When shopping for wedding gowns I always say the more dresses you try on, the better. This advice may make your local bridal shop salespeople cringe, but you've never worn a wedding dress before, and many people end up buying a dress completely different than what they originally had in mind. I encourage all brides to get a feel for each type of dress and how it will look on your body type before you commit. Also, certain types of fabric will be much heavier than others. If you're a dancing queen, you are not going to want to wear a dress that you have to lug around all night. The dress that appeals to your eyes may not work at all for your event once you try it on. If your local bridal store doesn't work with you on this, take a day trip to an out of town shop. You will only wear this dress once, and being uncomfortable (or not feeling absolutely drop dead gorgeous) could put a damper on your whole day. As for where to shop, I strongly encourage mom and pop type bridal shops, as on the whole they will give better customer service than franchises. You may get lucky at that shop that has the annual $99.00 sale, but for the most part, if the dress is really important to you, smaller businesses will care more about your purchase and understand your budgetary needs.
And speaking of budgetary needs, don't discount the idea of wearing a bridesmaid dress on your big day. I know, I know, we've all been bridesmaids too many times to put on another one of those God awful dresses, but hear me out. The average wedding dress runs about $1500.00. There are some brides that want intricate details and are willing to fork out the money for them, but many brides like the idea of a simple, sleek satin gown that's lightweight and shows off our curves (I know I did!). Many bridal designers make bridesmaid collections in long and elegant styles. You will have to use your imagination when trying on these dresses, as most shops only carry 1 or 2 samples of each dress, and they typically only have the season's hot colors (think coral, chartreuse and eggplant), but they CAN be ordered in white, ivory and champagne.
Insipired by a friend of mine, I investigated this option and ended up finding a dress I loved. Above is a photo of my "bridesmaid" wedding gown. It's from www.impressionbridal.com. Total cost: $175.00.
Another way to cut corners on the dress is to start shopping early! If you can start shopping about a year early, you may be able to get a great deal on a gown once the seasons change. Also, although designers constantly come out with new collections, many bridal gowns are classic and do not need to be updated year to year. You may find a beautiful, classic dress from 3 seasons ago that has been drastically reduced if you take the time to look.
For the "Non traditional" brides...you have literally TONS of thrifty options!
If you are a casual bride thinking about a short but elegant dress, please do not waste your hard earned money on a $500.00 "bridal" dress that looks just like a regular, short cocktail dress...Save your money for the good stuff, like adding bacon wrapped scallops to the menu, or buy yourself some gorgeous lingerie for the wedding night. Some of the short gowns are extremely detailed and absolutely beautiful, but more often than not, I see brides in a short, satin gown that looks like it came from Macy's prom section...Which, by the way, is EXACTLY what I suggest. If you can start shopping early, check out all of your local department stores around homecoming, winter holidays, and prom season (and again, don't forget to check out the bridesmaid dresses). This option is also GREAT for traditional brides looking for a "reception dress." Splurge on the fantasy ballgown for the ceremony and pictures, and after your first dance, head to your bridal suite to change into the white or ivory cocktail dress that you scored a deal on at the department store.
If you're a beach or backyard BBQ bride, check stores like American Eagle or Hollister. They almost always have sweet, cotton, white dresses especially in summertime. Dress it up with a belt and some cowboy boots or a thick satin ribbon from your local craft store.
When it comes to the dress, many of us can only envision looking like Cinderella, but the truth is there are many different kinds of princesses and every bride has a different style. Don't feel boxed in by what you "think" you should wear, and certainly don't be pressured by the first bridal shop that you visit to drop hundreds or thousands on a dress that you aren't sure about. Take your time, and when it's right...the dress will tell you.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.