Wedding ceremony at The Tree with white fabric draped to form an arch. Only the back of the couple is visible, with the bride wearing a long white wedding dress and the groom wearing a tan suit.

Every bride wants to find the perfect wedding dress that makes her feel beautiful. Take some things into consideration when choosing a wedding dress to narrow the options. This allows you to find the right dress for you with the least fuss and bother.

Start With a Budget

Before even starting to choose a wedding dress, set your budget. You need to know how much you can afford to spend (including alterations and accessories). You don’t want to fall in love with a dress that’s out of your reach. Falling in love with a dress that costs too much makes it hard to be happy with another dress. Be prepared to pay a deposit of half the cost of the dress when you order it. Ask the employees to show you the least expensive options first. They can work their way up to more expensive options.

Shop for Your Dress as Early as Possible

Don’t leave choosing a wedding dress to the last minute. It often takes months for a designer to create the dress and make any necessary alterations. If you’re on a tight timeline, you’ll have fewer options. You may have to pay additional rush fees to get the dress ready in time. Most experts recommend starting shopping at least nine months before the wedding.

Consider the Locations and Theme of the Wedding and Reception

Location matters. For a beach wedding, you won’t want a long train or a ball gown. If you’re getting married in a church, be respectful. Don’t wear a dress that’s too revealing. If you’re getting married somewhere warm, certain materials aren’t right. They’re too heavy and wouldn’t be comfortable. Don’t choose a wedding dress made of very thin material for a winter wedding.

Research Dress Styles and Terms

Learn the proper terminology to make it easier to tell people what you want when choosing a wedding dress. Being able to describe the style of dress helps salespeople bring you the right styles. This limits wasted time.

Collect Examples of Dresses You Like

It helps when choosing a wedding dress to have examples of dresses you like. This gives salespeople a starting point when they’re helping you try on dresses. Know exactly what you like about each dress. This will help the salespeople branch out with more options.

Choose Styles That Flatter Your Body Type

An A-line, v-neck, or spaghetti-strap dress suits a pear-shaped bride. The same style of dress with a deep V neckline and extra detail on the bodice flatters an apple-shaped bride. A sweetheart or scooped neckline is flattering on brides who are large-chested. Plus-sized brides often appear their best in Empire dresses made of more structured material. Tall women should stick to simple dresses that sweep the floor and have a low waist. Short women look better in a sheath, trumpet, or A-line gown that has a waistline above their natural waist rather than ball gowns or drop-waisted dresses.

Don’t Forget to Take Comfort Into Account

No matter how beautiful a dress looks on you, you won’t be happy if you’re uncomfortable. Pick a wedding dress that is both comfortable and flattering. You don’t want to be fidgeting with your dress at the wedding.

Plan Ahead

Before heading out to try on dresses, call the stores you want to visit. You often need an appointment. It’s best to schedule your appointment early in the day during the week. Appointments on a Saturday or a lunch hour are more hectic and harder to get. Find out what their price range is for dresses and which designers they carry. It may turn out it isn’t worth your time to visit certain stores when choosing a wedding dress. These stores may be out of your price range or may not carry the designers you are interested in. Calling ahead is important for plus-sized brides. Not all stores carry plus-sized samples. The store may need time to get them in before your appointment.

Bring Accessories You Already Own

If you already have a veil or shoes or know which undergarments you plan to wear, bring these when choosing a wedding dress. This helps you make sure everything works together. It alerts you to any additional items you may need to buy. Strapless nude undergarments work well with most styles. You’ll want to bring your Spanx if you plan to wear them for the wedding.

Watch For Sales

Check the websites of the salons you plan on visiting to find out if they have trunk sales or sample sales. This can help you get a dress for less that might otherwise be outside your budget. However, don’t buy a dress just because it’s a good deal. Only buy a dress you love and one that fits or that you can alter to fit.

Be Open-Minded

Don’t worry about the size that a dress says on the label. Wedding dress sizes run much smaller than those for regular clothes. Also, try on dresses even if they don’t look perfect on the hanger. Wedding dresses may appear boring on the hanger but amazing on your body. Listen to the staff and be open to their choices. The dress you fell in love with on Pinterest might not be right for you.

Consider Travel Arrangements

When choosing a wedding dress, keep in mind any travel arrangements. If you’re flying, it won’t be easy to travel with a very large and heavy gown.

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