Choosing the perfect dress

editorial image

Searching for the perfect dress? Here are a few tips to make it easier.

l Set a budget –Figure out how much you want to spend, and tell the salesperson before she starts bringing out gowns. That way you won’t lose your heart to a dress you can’t afford.

l Start early –Begin shopping six to nine months before your wedding. It takes about four months for a manufacturer to make a dress and another two months to complete the alterations.

l Do your research – Look at magazines, books and websites to learn about fabrics and silhouettes so you can better convey what you’re looking for. Start a folder with pictures of dresses or details that appeal to you, and take it with you.

l Make a game plan – Decide where you want to go and call stores to find out which designers they carry, the price range of their dresses, and if they sell accessories and provide alterations. Most salons ask you to make an appointment.

l Bring backup – Take anything you know you want to wear, such as a special necklace or veil. You’ll also need the advice of a few trusted confidantes, but not too many!

l Find a dress for less –You don’t have to spend thousands. Besides having sale racks, many shops hold big sales once or twice a year to clear samples.

l Keep an open mind – Some dresses don’t look much on the hanger but look great on. On the other hand, never let yourself be talked into purchasing a gown you’re not in love with.

l Focus on fit, not size –Bridalwear often runs smaller than ready-to-wear; if you normally buy an eight, you may need a 12. Don’t buy a smaller size because you intend to lose weight before the wedding – order the one that fits now.

l Get it in writing – Before putting down a deposit, go over the contract. Find out when the gown will be ready, the estimated fee for alterations, what the cancellation policy is, and what recourse you have if the dress is damaged or comes without the requested modifications.