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Wedding dress preparation: 10 Tips for your Big Day

February 22, 2016
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By Katherine Ellis
Photography by / courtesy of Shutterstock

You step into a dress, eagerly anticipating the reaction of your retinue of family and friends. You test the weight of the fabric and the feel of it. After walking through the salon, you find yourself on a small podium, the sequins twinkle in the mirror in the low light that the sales associate has carefully, and strategically, dimmed. You stare at yourself in the three-way mirror, envisioning the look of the person waiting for you at the end of the aisle – and if they will like it. No, not like. Love. No pressure, right?

Purchasing a wedding dress has become a ritual. I found this out first hand in my first foray into the bridal world. The ever-present phenomenon of Say Yes to the Dress can be definitely felt – a very different experience than my grandmother had when she got ready for her wedding.

With the pressure of the big day, a girl can get lost in the details! The lace. The beading. The sheer material. Sleeves. No sleeves. The ruching. Open-back. Closed back. Princess cut. A-line. Train or no train? The list goes on! But, the trick is to focus on the big picture.

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With the wedding season starting in just a few weeks, we decided to make it easy for our readers.

Here are out Top 10 Tips for your Big Day:

1. It’s your day. No matter what anyone says, it’s your wedding. You are the one wearing the dress, and you and your significant other are going to be the stars. Pick what you want to wear and the dress/outfit that makes you feel best. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

2. It’s a long day. Though some brides choose one, two or even three dresses, most still pick one. This dress has to last during the ceremony, the reception, pictures, dinner and dancing. So remember: you need to pick something that will work for different scenarios.

3. You won’t be standing all the time, so make sure you can move. In most wedding dress pictures, the bride is standing. She looks glam. The one thing we don’t see is the bride sitting down to eat! Remember, you are not standing all day. Check to see if you can move, sit and dance. And make sure you can breathe.

4. Pick the people going with you carefully. Your entourage can make or break the appointment. Some people may think of their own wedding day and what they would wear, rather than what is best for you. This is a big decision, so make sure you have the support you need.

5. Think of the pictures. When I was trying on the dresses, I thought about how I would feel in the pictures and what picture options we could have. Buttons on the back? A close up of the mother-of-the-bride buttoning the back. Open back? A great over-the-shoulder look for the camera. Your photographer will have ideas too, but it’s good to have a sense of what you want.

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6. Dress for the venue. How will the dress look against the backdrop? Will it match the venue or the location? If you are getting married on the beach, the dresses are typically light and airy. In a fancy hotel, they tend to have more weight to them. Just like you dress for the time of year, the location should be a factor as well.

7. The look and vibe of the Big Day. Do you want a retro vibe, or something more modern, or even classic? Think of your theme and the details you may want to include.

8. Don’t put the cart before the horse. When doing research, don’t discount other dress styles. The princess cut is not your first choice? Try it on, you never know, you might like it and feel wonderful wearing it. You were dead set on satin versus lace? Again, try it on! The only way you can really know if the style is not right is by seeing and experiencing it.

9. It’s okay to give yourself some time. If you are one of the few lucky ones, you may find your dress right away. But if you are like me, it might take you a while. Though you don’t want to try on too many (because the dresses might all begin to look the same), give yourself some time to make the decision.

10. Price tag shock – it’s a thing. Remember your budget. This may not be what some people want to hear, but if you love a dress and it is way, way above your budget, don’t try it on “just to see”. You might fall in love, and it will create problems. Confirm your budget and stick to it.

P.S. They will love what you are wearing no matter what. Maybe you talked to your significant other about what they think looks best on you. But don’t let that deter you from trying on different things. No matter what you wear, or what they wear, you are going to be marrying the love of your life – and they will love what you are wearing no matter what you pick (and if they don’t, well, that is another story!).

Just remember, stick to your guns, make sure you are happy, and keep your mind open. Good luck to all the aspiring brides! Now, onto me picking my dress.

Katherine Ellis will be getting married in April 2017.

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