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Here is the most extensive and the most comprehensive guide to buying wedding dresses. Full of helpful tips and advice, don't leave the house without it.
1. Don't take too many people wedding dress shopping. Remember it is your day and nobody knows what you like better than you. At most take your closest friends or family who share your taste, but don't overdo it, or risk losing your input into your wedding dress. If you are having difficulty choosing between two or three dresses a good tip is to take pictures of them on and glance at them from time to time. Over time you will begin to form a favourite.
2. When dress shopping bring along a picture of the kind of wedding dress you are looking for. This can then be handed to the assistant who can immediately put you in the right direction, saving you time and stress.
3. Have your budget in mind, whenever you walk into a bridal shop have a strict set of rules which will help you avoid disappointment. Having a range of different quotes will help you make informed decisions, that won't break the bank.
4. If you are on a strict budget a viable option may be second hand wedding dresses. There is a huge market for hand-me-down wedding dresses, which can be made unique simply by accessorising with unique pieces of jewellery, for example. Seeing as a wedding dress is only worn once they are often in pristine condition.
5. Having a clear idea of what you want to do with your hair will help you when you're wedding dress shopping. Or, you can go the other way around and decide upon hair styles once you have the dress.
6. The same principle applies when choosing your wedding shoes. Make sure that you take the bridal shoes you've chosen with you to your fitting sessions. This will help your dress fitter assign the correct length.
7. The style of dress is important for setting & enhancing the theme of your wedding. Whether you're having a vintage theme or a 20's wedding style there are wedding dresses to fit.
8. Body shape determines which type of dress you can carry off. For example the more petite lady will find it difficult to carry off a fitted gown, whereas a more dainty dress wouldn't fit the curvier woman.
9. Choosing the right colour of the dress can flatter or flaw a wedding. Many wedding dresses are an off white colour but there are plenty of coloured wedding dresses which can be matched to the theme of your wedding.
10. Your dress can be chosen to complement your complexion. Ensure that you've tried your dress on with make up on and if possible, under the same light you'll have on your wedding day.
11. You need to cater for your height. Shorter people find it difficult to carry some styles, whereas taller women can carry off all styles of wedding dress. More petite ladies should try and steer clear of stiff lines and try a longer dress with a sweeping train when wedding dress shopping.
12. Think about any features which you want to hide. If you are insecure about any part of your body or particularly proud of others choose a dress which focuses on your assets.
13. The length of your dress will be determined by the type of wedding you are having. If you're on a beach or in a forest you don't need a dress to drag on the floor. Similarly for more casual weddings, often favoured with second weddings, shorter dresses are prove to be more popular. You have to double check that style of dress is in-keeping with your wedding venue, a ball gown for example wouldn't suit a beach wedding.
The last thing you want is a visible panty line
14. Think about your bouquet. If you are having a dress that has a lot of intricate details you don't want an impressive wedding bouquet as it may detract attention from your wedding dress. But on the other hand, if you're having a more minimal dress having a bouquet with more impact.
15. Be space conscious. Before choosing a larger dress make sure that there will be enough space in the venue and reception. Similarly don't choose a ball gown if you're arriving at the wedding venue in a Ferrari.
16. The time of day and year is an important factor to consider when wedding dress shopping. A winter wedding for example may require a bolero jacket of some sort, whereas the low light of an evening wedding may hide the intricate detailing of a wedding dress. Similarly the season will determine the fabric you are using, for example chiffon is more popular in Summer.
17. Fit your wedding dress into the décor of your wedding. For example you can choose a more fairytale styled wedding dress if your reception has a fantasy theme to it with fairy lights and draping candles.
18. Focus on how the dress makes you feel. Ideally you should feel elegant, comfortable and confident. If the dress takes you out of your comfort zone or makes you feel awkward, it isn't for you.
19. The pictures of your wedding will last longer than the day. When you're looking back at the videos or photos you want to be proud of how timeless the dress is. Choosing a dress which is very much in Vogue runs the risk of having the cringe factor a decade later
20. Taking photos of you trying on your dress whilst wedding dress shopping is a good idea. Not only can you form a better opinion on the dress but you can also take the picture to your wedding photographer and give them a better idea of what you kind of photos you are expecting.
21. If you have any specific pieces of jewellery which you have your heart set upon wearing, make sure that you try the dresses on whilst wearing the pieces. Doing this will help give your look the perfect balance.
22. Be conscious, when choosing your lingerie, of any lumps or bumps they may cause. The last thing you want when standing at the end of the aisle is a visible panty line.
23. More and more brides are turning to the internet for their wedding dresses. There is a massive selection of bridal stores online, which often tend to be cheaper than in the shop. However, this is not the best last minute option as you ought to have a number of different wedding dress fittings before the big day.