Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Picture your wedding day. Imagine the dress. Got it? Ok, now what does it look like? Does it have long, lace sleeves or maybe a low, sexy back? Is it a ballgown or a sleek fit-and-flare? No matter the silhouette, shape or fabric, the picture in your mind was probably of a gorgeous white wedding dress. But if you’re a bride who wants to turn tradition on its head, then we are here to tell you black has never been a better choice.

A line lace wedding dress

Invite no more than two or three people to go with you. Maybe it’s your mom, best friend, and mother-in-law—now is a good time to start bonding. When a bride comes in with an entourage, and everyone has an opinion, it’s difficult for her to express herself. Often she ends up not making a decision and will come back on her own another day.

Keep an open mind. More often than not, brides choose dresses that look nothing like the pictures they bring in, so try on everything the consultant brings you, even if it doesn’t look like “you.” Wedding gowns are made differently than regular dresses—they have layers and linings that pull you in in all the right places, so a style that doesn’t normally flatter you might be just the one for your wedding.

Choose the right color for your dress. Wedding dresses come in hundreds of shades of white. In terms of general categories, you’ll find “diamond white,” also known as “silk white,” and light, medium, and dark ivory, but these vary quite a bit depending on the designer. Most gowns don’t actually come in pure white, which is good because it washes out all but the darkest skin tones.

Pick out the right style which can accent you. Two styles I love right now are the one-shoulder dresses—think of Michelle Obama’s gorgeous, ivory inaugural gown—and the dresses with illusion necklines. The latter have a sheer fabric overlay that extends from bust to collar, providing some coverage while still looking sexy. Both styles are flattering on most brides, incredibly chic, and I predict they’ll stand the test of time.

Pay close attention to the fabric, making sure it’s not too shiny, scratchy, or heavy—even a multi-layered princess gown shouldn’t feel like it’s adding ten pounds to your frame. Also, because the embellishments on inexpensive dresses can sometimes be gaudy, I’d go with something simple and jazz it up with a great accessory, like a crystal belt, vintage broach, or silk flower pin. If you’re hunting for a true bargain, visit bridal salon websites to find out when they have trunk shows and sales.

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