Wedding Dress Shopping 101

I've been doing some research and have accumilated 8 Tips every bride should keep in mind when shopping for wedding gowns.

1. Calculate Costs: When calculating your wedding dress budget, don't forget to factor in the cost of your veil and headpiece -- which can run from $50 to $300 -- as well as your shoes, lingerie, and wedding jewelry. Also, keep in mind that almost all gowns need alterations, which will add to the bottom line.

2. Dress Codes: Many houses of worship consider bare shoulders disrespectful. Ask your officiant about specific body-coverage requirements before you start wedding dress shopping. Or look into a wrap or shawl for the ceremony.

3. Play Hooky: We know you're busy, but if at all possible take time off during the week to begin your hunt -- you'll get more of the salesperson's time and attention than you would on a busy Saturday.

4. Open your mind: When you're in the bridal salon, don't eliminate anything at first glance. Even though certain styles work best on certain body types, don't let the "rules" narrow your search too much. It helps to try on all different kinds of dresses, and then to decide which shape and style you look and feel best in. So if the salesperson brings you something she says you must try -- try it, even if you detest the way it looks on the hanger. Many a bride has ended up going ga-ga for a wedding gown the salesperson had to persuade her to try on.

5. Trust your Instincts: If you have to be reassured that the dress looks great on you, it's probably not the one. Is this how you pictured yourself looking as a bride? Can you really see yourself walking down the aisle swathed in this gown? If not, take it off and move on.

6. Take Proper Measures: When you're ready to order your wedding dress, the store will take your measurements: bust, waist, and hips. Each manufacurer has its own measurement chart, and this is what the store will use to determine your size. A knowledgeable store will know how a particular designer's gowns are supposed to fit. Ask to see the sizing chart so you can have a better understanding if the way it works. And make sure the correct size gets ordered, using your largest measurement as a guide. One thing to remember: wedding gowns run small, so don't be alarmed should your final size measurement jump up a number or two.

7. Focus on the Fit: Know, too, that every wedding dress needs alterations to fit precisely to your frame. When your gown is altered correctly, you should be able to move comfortably with everything staying in place. Alterations can be as simple as taking in the waist and shortening the hem; in more complex alterations, the sleeves may be abbreviated, the bodice taken in, and lace or beads added.

8. Fit in Fittings: You'll probably have at least two or three dress fittings, which you'll schedule with the store when you purchase your wedding dress; more may be necessary, so leave ample time before the wedding.

All of these tips were provided by, our favorite website for all your wedding needs!

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