Bridal Salon of Houston, Texas; Photo by Amy Herfurth Photography

  1. SHOPPING- First and foremost before you set out to go dress shopping, wear good undergarments! This will give you a better visual of how things will look and fit on you. And you’ll thank us later when your consultant see’s you in your undergarments when their helping you into the dresses you’ll be trying on. Before your consultant starts to pull dresses for you to try on, inform them of your budget! You don’t want your dreams crushed by a dress that is out of your price point.                                                                                                                    dallas_wedding_planner_0265*L-Photo by Shannon Skloss Photography ; R-Photo by Amy Karp Photography

To keep your dress shopping experience exciting, do not be afraid to speak up on what you do and do not like. We promise their feelings won’t be hurt; you’re actually making their job easier! Not sure of the perfect silhouette? Bridal dress silhouettes fall into six broad categories: ball gown, empire, A-line, sheath, fit-and-flare, and mermaid. Try on one of each style the first time you go shopping for your dress. Selecting the right silhouette will help narrow down your options. From here, you can decide on the details such as neckline, sleeves, embellishments, etc.

dallas_wedding_planner_0224*Photo by Tracy Autem

  1. NO ENTOURAGE- While it may sound like a good idea to bring all of your eight bridesmaids, your mom, your great grandma, and your aunts for this important purchase; it’s not! The more people you invite, the more opinions you have to consider. An overly opinionated entourage can be confusing and frustrating. Feeling overwhelmed can cloud your judgment on what you actually want. Bridal consultants advise selecting two or three loved ones to attend dress shopping with you. They should know your style, be honest, and have your best interest in mind. If you feel bad for not including everyone, just bring them along to your fitting.

dallas_wedding_planner_0220*Photo by Nicholas Leitzinger Photography

  1. IGNORE THE SIZE In most cases bridal wear runs about two to four sizes smaller than ready-to-wear items. Buy the dress that fits right now or that is closest to your size. Even if you plan on losing weight; don’t insist on a smaller size! A dress is easy to take in, but difficult and can be costly to let out.

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dallas_wedding_planner_0262*Gown by Tara Keely from De Ma Fille in Ft. Worth ; Photo by Amy Karp Photography

  1. KEEP AN OPEN MIND- Don’t be afraid to try on something that doesn’t seem like your style. Also, keep in mind some dresses look different on and off the hanger. A dress that seems average while on the hanger may be the dress of your dreams once on. The same thing goes for the dress you thought was “the one” from the pictures online; it may be a big fail in person. While it’s always great to have an open mind, do not let yourself be talked into purchasing a dress that you’re not absolutely in love with.
  1. FOLLOW YOUR GUT Don’t go with the dress that everyone else wants you to wear. This is your day and your dress! You should choose the one that makes you the most happy. You don’t want to fight with your dress instead of enjoying your day. In the end you must do what is best for you by choosing the dress that feels right to you. You should feel beautiful in your wedding dress! If you aren’t truly sure if it’s “the one”, try adding a veil or other accessories to help you envision yourself walking down the aisle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dallas_wedding_planner_0228*Photo by Sarah Kate Photography

Wedding Party Responsibilities :: The Nitty Gritty

She’s your sister, your friend, your ‘girl’, and now she’s getting married. So when she comes to you and asks, ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ you blurt out an enthusiastic ‘YES!’ because it’s an honor and neither of you can imagine it any other way.  What you may not have realized yet is the work, the time, the details, the planning, and the cold hard cash that will go into that enthusiastic ‘YES!’.  The same goes for the groomsmen.

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If the couple has a wedding planner, s/he will definitely take a load of stress and responsibility off your plate, but you, as the wedding party, still have a distinct purpose – a job only a trusted bridesmaid or groomsman can fulfill. Your role is a huge compliment to your friendship, but first and foremost it’s a big commitment that should be taken seriously.  After all, wouldn’t you want the same when it’s time for you to get married?  Being a bridesmaid or groomsman is all about you for the first 30 seconds or so (sorry, that’s the hard truth).  After that it’s all about the bride & groom until after they waive good-bye and drive off into the night.

Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful times an in couple’s life.  Whether it’s family issues that come up, vendor complications, nerves and stress, money or just plain lack of time…they need your support.  That’s why they asked YOU to be in their wedding.

Here are some key pointers of what you can do to be the BEST Bridesmaid or Groomsman you can be ::

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:: The Time ::

  • Attend all wedding related events with the bride/groom (bachelor/bachelorette party, bridal showers, engagement parties, rehearsal, etc).  Let the bride/groom know well in advanced if you can’t make it.
  • Always be on time – Plan your day accordingly so the couple isn’t waiting on you to get things started.
  • Keep the wedding reception atmosphere upbeat – Be present & on the dance floor. Don’t leave early.
  • Be available to assist whenever the bride/groom needs you – Offer to run errands, make sure they eat or drink something, calm his/her pre-wedding jitters.
  • Plan a speech for either the rehearsal dinner or wedding day. 1 ½ -2 ½ minutes is perfect.  Remember that this is a celebration. After a several minutes of speeches, it’ll be snoozeville.  So keep it short.

:: The Planning ::

  • Girls :: Help assemble/address save-the-dates and invitations, organize the seating chart, attend dress fitting appointments, etc.
  • Girls :: Coordinate the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
  • Communicate with each other – Don’t make the bride or groom be the go-between.  Forge new friendships so that you all can easily stay on top of everything.
  • Guys :: Return the groom’s tux and your tux to the rental shop.
  • Be self-sufficient.  Don’t bring the bride or groom into your drama.  Take care of any issues that arise on your own.  For example, if your dress or tux doesn’t fit, take it to the store and get it fixed.

:: The Cash ::

  • Girls :: The bridesmaids split the cost of the bachelorette party and bridal shower – Plan something that won’t break the bank, but will be enjoyable and thoughtful for the bride and her guests.
  • Guys :: The groomsmen spilt the cost of the bachelor party – Plan a party on par with the groom’s expectations.
  • Go in on gifts for the couple together – This will save you money and time, and will allow you to get a larger gift from their registry.
  • The wedding party is generally responsible for paying for their own attire, shoes, hair and makeup, and travel expenses.
  • According to How Stuff Works, a popular show on the cable network TLC, the cost of being a bridesmaid is over $1,000. This may seem overwhelming, but remember that it will be spread over the course of the engagement.  So start saving right away.

Aside from all the lists and quantified expectations, the most important part of being in a wedding is your ability to be there for the bride and groom in their time of need.  They couldn’t imagine you not being by their side on their big day.  So have fun with it and relish what a privilege it is to be trusted with such an important job.  You can do this!

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:: Photo Credits ::  Top- The Mamones Photography,  Middle- Amy Karp Photography, Bottom- On Location Portraiture