I’ve read more articles on this than I can shake a bouquet at. I feel that I can even brag about being a pro since I have 2 daughters getting married (one this year and one next year). So we’ve got this shopping for dresses thing down to a science. Unfortunately not all of the situations we ran into were great, but they lead to one amazing experience and 2 of the most perfect dresses, for the most unique of sisters in one shop.
Give yourself plenty of time
Whether you are ordering a dress, or getting one off the rack and altered, give yourself plenty of time. My recommendation would be at least a year before you wedding. Sometimes you get LUCKY and the dress you fall in love with fits like a glove and you can still sit down in it. Consider having the salon clean and press it for your perfection if you are buying off the rack. Remember to check with their recommended time in advance.
We got lucky and were able to walk in on a Sunday, but as the wedding season approaches… that’s not always the case. Some salons are appointment only so they can take care of your needs and have the available staff necessary. You will likely need an appointment for alterations too, as many seamstresses are not always in.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET AND ENFORCE IT
With my first daughter, we went into a swanky looking salon. Upon being introduced to our salesperson she asked what the budget was. This was confusing to us as moments later she showed us a dress more than double the budget. Was the dress amazing on her? My daughter is gorgeous who are we kidding. Had the cost not been followed with the need for a remortgage… it was the perfect dress.
Consider the cost of alterations, taxes and perhaps shipping. Do you want some extra bling on a belt to go with that dress? How about a veil? Flowers? Headband with enough glitter to look like you were attacked by Tinker Bell? Yup…it’s gonna cost you. Decide where you want to spend the money and where you can save.
Dress for the occasion
Heels or flats? Don’t forget the undergarments and make up. Looking in the mirror and seeing your hair in a lovely style will go a long way towards finding the look you are after. Leave the black strappy bra at home and consider a nude strapless. It’ll give you a better sense of how the gown will actually look and feel. If you’ve got accessories in mind, bring those too, but place them on after you put on the dress and before you take it off.
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF
I saw a lovely dress under the budget. I quickly mentioned to the sales lady that I would love to see her try it on. Her reply, “Oh no, that’s not her style.” Even after telling the attendant she’d love to try it on, she repeated that it was not her style. Needless to say, we walked out of the store and searched else where.
Strike 2 – Even if something is outside of your “style” if the sales person is not allowing you freedom to choose, it’s time to move on to another store because the experience may go down hill from there. But there is hope!
KEEP YOUR MIND OPEN
A week later, we came across the most perfect boutique just on the corner of Academy Road and Larnark Street called 7th Avenue Fashions. It was the best experience we could have asked for. With the budget in mind we were invited to look through the aisle of sales racks. It was like a heaven filled with beautiful wedding dresses. As we started pulling dresses the sales ‘angel’ was there to bring them to the dressing room.
Of course as my duty as mother of the bride and faithful viewer of “What Not to Wear” and “Say Yes to the Dress” I was well versed in the rule that you must try on things that you would not have considered. We didn’t walk in planning to find a dress that day. I can hardly express how beautiful they all were. A choice was made and is stored safely at my home away from the prying eyes of a fiancé and tucked safely away from cats.
Keep your AUDIENCE MINIMAL.
Ultimately you want to bring someone you are closest to who will listen to what you want. They can certainly give great suggestions and opinions but will remember it is your day and your style. It should be a fun experience.
“Keep it fun”
It’s the best and single advice, as stated by Melina De Luca co-owner of 7th Avenue. And I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely! Make it a day.
Brides: Humour your Mothers and try on a couple of her pickings. You never know if she might just find you “the dress.” Worked out in our case.
Mother of the Bride: It’s your Daughter’s day. You can smile, tear up and agree wholeheartedly with her choice.
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