How to Choose a Wedding Dress

Whether it’s an intimate family affair or a grand-scale event, the wedding dress is a bride’s most significant outfit. Since antiquity, the gown has been used to symbolize a young woman’s passage from the virginal, springtime realm of childhood to adulthood, and the promise of children and a new life. The color white, often associated with purity and innocence, also has been a tradition for many cultures. The wedding dress may carry symbolism that reflects a family’s heritage, religious beliefs or personal history.

It’s important to have an idea of what you want before you start shopping, because a gown that fits and flatters your figure can be very expensive. It’s also helpful to have an approximate budget in mind, and a good salesperson should never pressure you into spending more than you can afford.

Before your first appointment, it’s a good idea to determine who will be paying for the gown (your parents, your partner, you?) and what the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend is. This will prevent you from falling in love with a gown that is beyond your price range, which can be incredibly depressing.

When choosing a gown, make sure to factor in the cost of alterations as well. Nearly all gowns need some tweaking for a picture-perfect fit, including taking the side seams in or out, adding ties or buttons for a bustle, shortening straps, inserting bra cups and more. If you have an idea of what you’d like to do, ask the dressmaker for a ballpark figure of how much it will cost to add these details to your dress.

Another factor that’s important to consider is the venue and vibe of your wedding, as this can influence your gown choice. A dress that’s more casual and relaxed will pair nicely with a garden-party-themed wedding, while a gown that’s more glamorous and formal will look gorgeous at an elegant ballroom.

Once you’ve narrowed down your gown options, take a moment to think about what type of fabric you want for your dress. Satins, which are smooth and shiny, are a classic option. Charmeuse is a lightweight silk blend that offers less luster and gloss, while shantung is a textured weave that can have a nubby quality. Chiffon and organza are gauzy, translucent fabrics that can create a flowing skirt. Lace and embellishments can add a touch of romantic femininity to any gown, as well as bold detail and visual interest.

It’s also a good idea to research airline size specifications beforehand, so you don’t fall in love with a dress that won’t be allowed on the plane. And remember to add extra room when measuring for your gown, because even an inch up or down can throw off the final result. Finally, make sure to get a professional to take your measurements. A seamstress can help you determine the best size for your gown, and ensure that the measurements are accurate so that your dress fits like a dream.

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