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Down The Aisle In Style

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

When planning your nuptials, few things are more exciting than shopping for your wedding gown. But at the same time, the process can be overwhelming. So many options, opinions, and bridal shops! Somewhere the perfect gown awaits. How can you go down the aisle in style? Here's a few suggestions.

Everything old is new again...perhaps there's an antique gown, worn by your grandmother, mother, or favorite aunt that can be restored. Fortunately, there are new technologies that can remove discoloration from these precious family heirlooms and return them to their original color.

Whether you know what you want or are still deciding, you'll need the help of a reputable, professional salesperson. Unlike your close friends or relatives, the salesperson is objective. She is seeing you for the first time and has no preconceived ideas about what you might like or dislike. Her only purpose is to assist in finding a dress you love, a dress in which you look your absolute best. A professional will help you find a gown that's flattering to your body shape and size. Keep in mind, objectivity is not criticism. Even the most gorgeous-looking models routinely have professional help.

Most experts say begin shopping for your gown at least five months prior to the wedding date. Be sure to shop at several different stores and spread the shopping over several weeks, or even months. If you attempt to find the perfect dress in just one day, you'll exhaust yourself and may regret your choice later.

Wear make-up and bring shoes of a heel height similar to what you plan to wear at the wedding. If possible, style your hair as you plan to wear it that day. Also, bring appropriate undergarments such as a strapless bra, if you plan on an off-the-shoulder style or strapless dress.

Invite one person along who knows your tastes and can give a reliable, HONEST second opinion, an opinion you trust. Having more than one person along can mean even more opinions and that can be confusing.

Accent attractive areas by selecting gowns with detailing in those areas to draw the eye. In order to minimize large areas, choose styles with virtually no details in the area you want to minimize, i.e., large bust, no ruffles on the front, for example. To slenderize, you'll want to lengthen vertical lines by choosing styles with pressed pleats, vertical tucks, button front closing, v-necklines and princess seams. The more seams, darts, pleats or gathers in the figure area, the more opportunities to correct the fit without extensive and expensive alterations to the dress.

As you get closer to the style you prefer, start trying them on. When you're wearing it, do you still like the general style? While some gowns look sensational on the hanger, they're not so terrific on your body. Walk around the bridal shop with your slip and petticoats on to make sure they stay in place when you move around. You don't want your slip showing in the photos!

It happens all too often; the dress you love is considerably over your budget. You must ask yourself: do you really want to give up something in exchange for the gown, such as your honeymoon trip to Hawaii or the reception of your dreams? There's another option, ask for a very similar but less costly dress.


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