No matter if you have been dreaming about your wedding gown since you were five or are being forced into shopping by an overbearing future mother-in-law, it’s essential that your expectations stay realistic. Bridal consultants often report seeing women who come in expecting one thing but end up finding exactly what they needed after all!
The History of Wedding Dresses
Prior to the nineteenth century, wedding dresses often reflected social status and culture. Women of high social standing would wear elaborate fabrics and embroidery as a sign of family wealth and status.
As weddings became a religious celebration of purity and virginity, white gowns became the standard attire. Queen Victoria is often credited for popularizing them after wearing hers during her 1840 marriage.
As fashion trends evolved, more brides turned toward more contemporary silhouettes for their big day. Grace Kelly’s 1956 dress with its nipped-in waist and long lace sleeves was one of many influences for future brides wanting to emulate modern royalty. Princess Diana’s David Emanuel taffeta and silk gown with its 25-foot train and hand-embroidered mother-of-pearl sequins by David Emanuel set off a revolution among brides looking to emulate celebrity style while creating fairy-tale fantasies on their big day.
Budgeting for a Wedding Dress
Dress shopping should only be one expense on your wedding budget; before beginning to search for dresses.
Fabric types such as satin, silk and lace tend to command higher prices for dresses than less luxurious options like cotton or rayon; embellishments like beading and embroidery also increase its total price tag.
As part of your initial budget for dresses, be sure to factor in the costs associated with alterations. Most dresses will require some form of tailoring in terms of hemming and dart adjustments for it to fit perfectly – these can often be costly depending on their labor-intensive nature.
Consider also the cost of accessories such as jewelry, shoes and veil (if applicable) since these expenses can quickly add up.
Shopping for a Wedding Dress
Your special day deserves nothing less than perfect dress. But finding one can be dauntingly complex for brides-to-be who don’t know exactly what they want or the cost.
Before heading into your dress appointment, it’s essential that you have an idea of the kind of look you are after. This could mean looking at specific styles like Serena Williams’ cape or Pippa Middleton’s classic lace silhouette; or just having three words like romantic, glamorous and beautiful as your guide can help narrow down the options available to you.
Consider that most dresses aren’t carried at bridal salons, so an appointment will likely be required with a consultant to view and try on gowns. And it would be wise to avoid booking your appointment during busy weekend bridal shops; you may not receive as much personal attention or see that perfect gown.
Choosing a Wedding Dress
Finding your wedding gown can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of planning, but we have a few helpful tips that should make the experience less overwhelming.
Begin by narrowing down your options. Create a private Pinterest board to save photos of dresses you like and search for commonalities among them (e.g., designers or silhouettes).
Make sure that you bring along someone to take photos and videos as you try on dresses – every mirror makes you appear different, so having independent feedback before making your decision can be invaluable.
Make sure that all key aspects of your gown, such as length and neckline, meet your expectations before shopping. Doing this will help avoid returning it later on and is also good practice in discussing veil and accessory options with seamstress