Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wedding Planning 101 - Part 3

Yesterday, I posted part 2 of my personal wedding planning handbook...I am really making this all up based upon my own experience of planning a wedding - and working with 100's of brides when I owned my shop! You would be amazed at how a bridal store owner (well, an owner that works really closely with their customers) can become a new best friend to a bride! I think, because brides are really looking for someone to HELP them and someone who isn't focusing on them their own personal agenda. This was the part I really loved about having my shop - helping brides! I can't even begin to count the number of invitations I received to be a guest at weddings (talk about "always a bridesmaid"...I was more like the "always a guest..."!) but...we are getting off topic here! What I am trying to stress at this point is we are not at very crucial point in wedding planning where you, the bride, seriously need support and help!! It's time to start dress shopping!!

There are literally thousands of wedding dresses to choose from! I have my own personal opinions on dresses - I don't think you have to spend $1000's of dollars on a dress. It is ONE day...and it is ONE dress. Plus, you have a budget to stick to - remember? It doesn't stop at just the dress! You have to factor in: alterations, special undergarments, shoes, slip, veil, jewelry....! Some people may have a huge budget and the price tag doesn't matter (lucky you!). I think some brides may get sticker shock when they first start looking. I also think that a lot of people want to find a bargain (or a discount) once they find the dress and this is ok. Who doesn't try to find the best price - whatever it is you are shopping for? I know I am a total bargain shopper, no matter what I am buying and a wedding dress shouldn't be any different! I am basing this post on THE DRESS at this point because I think there is a lot to cover on this aspect of your wedding.

My advice at this point: keep an open mind! Try on different styles because you will walk in with an idea of a dress you want and you might just end up with something totally different! I NEVER thought I would wear a strapless gown...but I did!

Ask about package deals. They really can save you money! Some bridal shops partner with other vendors or offer discounts on all kinds of other things you are going to need.

Ask about discounts. The old saying "the answer is no until you ask" is so true! Don't be afraid to ask if they are having any upcoming sales or specials. Ask if they price match - there are a lot of online retailers who offer dresses at a lower cost. Online discount sites are able to do this because you are not using their store, employee time, getting your dress steamed, storing it, etc. You are basically getting a gown in a box. Some stores might offer this same level of service.

Choose wisely when taking people with you. Once again you are going to run into everyone having their own opinion! Your mom is going to have a totally different view on which dress is the best and so will your best friend! YOU will know when the dress is right. You are going to be the one wearing it and you are going to be the one looking back at the pictures for the rest of your life! Go with your instinct! Listen to opinions, if you can, but the ultimate decision is yours!

I could go on and on about this topic - and over time we will get more in depth about dresses, dress shopping and other issues when it comes to bridal gowns. But for now, you have some tools to make appointments and get out there! Oh...and after dress would be a great time to get out to lunch with your mom, future MIL and bridesmaids. Tell them how much you appreciate all of them (even if you are frustrated with them! haha).


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