Before you shop for your wedding dress
Before you shop for your wedding dress

One of the biggest decisions you will face as the big day approaches is the DRESS. The process of shopping for a wedding dress can be a fabulous adventure, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming--particularly because a bride-to-be often starts shopping for her dress before many other details of her wedding are determined. You might have had a clear mental picture of the dress for you since you were five years old. On the other hand, you may have no idea what you are going to wear or feel strange about the idea of wearing white. The important thing is to relax, and remember that there are as many different kinds of dresses out there as there are different kinds of brides.

Take a few minutes to think about what you want. It will be helpful when you enter the maze of dresses out there to know what your budget is, any details that are essential (i.e. I won't feel like a bride without a full skirt or if I don't have a cathedral length train, I don't wanna get married at all), and an idea of how traditional you want your dress to be. after all, if a teal pantsuit would work best for you, it's probably not worth your time to sort through racks of fluency white dresses.

Give yourself ample time to plan- generally, the rule of thumb is that you need to order your gown at least six months before your wedding. So you should ideally start shopping for your gown for nine months or more before your wedding. (If you don't have this much time, it is okay, just budget for some rush charges).

On your wedding day, you'll want to look great, but you'll also want to be comfortable- it will be hard to pose for all those pictures, dance, laugh, and more if you're tugging your dress up or have boning jutting into your ribs. First- consider which dress is most appropriate for your day? for example- consider a shorter tea-length or cocktail-length dress for a beach wedding. If you're the kinda gal who likes to dance with her hands in the air and anticipates doing the limbo, perhaps a strapless dress is not the one for you.

Think about your body type and what kinds of dresses generally look good on you. If a friend is making your wedding dress, ensure that you have agreed on a fitting schedule and chances to make adjustments. If you've purchased your dress at a sample sale, or discount outlet, you should budget money for taking the dress to a good tailor. Most designers will ask for three fittings, and will closely tailor your dress to fit you.

If money is an issue, remember that the most expensive kind of dress is not necessarily the best kind. Many brides find a bridesmaids dress in white or off-white that works perfectly, and is hundreds of dollars cheaper. There are thousands of dresses to be had at sample sales, thrift stores, and eBay. Consider taking pictures from magazines to a friend who sews or seamstress and getting a price quote. If you choose to make your own dress, don't delay. The sooner you finish it, the sooner you'll be able to attend to the many other details of your wedding.

Most of all, remember- this is your wedding day. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and feels like you. And have fun shopping for your dress. It should be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.