Your mirror image.
As emotional as you are, don’t let sales persons or well-meaning family and friends talk you into a dress you have doubts about. Pay attention to the moment that you felt a tingle, a sparkle…the instant you saw the dress in the mirror.
Check your dress.
Consider dry cleaning/alteration costs when buying off-the-rack gowns. Look the gown over with a fine toothed eye for detail, and when trying it on, sit-down and move around a lot to make sure there are no rips or buttons missing.
Before ordering a siren-sexy dress, check with your church to make sure that there are no dress code restrictions.
Be a fashion diva!
Plan to attend bridal fashion shows – make a list of where, when and which bridal salons will be there.
Spend lots of time at the local library browsing through bridal magazines and on-line websites. Get a feel for what the latest trends are. Call manufacturers direct, ask lots of questions, and get to know when seasonal gowns are special-orders or last year’s merchandise.
Be an early bird.
Start dress-shopping at least nine months prior to your wedding. It takes time for the manufacturer to make your dress, for fittings and alterations. Don’t procrastinate on this very important item.
Change is good.
If you want a sleeveless gown, but a dress with sleeves fits perfectly, remember that it can be altered.
Be contract savvy.
Only shop at reputable bridal stores and ask questions about anything in the contract that you don’t understand. Draw a line through things that you don’t agree with, write in options that protect your investment, and make sure that everything you agreed upon is in writing.
Go to great lengths.
Wedding dresses run small and short. Plan on paying for alterations and know the time it takes to get them done. Also remember, a long dress can always be shortened, but a short dress cannot be lengthened.
Establish a budget when dress shopping, but be prepared to spend a little more. Remember that just because it’s a great price doesn’t mean it’s a great dress for you. And don’t forget to bring along a pad of paper and track styles, dress names and numbers.