Think Say Yes to the Dress has taught you practically everything you need to know about shopping for a wedding dress? Think again! From what time of day to book your appointment to sneaky ways to save on a full price gown, here are six tips you probably haven’t seen on TV.
1. Comfort breeds confidence.
Despite how killer your friends and family (and yourself!) think you look in a particular dress, if you don’t feel like your natural self in it, then it’s not the one, says Nicole Staple, co-founder of Brideside and a recent bride herself. “I almost chose a gown that was stunning, but ultimately was too statue-esque and better suited for standing in one place rather than moving, bending and sitting,” she describes.
2. Most dresses look really bad on the hanger
Wedding dresses have a ton of detail that can totally weigh down a gown, making it sag on a hanger, points out bridal expert and editorial director of You & Me TV, Anne Chertoff. “Unlike shopping for a shirt or daytime dress, you won’t really know what a wedding dress will look like on you until you actually try it on.” Her advice? “Keep an open mind and trust the consultant when she says the dress looks better on the body than it does on the hanger.”
3. The best time to book an appointment is on a weekday morning.
That is, if you can swing it. “Most bridal salons are completely booked with appointments on the weekends, which doesn’t allow for yours to go over the set time,” explains Lelia Rice, Assistant Store Manager and Marketing Coordinator at Caryn’s Bridals, Formals & Tuxedos. “Scheduling an appointment on a weekday morning will ensure you have a more personalized experience and will help you to not feel rushed.” Plus, your appointment will actually start on time and that’s always good.
4. Bridal sizes run much smaller than street wear.
Before you freak out in the dressing room and refuse to try on any gowns until you drop 10 pounds, remember that bridal sizes run about two sizes smaller than street clothes, notes Rice.
5. You should always dance before you buy.
When you finally find the dress that you love, Ilana Stern, CEO of Weddington Way, recommends dancing like there’s no tomorrow! “Both because you’ve finally found your gown and because being able to dance comfortably in it is a key criteria for the perfect wedding dress.”
WEDDING planner and guide Calendar Checklist The following checklist is an ideal timetable. Couples who do not have as much time as shown should plan their wedding in much the same order, using the checklist as a guide. Be sure to check things off as they are completed. immediately after the engagement:
❐ Discuss a budget and the size and style of the wedding with parents. Decide who pays for what.
❐ Choose a wedding date and time. You may want to check vendor availability prior to setting date.
❐ Create a binder to organize your thoughts, photos, worksheets, etc.
❐ If using a wedding consultant, enlist their services.
❐ Make initial contact with vendors and obtain references.
❐ Meet with clergymember; schedule pre-marital counseling.
❐ Reserve wedding and reception sites; make initial catering contacts.
❐ Register at local bridal registries.
❐ Hire photographer.
❐ Hire videographer.
❐ Make arrangements for the music at the wedding and reception.
❐ Make all transportation arrangements to and from the wedding and the reception.
Consider hiring a limousine, party bus, trolley or horse-drawn carriage.
Six months or more before:
❐ Compile the guest list.
❐ Send out Save the Date cards.
❐ Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
❐ Choose wedding rings.
❐ Send engagement announcement to newspapers.
❐ Select and order wedding gown, leaving ample time for delivery and alterations.
❐ Look for alteration specialist (if some – one other than bridal shop).
❐ Select the attendants (bridesmaids and groomsmen). Choose and order brides – maids dresses.
❐ Purchase invitations.
❐ Select one usher for every 50 guests.
❐ Schedule wedding cake design appoint – ment. Get estimates. Book the date.
❐ Implement diet and exercise program.
❐ Plan beauty preparations by checking with your salon for how far in advance they book wedding parties.
❐ Complete all honeymoon plans. If traveling outside the country, check on visas, passports and inoculations.
❐ Sign up for dance lessons. Talk to instructor about choreographing a special dance routine to “wow” guests.
❐ Book vendors, securing dates by putting down deposit.
Five month or more before:
❐ Ready all accessories, shoes and lingerie for bridal gown.
❐ Have beauty consultant do a trial run with bride’s hair and makeup.
Schedule this appointment on the day the bridal portait is taken and/or a party is planned or schedule on the day of your final dress fitting to see exactly how you will look on wedding day.
❐ Have final fitting for bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses.
❐ Have bridal portrait taken.
❐ Have groomsmen registered and measured at the formal wear store.
❐ Check with the newspapers on wedding announcement requirements.
❐ Finalize plans for rehearsal dinner.
❐ Plan seating arrangements for the rehearsal dinner and reception.
❐ Review this checklist to be sure nothing has been missed.
❐ Complete change-of-address information for post-office.
❐ Keep current with “Thank You” notes for shower and early wedding gifts.
Four months or more before:
❐ Confirm final details with the caterer.
❐ Order napkins and purchase any other items needed for the ceremony and reception.
Check with the caterer to see what he/she includes.
❐ Order invitations (25 extra) and personal stationery or “Thank You” notes.
❐ Book engagement photo session with enough time to submit photos to local newspapers.
❐ Visit the photographer again to discuss specifics. Use the “Photography Worksheet. ”
❐ Get estimates and order flowers and floral arrangements for wedding and reception.
❐ Get estimates and order balloons, decorations and favors for wedding and reception.
❐ Book room for wedding night.
Three months or more before:
❐ Order wedding rings. Allow time for any final engraving.
❐ Order tuxedos for the groomsmen and fathers.
Two months or more before:
❐ Mail invitations (six weeks before the wedding; eight weeks to out-of-town guests).
❐ Buy a wedding gift for future spouse and gifts for attendants and helpers.
❐ Finalize arrangements of accommodations for out-of-town attendants and guests.
Two weeks before:
❐ Get the marriage license. Be sure to bring all needed documents.
❐ Inform or send rehearsal invitations including exact time and location to those who will attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
❐ Inquire about where bride, groom and attendants will dress for the ceremony.
❐ Review all details. Walk through the entire event considering things like parking, access for handicapped guests, etc.
❐ Confirm all transportation plans.
❐ Check in with caterer, photographer, videographer, musicians, DJ, florist, etc. to confirm all arrangements.
❐ “Break in” wedding shoes at home.
One week before:
❐ Appoint someone to act as an “organizer” to handle any last minute problems.
❐ Give a final guest count to the caterer.
❐ Review final details for those in the wedding party.
❐ Confirm honeymoon arrangements.
❐ Pack for the honeymoon.
❐ Enjoy a day with family and friends. Visit a day spa, have a massage, a facial and relax.
One day before:
❐ Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and give gifts to attendants.
❐ Give the rings and clergy’s fee to the best man.
❐ Organize gown, accessories, etc. to go to ceremony.
❐ Get a manicure and pedicure.
On the wedding day:
❐ Mail wedding announcements.
❐ Get hair, makeup, etc. done.
❐ Enjoy the day! Budget