Things You Need to Know Before You Buy Your Wedding Dress

wedding dress

Whether you’ve been envisioning your wedding dress since you were five or you’re just getting around to tackling this once-in-a-lifetime task after the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a lot that goes into finding your dream gown. From understanding what impacts your total dress costs to learning the terms that bridal stylists use, here are a few things you need to know before you start shopping.

Your wedding dress is not just a dress; it’s the overall look of your day that includes all the other details like shoes, jewelry and a veil. The average wedding dress costs in the US is $2,100, but that figure doesn’t include additional costs like alterations or accessories.

When it comes to choosing your gown color, most brides stick with white. But that’s not necessarily the case: 14 percent of brides wear a non-white wedding dress and more than one-third would consider a colored gown. Regardless of what hue you choose, make sure you choose it for you. It’s easy to bow to the opinions of others, especially those close to you, but it’s important to go with what feels right.

The neckline of your dress is the first thing people will notice and it can define your entire look. Form-fitting necklines like sheath, bateau and jewel are flattering for nearly everyone and allow for lace or satin embellishments that add extra style. Off-the-shoulder, sweetheart and halter necklines reveal more skin (including cleavage) and are great for sexy, romantic styles.

Choosing the right sleeves can also add a bit of drama to your gown. Barely-there cap sleeves are a classic choice, while maxi puff sleeves or spaghetti straps can be dramatic and lingerie-inspired.

Sleeves can be adorned with lace, beading or embroidery to create more visual interest, but be sure that the style you choose complements the rest of your look. If you’re not a fan of bare shoulders, try on dresses with sleeves in addition to those without them so that you can get a feel for how they might look on your big day.

Most wedding dresses come with a built-in slip called a lining that’s often made of the same fabric as your skirt. The lining prevents your gown from being too sheer and also provides some structure to the skirt. If you opt for a dress with beading or other embroidery, the lining may protect it from getting itchy.

To help you see what your dress will really look like on your big day, have a friend or family member take pictures and videos of you while you’re trying on dresses. It’s difficult to tell in a mirror how a dress will fit when you have on bra and underwear, so having a video is invaluable for seeing how your gown will actually look. Be sure to have someone take a variety of angles so that you can see how the dress looks from the back and side views as well.

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