Wondering if you'll find that perfect wedding dress and not sure where to begin? Well take a deep breath and exhale all those pre-shopping jitters. Here's some advice and a few tips, coming to you straight from the bridal shop!
First, flip through your endless stack of bridal mags and browse the websites of some local bridal shops; most sites will feature every designer they carry. Print/clip out those that appeal to you and make a mental note of anything you don’t like. Try to narrow it down by asking yourself not only "Do I love it?", but "Can I see myself wearing it on my wedding day?" That mermaid dress on the size zero model is gorgeous but will it be as flattering on your body type? You’ll want to bring at least three/four pictures with you to the bridal salon once you’re ready.
Second, know your budget. That Winnie Couture dress is amazing, but pricey. If it’s only slightly out of your range, check local bridal salons for trunk shows before you visit. Alexandra’s in Fall River (http://www.alexandrasbridalboutique.com/) and Ana’s Bridal in East Providence (http://www.anasbridal.com/) feature them frequently and often offer discounts throughout the show. If the price is completely out of the ballpark, any knowledgeable bridal consultant should be able to find you a similar style from a different designer.
If you’re at the twelve month mark, it's time to shop! Schedule an appointment with any boutiques you plan on visiting and try to bring a friend/family member with you. Choosing your dress is a big decision and it will be much easier with another set of eyes. Also, most bridal consultants are trained to work with all shapes and sizes and know which styles will best suit your body type. Having an open mind (to an extent) is necessary. You will never feel the full beauty of any wedding dress when it is still on the hanger.
As far as ordering your dress, some designers take 4-6 months to produce their work and you’ll need another two for alterations. If you’re already past that mark, don’t worry. Certain bridal salons can rush orders for an additional fee and in a real jam, they can sell you a dress right off the rack. And no, you do not have to try on 100 dresses to make sure that “the one” is “the one”. Most women try on an average of about 6-12 dresses and often, it’s the first one they try on.
So how do you know when you've found "The Dress"? You know when you start petting your dress as if you’re wearing a fur mink coat; when you can’t stop smiling and your mom/friend gets tears in her eyes; when you don’t want to take it off 45 minutes later and have to be asked to do so. I really do believe that there's a perfect dress out there for every bride and my experience as a bridal consultant reaffirms this. So, the saying is true – when you find your dress, you’ll know!
*Dress above by Jim Hjelm, http://www.jlmcouture.com/*