Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to Basics

What could feel better on this Friday than finding that perfect dress? You know, the one that when you put it on you feel like a Bride? Like yourself, only all grown up and highlighting all the parts of you that you like best? THAT dress.

Here are simple instructions how to find it:

1. Set a wedding date and location. It is imperative that you do these things before you start your search.

2. Work out a budget for your whole wedding, and for your dress specifically.

3. Start looking through magazines and internet sites for dress ideas. If there is a specific dress you are drawn to, find out the designer, who in your area carries it, and call to find out the price. If it is within your budget, make an appointment to go in.

4. Look for a reputable store in your area that carries dresses in your price point and with your timing in mind. Don't be afraid to tell the store your needs, "I'm looking to try on wedding gowns in the $800 range. I will be getting married in 6 months. Do you have dresses in that price range that I can get by then?" There is no point visiting a store that is too pricey, or one that offers special-order only when you need something quickly. Your time is valuable, and a store will be grateful to know that you aren't wasting their time as well.

5. Once you have found the store you want to visit and have made your appointment, gather your dress ideas and decide who will accompany you. As you have seen in previous posts, the people you choose to bring can make the difference between a support system, or disorganized chaos. Strongly consider bringing only 2 or 3 people. If you are not paying for the dress, bring the person who is (Mom, Nana, etc.), and make sure your group has a representative from your age group as well as someone a little older who has known you for a while.

6. DO NOT make an appointment to shop if you know you cannot buy a dress yet. This is not to say you MUST buy a dress at your first store, just that at many stores the styles change rapidly and dresses can be discontinued or sold off the rack with no notice. It can be heartbreaking to walk away from a dress you love because you need to wait for your next paycheck. It is doubly heartbreaking if the dress is gone once you are ready to buy.

7. Arrive at the store a few minutes early, leaving coats and valuables in the car if possible. Use the restroom, take deep breaths. This is much easier if you are unencumbered and not distracted.

8. Talk to your consultant about your wedding, the location, date and time of day. Tell her about the feel of your day, formal, simple, sophisticated, romantic, elegant, etc. Then talk about your ideas of things you like or don't like about dresses you've seen. Tell her your budget. A good consultant should be listening here, and asking questions, but not talking much. Once you have finished with your thoughts, she should guide you through the process. Every store has different procedures, and she should help you to understand how your appointment will work, "Susie, if you step in here you'll see we have hundreds of dresses for you to look through. Browse through and pick several favorites. Based on your ideas, I have some suggestions for you as well. Once we have picked a few together, we'll move to the dressing room and start trying on, sound good?"

9. Follow your consultant's lead. Your consultant has done this before, and knows how to run an appointment. She will keep you on track and moving forward. Don't waste valuable time on dresses you don't like. Try to identify what it is you don't care for and move on.

10. Allow yourself to take suggestions from your consultant. She has no motive other than wanting to find you a dress you love, and she knows her inventory and has experience with a variety of body types.

11. Typically, Brides will find that they have one or two dresses they like above the others. Try the dress(es) back on, if you aren't in it already, to see if you still have the same reaction. Ask your consultant to accessorize it for you with a veil and such. Step out of the dressing room, look at yourself in movement, look at it bustled. Look from the front and back.

12. Not all Brides cry! I know I was way to pragmatic for that! But that doesn't mean you don't love it. Ask yourself: Does the dress flatter you? Is it appropriate for the wedding you are planning? Is it in your budget? Can you see yourself walking down the aisle in it? Will you enjoy looking at pictures of yourself wearing it for years to come? Does the dress make you feel beautiful? If the answer to these questions is yes, then,

You have found your dress!

13. Do it! Jump in with two feet! Don't question whether there is another dress out there because, yes, there are lots of dresses out there, and you can NEVER try them all on and what you don't see won't hurt you! You have already researched the store where you are standing right now, so don't second guess yourself and risk losing your perfect gown.

-If, of course, you cannot answer a resounding yes to the questions posed in #12, then it is best not to make a hasty decision. I assume that most consultants are like myself - I like to be able to sleep at night, and I look forward to a long relationship with each Bride that buys from me, so I would never push a Bride to buy a dress she is wishy washy about.

Bookmark this, print it out and happy shopping!


The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

So you just reminded me that I need a dress to go to a wedding next weekend :-( I hate dress shopping and am not so sure I have something to wear already. uh-oh.


Fiorella said...

Girl, the pricipals are all the same, except with a smaller price tag! The only thing to consider is that you shouldn't wear a shade of white to a wedding (that shows up the bride) and take your cue from the invitation. A formal invitation with an evening start time should really be a dressy dress, and a daytime start with a more casual invitation can be a skirt, tea dress, or even a nice pant suit. There is no reason to spend a ton, you can probably find something appropriate in your closet and jazz it up with accessories - big necklaces are in! I love weddings and I'll be at one next weekend too... we'll have to compare notes!

Fiorella said...

Uck, principles. I hate when I misspell...