Thursday, June 12, 2008

All Dressed In ...

Remember when you were little, when you and your girlfriends would play dress-up with curtains as veils and be princesses or brides or even better, princess brides?

Wedding dreams are a staple of a young girl's fantasy life - and the main aspect of that fantasy is the dream wedding gown.

There are as many dresses out there - at stores, on the internet, bridal gown salons - as there are brides.

One of the best ways to settle these issues is to go on what I call a preemptive shopping expedition. Choose a day - preferably a Saturday, several months before the wedding - and make appointments at two or three wedding gown salons.

In order to have this be a fun day instead of a chore, invite your mother, prospective mother-in-law, maid of honor and even bridesmaids to a nice brunch and make this a festive way to get the wedding preparations started happily.

After the get-together, all of you go to the gown salons and start the process of finding the right dress for the occasion.

(Hint: this is a day to focus on the wedding gown, mothers and bridesmaids dresses should be done at another session)

Try on all the dresses you can - from slinky sheaths to the Princess Diana wedding dress type and everything in-between. This first trip should not be about price. (Besides, how often can you go into a shop and say I want to try on a $10,000 dress and be taken seriously. Enjoy the sensation while you can!)

As you try on each dress, have your mom or someone take a digital photo of you in the gown from several angles. Do this for every gown you try on, even if you don't care for it. You never know, you may look really awesome and not even know it.

Do not make any commitment to buying a dress until you have comparison shopped. Have all the photos printed. Post them on a wall or a bulletin board - somewhere you can see all the gowns on you in one place. Then you can determine what you want.

If your choice is too expensive, try to find a clone of the gown in a less expensive fabric, or with less hand-sewn bead work. Visit an wedding dress website and see what can be done. Even go to a designer site and see if they have the gown you like on sale (unlikely but worth a shot!).

Once you've made your choice as to style, fit it in your budget and go with it. Hopefully this is a once in a lifetime investment - you are buying a wedding gown - not just a dress!

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