your search for the perfect wedding dress at least six
to nine months ahead. Special orders can take four to six
plus time for alterations.
2. Keep your file
of photographs of dresses you like from bridal
magazines, advertisements and boutique promotions handy when
3. Choose a style
appropriate for the ceremony. For a formal
evening wedding, a floor-length dress in ivory, white, cream
champagne, often worn with gloves and a train, is an elegant
choice. Semiformal dresses can be also be pastels, a
floorbrushing (ballerina) length, with a short veil and no
At a less-formal or second wedding, the bride may choose a
or short dress, or even a two-piece suit. A short veil may
very stylish paired with a classic pillbox hat.
4. Flatter your
figure with a wedding dress that suits you. Take
a trusted, honest sister or friend who has your best interests
heart for feedback. Try one of each basic shape--princess,
gown, sheath and empire waist--to see which flatters you most.
Check that you can walk, turn, sit and bend comfortably, as
as lift your arms and hug loved ones without splitting a seam.
Comfort and confidence are vital on this day of days.
5. Shop at bridal
boutiques or department stores for a wide array
of styles. Try on a few designer gowns first so you recognize
quality, then choose a dress based on your budget.
6. Set a budget.
Off-the-rack wedding dresses can be found
for $250 and up. Jessica McClintock has a large selection
moderately priced gowns. A simple custom-made dress can be
for as little as $750, and can go as high as $10,000 for a
Wang, with many wedding dresses in the lower third of that
7. Ask when bridal
stores are next having a sample sale. Be on
the lookout for warehouse sales on discontinued styles, samples
8. Make the deposit
with a credit card. Get an itemized receipt
spelling out every detail (manufacturer's and design name,
number, price, color and size) and stating that the deal is
canceled if your wedding dress isn't ready by a specified
9. Budget for alterations,
which can run $300 or more. Ask if
pressing is included and if they'll store your wedding dress
until the big day. Also ask for recommendations for cleaning
and storing the dress.
Angela Reid is a writer, wedding planner and
consultant who has helped dozens of brides choose wedding
dresses and accessories for their special day. You can find
dozens of links, tips, tricks and secrets to finding the perfect
wedding dress at Angela's web site: