Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Buying a gown

The wedding gown has become an icon in Western culture.  Many wedding professionals  use your gown as a guide to your style. Everyone you know will have an opinion about what you should wear, and there are literally, thousands of choices available.

I used to sell wedding gowns.  It was a job that was frustrating, entertaining and challenging. My expereinces, however, can benefit you.  Here's all my best advice about gown shopping in a convient list format.

  • Get an idea about what you think you want before you head to a store.  Once you walk in and see a thousand dresses hanging up, it' get's overwhelming.
  • Make appointments to guarantee you will have time with at a salon.
  • For the first few rounds of shopping, take only one or two people who know your taste and want to help you look your best.  I can't tell you how many times I had a bride with an entire entourage (every single one of them with their own agenda) and no clue about what she wanted.  It makes for craziness.  Narrow down your choices first, then bring the whole crowd for the final round (once you've narrowed the selections to two or three).  This will make life much easier for you and your bridal consultant.
  • Be open to trying on a couple of suggestions that you hadn't considered.  A good bridal consultant will know the store's stock, the dressmaker's offerings and have experience with the best gowns for your shape.  You could be pleasantly surprised to find the perfect dress isn't one you had thought of.
  • Also, don't be afraid to ask for a different consultant if the one you start out with isn't a good match.
  • Gowns from most lower and mid range dressmakers will take 8-12 weeks for delivery and then alterations will take about 2-3 weeks on top.  Give yourself time.
  • Get recommendations from people about seamstresses.  Trust me when I say some "professionals" are not.
  • If you are looking for a unique gown, try etsy or other artisan sites.  For period clothing, try Renstore.com, Victorian Trading Co., Amazon Dry Goods, Folkware (patterns only), or vintage clothing stores.
  • Bridesmaids dresses are a great alternative for less formal or inexpensive events.  They are also available in a rainbow of colors.
  • Your gown should be ordered in your current size and altered to fit. Don't bank on losing weight to fit a smaller gown.  Also, don't freak out when you see the number on the size chart.  Formal wear is often sized differently from your everyday clothing.
  • If you can spend time during the week to shop for your gown, you will get more time and better service than on the weekends.
  • Don't let people talk you into things you hate.  You can try them on and discard them, but don't settle.
  • Have fun!
Happy shopping!