Brides: Be true to thyself when gown shopping

What do you think of when you hear the word wedding? Probably first and foremost it’s the bride in her gorgeous gown. So it’s not surprising that choosing the gown is an exciting albeit stressful endeavor?

“A bride should have an idea of what she’s looking for, but also keep an open mind,” said Molly Henry-Lincoln, sales associate at The Henry’s. “She should also be up front about her budget, even if it’s an estimated cost. The gown and accessories are generally 10 percent of the budget, but we’ll work with any budget.”

Know thyself
A bride’s gown is unlike no other. And that’s why it’s very important for the bride to have a general idea of what she likes. According to Henry-Lincoln, it’s important to look at Web sites, magazines, and other pictures before starting out on the quest for the perfect dress. The dress that looks superb in the magazine may not look good on every bride or fit her realistic budget.

The smart bride will also determine three specific things before starting her hunt:

  • Her general attire budget;
  • Her undergarments and additional items such as a headpiece or veil, shoes, bags, slips or petticoats, and jewelry;
  • Her wedding date, colors, and wedding theme or style.

The perfect silhouette
Because every woman is different, choosing the perfect bridal silhouette is the first step. There are four classic silhouettes:

  • Ball Gown. This silhouette is the most traditional with a fitted bodice, waistline, and a full skirt.
  • Empire. This silhouette has a high waistline, right under the bust, and falls to a slimmer skirt.
  • A-Line or Princess. These styles are cut close to the hip with a slight flare at the hem to create that A-shape.
  • Sheath. The sheath silhouette follows the lines of the body.

Choosing the style

The ladies at The Henry’s know how important choosing a style is. With decades of experience helping brides of all sizes and personalities they’re prepared to guide the bride along her journey. And their spacious salon allows brides unfettered access to gowns.

“It’s sometimes hard to be prepared when you see your body in a dress,” Henry-Lincoln said. A salon’s staff will help her choose a flattering style reflective of her inner bride.

Girls day out
Gown hunting is a perfect option for a fun girls day out. The Bridal Gallery and The Henry’s recommend that the bride bring with her a trusted advisor, like her mother or a close friend, to share the day of bridal gown shopping. But bride beware — sometimes too many people’s opinions can be overwhelming.

“[The bride] is the most important and most critical of herself so her opinion matters most,” Trainer said. That’s why, she said, when it comes to the crucial decision some brides come in alone to make their final choice. “When you have 150 people looking at you they will all love the dress because it’s what you chose.”

Final touches
After the gown has been ordered, the bride should be prepared to go through two to three fittings to get her final “perfect” fit. The final fitting should be one to two weeks prior to the wedding. Brides, remember to work alterations into the final budget — they are almost always necessary. If the gown has a train, the bride should bring in a person or two to learn how to tie the bustle so on the wedding day it’ll be a flawless event.

Choosing a veil or headpiece? Choose the gown first, then decide on a hairstyle. The next step is to try on different styles of headpeices or veils. Don’t have the gown with you? Bring a picture of your gown to determine the right color for the veil.

Plan on picking up your gown as close to the wedding as possible to avoid stains, wrinkles, or family mishaps. Then prepare to look bridal beautiful in your big day.

By Debra Bell