You’ve set a date for the wedding and booked your vendors. Now it’s time to try on the tux and say “yes” to the dress.
When you’re shopping for a bridal gown, it’s important to make sure you have key people in attendance, which may include your mom, maybe the groom’s mom, one or two bridesmaids or the maid of honor. Too many people in the room means too many opinions, and that can make what’s supposed to be an exciting time for the bride very stressful, said Ashley Fonzo, director of sales and events for Irem Clubhouse in Dallas, Pennsylvania.
“You want people there who have your best interest at heart and want you to pick your best dress,” Ashley said. “Sometimes mom is that person, but sometimes she is not. She’ll tell you what looks good or not and give her honest opinion. Make sure your crowd is in your corner!”
Opinions differ on whether a bride should bring her groom to the dress appointment. It’s not necessarily bad luck, but tradition states that you’re not supposed to see the bride in her dress before the wedding day, Ashley said. “He (the groom) shouldn’t be there unless you’re not taking part in that tradition,” she said. “Sometimes dad doesn’t even come to the appointment. Many brides are doing ‘first looks’ with dad, too, on the actual wedding day.”
You should plan to visit at least two or three bridal shops if you have an idea of the style dress you like, Ashley said. Remember, some shops require appointments. She also advises bringing pictures of dresses you like with you. If you find your dream dress at the first store, visit the second store anyway. Each place will have different prices and styles of gowns. Take a photo of the first dress you loved at the first store, and then go to the second store to see if they have the same dress for less money or another style that you’re open to and might like even better.
“You can always go back to the first place and make sure it’s the dress that you really want,” Ashley said. Also, when choosing a veil, make sure it is no longer than the train of your dress, or you’ll end up tripping on it — or someone else will!
Now that you’ve found the perfect dress, it’s time to pay for it. It’s important you don’t make the dress the majority of your wedding budget. While it’s an essential piece of the puzzle, it’s not the only piece. You will also need to consider the cost of alterations, shoes and jewelry, and salon costs if you decide to get your hair, makeup and nails done professionally. Remember, you’re only going to be wearing the dress for one day, but the memories you create at the reception will last a lifetime!
When you’re shopping for bridesmaid dresses, you may want to take your entire party along so you see how the dress looks on different body types. Bring ideas of all of the dresses you like to the store and have a color scheme in mind.
“You have to know if you want everyone to wear one color or the maid of honor in a different color or what cut the dress will be,” Ashley said. “If you’re allowing them to wear different cut dresses, make sure the material is the same. It’s important to unify.”
If you’re entire party is wearing the same dress, they should all wear the same shoes. They should also have the same or similar jewelry, Ashley said. “A lot of brides will give the jewelry as a gift to the bridal party. If they are not wearing the same dresses, the shoes should at least all be the same color, if not the same style. Something needs to be consistent!
The bridesmaid dresses should match the color scheme of the wedding, if there is one. The men’s tie or vest should complement the women’s dress colors. Unlike with the bride, the groom does not need to invite all of his groomsmen to the appointment when he chooses his tuxes. “Have the groom pick it out, and then he can tell the guys where they can go to get it fitted,” Ashley said. “You can go to most tux places and get sized and measured.”
The tux store will have shoes that the groom’s party can rent. The shoe rental typically comes with the tux, Ashley said. All the shoes should be the same. “Guys usually dress pretty uniformly because there are not as many styles to choose from,” Ashley said. “Nobody is looking at their shoes like they are with the women.”
For the bride, shopping for your dress is a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be stressful, so try to keep the day in perspective. “You will know it’s ‘the dress’ when you try it on,” Ashley said. “You will smile differently and your eyes will sparkle.”
Do your research beforehand and be open to opinions, but most importantly – have fun!