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Your wedding day is on the horizon, and it’s time to find the perfect bridal gown. For most women, this is their first time shopping for a wedding dress, and it can be a daunting task. Not only are wedding dresses expensive, but they also set the tone for the entire event. Picking out a dress can feel like an overwhelming experience, especially with all of the different styles and fabrics available today.

To help you find your dream wedding dress amidst all of the stress, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 tips to make your wedding dress search easier.

Set a Budget

It’s important to remember that the cost of an entire wedding ensemble may include various items, such as a veil, undergarments, and accessories. Depending on the complexity of dress alterations, the cost could add hundreds or even thousands more than what was originally budgeted. Before you start dress shopping, take the time to set a wedding budget and make sure the wedding planner is aware of it. This ensures you won’t be tempted to buy something outside your price range due to impulse.

In addition to alterations and accessories, costs like shipping fees and professional pressing/steaming can add up quickly. Professional pressing and steaming can typically cost around £100+. The total spent on items related to the outfit you’ll be wearing for your wedding may end up being 10-15% of the total wedding costs. Therefore, you must plan ahead with a budget in mind so that you don’t overspend or get into financial trouble.

When creating a budget for your dress shopping experience, factor in any potential mishaps or unplanned expenses. For instance, if you’ve found “the one” but it needs some work done before it’s ready for your big day, be prepared with extra funds just in case something goes wrong during alteration or tailoring processes. Likewise, if you’re having difficulties finding accessories within your budget range, try looking at thrift stores or online second-hand sites where plenty of beautiful finds are waiting.

Start Early

It is important to start your search for the perfect wedding dress as early as possible in order to avoid any potential stress or rush orders that may ensue. Starting early can provide you with more options and choices, allowing you to find the look that best suits your needs. Plus, it takes manufacturers an average of 4 months to produce a gown and 2 more months to make any alterations if needed. If your timeline is tight, there are a few other ways that could help you find the perfect dress on time.

Many stores offer rush orders with limited options – although this could be expensive and may not give you the same amount of choice – or have sample dresses that need minor adjustments. It is also advisable to check with other stores that may have already-made or pre-ordered dresses in your size, which they could rent out or sell at a discounted price.

In addition, searching for a wedding dress also allows brides to get creative and explore alternative options such as vintage designs, bespoke pieces by independent designers, luxurious fabrics like silk and lace, or opting for stylish separates. There are so many possibilities out there now.

Make a Game Plan

Be sure to bring along any accessories you might want to add to your dress when shopping. This way, you can get a better idea of how it will look all put together before purchasing. If alterations are available, make sure to ask about the cost and turnaround time. Researching stores in advance is also a good way to find out if there are any discounts or promotions currently running; some stores may even offer free shipping on certain purchases.

Additionally, scheduling an appointment gives the store ample time to prepare for your visit and have a selection of dresses ready that meet your criteria. Taking photos of yourself in each dress can also be helpful later on when deciding between different styles or colours. However, be mindful that some stores may not allow photos until after a purchase has been made. It’s important to set realistic expectations when shopping for the perfect wedding dress, so don’t be afraid to take breaks throughout the day if you feel overwhelmed.

Keep an Open Mind

When picking the perfect wedding dress, it is important to keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to try on various styles and designs, even if they may not be what you originally had in mind for your special day.

Not all dresses look the same when hung up compared to when worn – many can have a much more flattering fit that may surprise you. Make sure to take some time and really think about what style of dress you ultimately want to wear and feel comfortable in.

Consider the shape of your body, personal taste, the type of atmosphere you wish to create at your wedding ceremony and reception, as well as any other factors that are important to you.

Stick to the Theme

When choosing the right wedding gown for your special day, there are many considerations to take into account. Depending on the theme of your celebration, you may opt for something traditional and timeless, like a classic white dress or an elegant ball gown with intricate lace details.

If you’re going for something more modern, consider selecting a sleek and stylish contemporary design with minimal embellishments or a vibrant two-tone colour palette. You may even want to choose a non-traditional option, such as a jumpsuit or romper in a bohemian style.

It is also important to think about fabric choices carefully, as certain fabrics may be more suitable based on your wedding’s location and season. For example, if you plan to get married outdoors during the summertime, lighter materials such as chiffon can help keep you cool while still looking beautiful and fashionable. On the other hand, if it is wintertime or if your ceremony will be held indoors, heavier fabrics like velvet can provide additional warmth without compromising style. No matter what type of dress you select, remember that it should reflect both your personal tastes and the vibe of your big day.

Ultimately, the key is to ensure that whatever you wear compliments your overall vision and will make you look and feel beautiful on this special occasion.