When brides-to-be first get engaged, most run and grab the latest bridal magazines for inspiration and ideas for planning their big day. As bridal gown retailers, we also stay current with these magazines to keep up with changing trends, styles, colors and design that are appealing. While all of the ideas about colors and flowers and tablecloths are indeed important, brides should always focus on searching for the perfect gown first. The wedding gown sets the tone for the day and allows all of the other elements to easily fold in to create the vision that the bride and groom have.
One of our favorite magazines to look to for advice is Martha Stewart Weddings. While she is the queen of all things crafty and do-it-yourself, she offers valuable advice in the Fall 2013 issue about shopping for your wedding gown (Pg. 276). Since most brides are ready to jump right in and start trying on all things white, she explains the ten most important steps all brides should consider BEFORE they go shopping for their gown. Number one on her list is the ‘B’-word: Budget. Knowing your budget is crucial to helping you find the right gown. It sets a parameter that you know of and that you can tell your bridal consultant so that she can help you find the gown of your dreams without stressing you out about money. The sooner you set a budget for your dress, the better. Budgeting isn’t an end-all or be-all to your gown, it simply keeps you in a financial bracket your comfortable with.
Another thing she touches on is the importance of starting to look for your dress early. One of the most common misconceptions we see with brides is that they think they have ample time to look and shop even if their wedding is a year away. Most gowns take 6-12 months to even come in after they have been ordered, and alterations still need to be done after that! The sooner you order, the better. It gives room for any unexpected designer delays, shipping delays or holidays.
Martha Stewart Weddings also states that making appointments is another crucial aspect when starting to shop for a gown. Most bridal boutiques are small, family-owned shops that are smaller in size with a smaller staff. They require appointments to properly accommodate brides and to give them full attention and service. Booking an appointment eliminates wait times for dressing rooms and also ensures that a consultant will be able to work with you one-on-one.
Booking an appointment goes hand in hand with her 5th tip, Limit Your Entourage. This is an extremely important piece of advice that many brides do not follow. Reality television has glamorized the appointments with multiple friends and family members in attendance with the bride as she shops for her gown. This actually works against the bride, making it much harder for her to feel for herself what she loves and wants to wear on her wedding day. Purchasing a wedding gown is an emotional experience. It should make the bride feel exactly how she wants to feel, not how everyone else thinks she should feel on her wedding day. Bringing just two close friends/family members with you whose opinions you highly value will make your shopping experience much happier and much less stressful.
Finally, Read the Fine Print! When you are set on the gown of your dreams, make sure you read all of the contractual agreements you are signing for. Be sure of the size, color and any style changes you are making before you sign on the dotted line. Since wedding gowns are special-order merchandise, they are always final sale.
Buying your wedding gown can be an extremely exciting and emotional time. Martha Stewart Weddings is an excellent resource for brides to refer to while planning her wedding. Be sure to go online to her website marthastewartweddings.com for more hints and tips for the big day, and pick up your copy of the Fall 2013 issue!
Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2013, Number 66
Pg. 276 “Planning: The Dress Quest”