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What are Some Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Wedding dress shopping is often the most anticipated, as well as the most dreaded, shopping event in a woman's life. Many women dream of finding and wearing the perfect wedding gown years before they are even engaged, some even anticipate the event in childhood. Such high expectations can certainly add to the pressure and stress of wedding dress shopping, but a little planning ahead can help the bride-to-be find the dress of her dreams.

Determine a realistic budget as there is a wedding gown out there for every bride whether it's a second hand dress or a designer dress. Set the price you can afford and give your self enough time and resources to find the right dress. Make sure you think about all of your options as, unless you are strictly traditional, there are many creative options for wedding dresses these days. For example, some brides getting married on a beach or in a tropical location forgo wedding dress shopping altogether and wear a sarong as a wedding gown. The white fabric may even be dyed later and turned into another dress to wear for other occasions.

A close up of a wedding dress.
A close up of a wedding dress.

Your figure type should influence the style of your wedding gown. If you are set on having a large bow in back, try on a gown like that when wedding dress shopping. However, if you notice that the style only emphasizes your large hips, you can always try on different styles to find the most flattering one for your figure. Surplice necklines are flattering on many figure types. Don't be afraid to wear a strapless dress if you're small-busted as this style can work very well on that figure type. The right fit is the most important thing for every figure type when it comes to the overall look of a wedding gown.

Body type is an important consideration when deciding on a wedding dress.
Body type is an important consideration when deciding on a wedding dress.

Allowing enough time to find the wedding gown can really save money during wedding dress shopping because it eliminates the pressure to settle for a more expensive dress because time is running out to find something. You want to be able to think clearly about each dress and how you feel about it without having a time crunch influence your decision. Also remember that just because you have an appointment at a certain bridal shop doesn't mean that you're obligated to buy your dress there. However, if you do find the wedding dress of your dreams during your bridal shop appointment, you want to be organized so that you can be sure to pay for your dress when you have made your decision.

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Discussion Comments


If you want to take some of the stress out of shopping for a gown, start early. The earlier a bride starts, the better. Also, don't let the bridal consultant, or your family, for that matter, talk you out of a gown that you love. Conversely, don't let them talk you into buying a gown you really don't like. Buy what you love.

Although I love watching the wedding gown TV shows, I think taking a lot of people with you is just not a good idea. I picked my dress out mostly by myself. I tried on several gowns that I saw and liked, but I didn't take anyone with me until I had more or less picked it out. I knew what looked good on me, and what I could afford. I'd say take people with you when you have your decision narrowed down to maybe two gowns, three at the most. Of course, if you're paying for your own gown, as I did, this makes it easier. You can choose to please yourself, not the person writing the check for the gown.

And they say this on the shows, but it bears repeating: Don't try on a dress you can't afford. If you love it, you'll just be disappointed that you couldn't afford it and nothing else will be as good. Save yourself the heartache and stay in your budget.

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    • A close up of a wedding dress.
      By: sandraadamson
      A close up of a wedding dress.
    • Body type is an important consideration when deciding on a wedding dress.
      By: liubomirt
      Body type is an important consideration when deciding on a wedding dress.