Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. This Bridal Attire Guide has many useful ideas to make your wedding as stress free as possible. Ideas from what type of wedding gown should I purchase, where to shop, coordinating your wedding party, cleaning your wedding gown and many more.
Three steps to help you pick the perfect dress
What kind of wedding do you plan to have? Traditional? Contemporary? The wedding dress you choose will depend on the style of wedding you plan. Generally the more formal the wedding you plan the more formal the gown should be. If your wedding is semi-formal and you plan to wear a more formal gown, go ahead. Remember its your wedding.
What’s the date of your wedding? You need to know this due to the fact that some fabrics and styles are seasonal. This will also determine how much time you have to spend shopping, ordering and customizing your gown. Some customized gowns can take from three to six months for delivery and the fitting make take another month or two. Even if you buy a gown off the rack it will take time to have it altered. Since most newspapers ask for your picture up to four to six weeks in advance for your wedding announcement, your gown will have to be ready even earlier.
How much can you afford for your dress? Setting a budget ahead of time will prevent you from wasting time looking at dresses out of your price range. In setting a budget for a dress keep in mind these items as well:
Headpiece/Veil; Shoes; Purse; Jewelry; Gloves; Lingerie items. Today a wedding gown can costs about $700, while designer gowns start around $1,500. Veils and headpieces start at about $125, shoes between $20 and $300, lingerie $70 to $100, and jewelry $100. Your approximate cost can run around $1,125 for the bridal attire. Some shops require a 50% deposit for custom ordered dresses so be prepared.
Make a list of the stores that carry the styles you like. You can find many styles in Bridal magazines. A great resource would be contacting the local Better Business Bureau to see if there has been any complaints on any bridal shops you have heard about. Shopping around for two to three weeks and making a price comparison would assist you in picking out that perfect dress.
Where to Shop?
There are many types of bridal boutiques to chose from.
Full Service Salons: Here they carry a large selection of gowns for the bride, bridesmaid, mother of the bride and even the formal wear for the groomsmen.
Designer boutiques: If you have a designer dress in mind it would be to your advantage to go straight to the designer’s retail boutique. Here you would have a direct connection to the designer and you will be able to see their entire line. You may have to wait several weeks to get an appointment.
Department Stores: Some department stores have their own bridal-gown department. You may have to schedule an appointment.
Discount Warehouses: If you’re working with a tight budget you may want to shop at a discount warehouse where you can purchase new dresses off the rack. Often these places offer a large selection at discounted prices. Don’t expect individual attention and only some may offer alterations on site.
Bridal Brokers: You may be taking a risk since they require cash up front and you are not able to see what you are ordering. They promising to order the same gown you tried on at a boutique but at a lower price. There are no guarantees that they may be able to get that same dress (because they are not an authorized dealer.) Since it requires third party transactions, delivery of your dress may take longer than expected. Also bridal brokers do not take returns.
How to Flatter Your Figure?
The Triangle (small on top, heavier on the bottom): You want to balance your proportions. Emphasize your top with full-sleeves, padded shoulders or puffed sleeves, textured bodice with lace overlays, appliqués and beadwork. Avoid set-in sleeves, and narrow shoulders, skirts with side panels.
The Inverted Triangle (fuller on top, narrow hips): A gown that has little shoulder detail, simple sleeves, moderate padding and natural shoulder lines would help put less emphasizes on your shoulders and add to your waist area. A simple bodice with minimal accents will draw less attention to your top. For better overall proportions, wear a full skirt with details such as sashes and bows. Do avoid gowns with plunging necklines, full sleeves, empire waistlines, and slim, straight skirts.
The Rectangle (nearly equal bust and hips, minimal waist definition): To create an illusion of curves look for full skirts, and jewel necklines or wide collars. You want to draw the attention across your torso with vertical body lines and horizontal detailing. To add width to your top wear oversized shoulder and sleeves. Clingy fabrics and silhouette gowns will make you appear thin and narrow.
The Hourglass (small waist, full hips and bust): Look for simple, classic gowns like mermaid style gowns to emphasize your curves. You may want to show off your shoulders with off-the-shoulder sleeves, V-necklines or strapless gowns. Full or ruffled skirts, puffed sleeves, highly detailed bodices and high necklines that cover the shoulder areas may not be a good idea.
Petite figures appear taller in full skirts with minimal details. To lengthen your torso and to add height wear a gown with a form fitting waistline, simple sleeves, modestly detailed shoulders, vertical pleating and A-line or princess silhouettes. The mermaid style is perfect for slim petites.
Full figures would want to look for a V-neck or dropped V bodices. To camouflage hips and thighs a gown with a full skirt with beading around the neckline draw the attention upward. To slenderize your arms pick a gown with long or three-quarter sleeves. Sleeveless, strapless or form fitting gowns are not very flattering. To disguise a thick waist or to make a long waist look shorter, an empire waistline will do. A princess-style dress elongates a short waist. An A-line skirt or a full skirt without bows, flounces, or ruffles slims heavy hips.