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Getting Started Shopping for Wedding Dresses

in Attire and Beauty
A seamstress helps make the final adjustments to the bride's gown before her wedding.

Shopping for wedding dresses can be extremely fun, somewhat frustrating initially, or somewhere in between. :) Even before entering a bridal shop, though, your first goal should be to browse through several current bridal magazines and see what jumps out at you. Be sure to keep in mind the time of year as well – if you are planning a destination wedding on the beach, for example, you’ll probably want to focus on beach wedding dresses or simple wedding dresses for the big day.

Next, compile a collection of wedding dress pictures to work with, and if you find something you particularly love you can look online to see if the gown is available at a local bridal shop. If your dream dress is not in stock or not carried by your local store, you may want to check to see if they can order it for you to try on in-store. Bridal shop consultants are also great at suggesting similar (and possibly less expensive) gowns to the styles you’re envisioning – so take advantage of their knowledge and feel free to ask them for their suggestions and advice when you arrive.

Also, be sure to allow plenty of time to try on different wedding dresses. You’ll get a good feel for what the current styles are and decide whether you’d like to go the traditional route or opt for a more modern or unique gown. Most importantly, have fun!

Tip: When you’re ready to start trying dresses on, you might feel more comfortable having your best friend or a family member with you – a second pair of eyes and some moral support can help tremendously, and the day will automatically become more fun!

Lastly, as you research wedding gown designs and styles in magazines and online, you might also want to write down the name of any wedding dress designer that catches your eye and that you might want to explore more at your appointment.

In addition to your dress, other important bridal accessories that you might want to consider looking at or purchasing now include:

  • Veil
  • Headpiece
  • Bridal undergarments (you can bring these with you if purchased previously)
  • Shoes (you should aim to purchase your shoes before the first fitting so that you can wear them with your dress)

Bridal accessories that are optional but also frequently added include:

  • Bridal jewelry – earrings, necklace, etc.
  • Bridal purse
  • Hair accessories
  • Gloves and/or wrap
  • Garter

And finally, other attire-related wedding items may be purchased later on in your planning might include:

  • Rehearsal dinner dress
  • Honeymoon attire (including an outfit you can change into after the reception, and any lingerie items for your wedding night or the first night of your honeymoon)

Tip: When transporting your new wedding dress by car before the wedding, do not leave your dress unattended in plain sight (a prime target for theft, unfortunately.) Also, be careful not leave your dress in the trunk for extended periods if the weather is warm, as wrinkling may set in quickly.