The 5 Biggest Wedding Reception Trends in 2019

Are you planning a wedding for 2019? Gather ‘round! We’ve got the lowdown on the latest and greatest trends you can expect to see all year long. The best part? There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a classic couple or a modern millennial.

BLACK ACCENTS

In years past, the color black was primarily reserved for formal or alternative weddings. But the tide is beginning to shift. Be prepared to see couples incorporating black accents in contrasting colorways for 2019. Think blush centerpieces next to black candlesticks or black roses mixed in a rich, jewel-toned winter bouquet.

LUCITE

One of our favorite trends that will continue this year is lucite. You’ll see this retroelement in the form of flatware, chairs, name cards, table numbers, and chargers. It’s the perfect complement to contemporary décor—and it photographs well!

VELVET

Velvet is everywhere these days, from ready-to-wear runways to home décor retailers. Now the plush fabric is making its way into the wedding market. Luckily, specialty linen companies are carrying different tones of velvet, so you can capitalize on this beautiful trend throughout every season.

MINT GREEN

Celadon is gearing up for its big moment this spring. The minty shade of green is already showing a strong lead among 2019 brides, and we’re just getting started. Consider matching this soft hue with blush, lavender, or even beige to capitalize on its earthy quality.

MIX IT UP

Forget 2018! We’ve been there and done that. Couples are throwing out the old playbook. 2019 is all about variety and depth. Expect modern pieces against traditional elements; multiple high-low floral arrangements and candles that add dimension; unusual color combinations; and plenty of texture play, like pairing lucite and velvet together. In sum: New year, new rules!

 

5 Major Bridal Trends for Fall 2019, From Minis to Minimalism

Sounds the wedding bells! Another Bridal Week has come and gone, and we’ve got the Fall 2019 trend report you’ve been waiting for! Of course, we spotted our perennial favorites-florals, lace, ruffles, you get the idea – but this season, designers mixed in some refreshing left-fielders. Here are the top five hottest Fall 2019 trends you can look forward to this year!

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Brides, Fall 2019 is all about statement sleeves! Galia Lahav served up voluminous balloon sleeves; Zuhair Murad added puffs of lace and tulle; Viktor & Rold’s ruffled tulle sleeves gave us a touch of Victoriana. The upside? With so much focus on your gown, you can downplay your veil or skip it altogether.

Minimalism to the Max

The Meghan Markle effects are in full swing! For brides looking for a pared-down gown with clean lines and minimum fuss, look to labels like Amsale, Carolina Herrera, and Cushnie for all the inspiration you need. And expect to see a slew of classic, high-neck halter gowns that nod to the Stella McCartney dress the Duchess of Sussex wore to her reception. If you already have a look in mind, this style would translate well for your bridesmaids.

Embellish Every Detail

Embellishments are a bridal staple, but this year designers pulled out all the stops, from floral appliques to feathers. Don’t be afraid to go for a head-to-toe look; just keep your accessories and your shoes simple to balance it all out. Some of our favorite statement gowns were seen at Reem Acra, Ines Di Santo, and Alexandra Grecco. Take your pick!

The Long and Short of It

Every moment is an Instagram opportunity, so designers are offering looks for every wedding occasion, from the engagement party to the bridal shower to the rehearsal dinner. The most popular version is the bridal mini dress, seen on the runways of Elie Saab, Vera Wang, Naeem Khan, and Viktor & Rolf.

Caped Crusader

If veils just aren’t your cup of tea, consider a full-length bridal cape or a shorter capelet. It adds movement and a regal element to your gown during your ceremony, and you can remove it when you hit the dance floor at your reception. Look to designers like Ines Di Santo, Berta, and Reem Acra.

 

For all the latest bridal trends you need to know now, check out the 2019 Great Bridal Expo Fashion Show and stop by a Great Bridal Expo show near you.

The Great Bridal Expo Is Coming to a City Near You – Spring 2019

 

Planning a wedding can be a dream come true, but the process can be downright overwhelming at times. That’s why the Great Bridal Expo is so special. It’s a one-stop shop where hundreds of local vendors gather, so you can practically plan your entire wedding in one day, from picking out your florist to hiring your cake baker and finding the perfect wedding gown. Plus, you’ll have access to exclusive deals, one-of-a-kind giveaways, wedding favors and decor that you won’t find anywhere else. Interested? Here’s the 411 on all the Great Bridal Expo shows coming to a city near you!

City: Baltimore, Maryland
Date: 1/6/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor
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City: Boston, Massachusetts
Date: 1/13/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Westin Boston Waterfront
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City: New York, New York
Date: 1/14/2019
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Location: New York Marriott Marquis
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City: Atlanta, Georgia
Date: 1/20/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
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City: Washington, DC
Date: 1/27/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
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City: Jersey City, New Jersey
Date: 2/10/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Jersey City
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City: Miami, Florida
Date: 2/17/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Pullman Miami Hotel
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City: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: 2/24/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Phoenix Convention Center
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City: Dallas, Texas

Date: 3/3/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Dallas
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City: Denver, Colorado
Date: 3/10/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center
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City: Los Angeles, California
Date: 3/24/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Westin Bonaventure Los Angeles
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City: San Jose, California
Date: 3/24/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: San Jose Marriott
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City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Date: 3/31/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Broward County Convention Center
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How to Grow Your Bridal Business in 6 Easy Steps

While wedding season is winding down for couples, there’s still so much to do on the business front. And there’s no reason why you can’t boost your bottom line during the holiday season. Here, we’ve outlined six easy steps to grow your bridal business and get a leg up on your competitors.

CREATE YOUR NICHE

One of the best ways to set yourself apart in a crowded industry is to create a niche and “own” that part of the market. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, do you specialize in destination weddings or backyard ceremonies? Is there a particular demographic or type of couple you like to work with? The better you are at creating a niche, the less you’ll need to worry about the competition. 

USE FACEBOOK ADS

In 2018, chances are you already have a Facebook page. It’s time to take it to the next level. Start running targeted ads on this social media platform and track your data. There are tons of valuable videos and blogs online to help you learn how to write ad copy, how to find and read Facebook data, and how to target the right people at the right time. It can make all the difference!

ADD SMART HASHTAGS ON INSTAGRAM

Hashtags can make or break you on Instagram. You can use up to about 30 per post, and we’d recommend you use as many related tags as you can. The key with hashtags is choosing the right ones. And, of course, there’s a whole science behind it. You can learn more here.

NETWORK

We can’t stress this enough – network, network, network. In the wedding world, we don’t get a lot of repeat business. Instead, we rely on referrals. So, go to a community gathering, visit local businesses, strike up conversations, and send out emails. And think about offering kickbacks to anyone who refers your business. It’s surprisingly effective.

CREATE A BLOG ON YOUR WEBSITE

Blogging should be a key part of your marketing plan. Yes, it takes time, but it’s a simple and effective way to showcase your work to new and existing clients. With frequent, SEO-based articles, you can easily drive traffic to your website, add value to your customers, generate new leads for business, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

EXHIBIT AT A BRIDAL TRADE SHOW

Speaking of networking, one of the best places to grow your network and your client base in a short amount of time is during the Great Bridal Expo, where hundreds of vendors and couples gather throughout the year. Bring extra business cards and get ready to work the room. This is your time to shine!

6 Bridal Show Tips Every Exhibitor Should Know!

Think of a bridal expo as a series of first impressions. When a bride walks into your booth, you have exactly one opportunity to lay the foundation for a positive (and hopefully profitable) relationship. No pressure, right? To maximize your gain and build your business, you need to make every second count. To help you succeed at the show, here are the best tips and tricks of the business. Are you taking notes?

 

PLAN FAR IN ADVANCE

Our top exhibitors have one thing in common: planning. The more you plan, the better off you’ll be. Have you secured flights and hotels early? They sell out fast! Have you ordered giveaways and booth décor? It’s more important than you think. Have you trained your sales team? You get the idea. Create your checklist and get started as soon as possible.

MAKE YOUR BOOTH STAND OUT

Did you know that our first impression of someone forms in only one-tenth of a second? It’s that fast! In order to stand out from the crowd, and get the attention of brides, you’ll want to make your booth unique. We’ll leave the creativity up to you!

GET (INTER)ACTIVE

 If just one service or product in your booth is interactive, people are more likely to venture inside. You may want to install a selfie station or try touch screens to display your products. Remember, this is your chance to not just show off your product, but to create a memorable experience.

MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS

If you can, set up early and take some time to explore the grounds before the show begins. This is a great time to pass out business cards, network and find out how other exhibitors are marketing their services and products. Building key relationships can lead to referrals!

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

As soon as you know the dates you’ll be attending the show, begin your marketing plan and let your existing clients know when you’ll be there. Post photos of the show before, during, and after the event across social media platforms, and through a newsletter if you have one. Invite attendees to stop by and make sure to include both your booth number and event hashtag so attendees can easily find you.

BRING FREEBIES…

Promotional giveaways go a long way in extending your brand’s reach and breaking the ice with potential clients. Cute stickers, bookmarks, samples, water bottles, pens, or magnets are a few easy options. Just make sure that whatever you decide to give away has your business and contact information.

10 Secrets to Planning a Stylish Backyard Wedding

Backyard weddings take the cake on convenience and cost, but when it comes to planning and logistics, there’s way more than meets the eye. Did you know you need a generator? How about a party permit? Pull up a chair and gather ‘round. We’ve got the ultimate guide to backyard bashes that’s bride tested and groom approved. Let’s take it from the top, shall we?

PLAN B
First things first: Solidify a backup plan well in advance – just in case the weather decided to shift direction. You’ll want to know how you’re going to make changes, who you’re going to enlist to help, and by what time. If a tent is your plan B, lock down the rental earlier in the day so it’ll be ready when you need to pick it up in the afternoon. And don’t be afraid to practice take down and set up beforehand. It can make all the difference!

INSURANCE
There’s nothing sexy about home owner’s insurance, but this is one area of your wedding budget you won’t want to skimp on. Double check what your insurance covers inside and outside the home and compare notes with your vendors, who should also have insurance. You may need to add on supplemental insurance, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

PERMITS
Before you book vendors and send out invitations, check with your city officials about permits for large parties. Every town has fire codes, noise ordnances, and health department regulations that you won’t want to violate. In some cases, your vendors will need to file additional paperwork. This is when a wedding planner would really come in handy!

LANDSCAPING
If you can, meet with a gardener or landscaper one year in advance of your backyard wedding. This gives them plenty of time to design, plant, and maintain the look and feel you want on your big day. And, most importantly, you’ll need a professional to check if your yard is level enough for tables, chairs, and the dance floor. Your gardener can do this, or you can ask the professionals who are setting up your tent. If the ground is not level, they’ll need to lay down a foundation first, which will be factored into your overall cost.

PARKING
When you check on permits, look into street parking regulations as well. Some neighborhoods need residential parking permits, others prohibit overnight parking. If street parking is not an option for you, consider hiring a valet service to park cars at a nearby lot. Or offer a shuttle service to take guests to and from the parking lot.

NEIGHBORS
Speaking of noise ordinances, you’ll want to notify your neighbors at least two to three months in advance so they can plan ahead and schedule a night out. An itinerary of the wedding and a small, thoughtful gift goes a long way here. Or better yet, invite them to your nuptials!

POWER
Nothing shuts down a party like a power outage. Between the extra lighting, the sound system, and the catering equipment, your home is going to need a little extra boost. Avoid blowing a fuse by renting a generator that can handle the heat.

VENDORS
Most vendors will want to survey your home before your wedding to get a lay of the land and to figure out what extra equipment they need to bring. Be sure to schedule walk-throughs before signing on the dotted line. It can save you hundreds of dollars!

RESTROOMS
If your guest list is over 20 people, we’d advise looking into an upscale portable toilet trailer, so you don’t overwhelm your plumbing. You can even add homey touches like custom toiletry bags and his-and-her hand soap.

WEATHER ESSENTIALS
Guests often forget to pack essentials or prepare for inclement weather. If you’re getting married on a chilly night, rent propane heaters or offer chic throws and pashminas that can double as wedding favors. If sun is a factor, keep a stock pile of sunscreen, parasols, sunglasses, and water on hand. Trust us, your guests will thank you!

10 Adorable Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding

It comes as no surprise that more couples than ever are opting to include their pets in the wedding process. They’re just so darn cute! But, sometimes, logistics get in the way, especially if your venue won’t allow animals or you’re planning a destination wedding. Luckily, there are ways around it! Because your special day just wouldn’t be complete without your favorite family member.

 

PROPOSAL
If you’re about to pop the question and you haven’t quite ironed out your plan, consider including your furry friend. Tie the ring to its harness or hang a “will you marry my dad” balloon from its collar and you’ll have the cutest proposal story of all time.

PRE-WEDDING
Engagement photos and Save the Dates are prime for pet cameos. Talk to potential photographers about including your animals in the shots beforehand so everyone can plan ahead. You can hang a sign with a simple wedding date around its neck or brainstorm a message that fits your personality. Clever signs go a long way, from “our humans are getting married” to “he asked, she said yes!”

WEDDING CEREMONY
There are countless ways to bring your pet into the mix on your big day. If they’re well trained, think about dressing them up and making them a ring bearer. (What’s cuter than a dog in a tux?) Or have your flower girls walk them down the aisle on a leash. Another option is to carry your little one instead of a bouquet or ask your groom-to-be to do the honors. For animals that can’t attend, find places to add their likeness. For instance, keep a snapshot in a locket on your bouquet or order little bulldog cufflinks for your groom.

RECEPTION
One of our favorite ways to include animals in the reception is the photo booth or designated photo area. They make great props and they get plenty of love and affection while they do it! It’s a win-win for everyone. If you want to include your animal in the reception, but you’re not quite sure how they’ll handle all the commotion, add their silhouette to your cake topper or ask your baker to create a cat-shaped groom’s cake or dog-inspired wedding cookies.

POST-WEDDING
After the wedding, you’ll need to send out “thank you” cards for all the beautiful gifts you’ve received. What’s more adorable than a custom card with a photo of the whole family? These pictures can be negotiated as part of your wedding photo package, or you can use one of the official photographs to save on cost.

Want more ideas? Join us for one of our Great Bridal Expos where you can gain access to insider tips and tricks from bakers, photographers, wedding planners, and so much more. Click here for tickets to a show near you!

Celebrity Wedding Trends to Try in 2018

If you’re looking for fresh, fun wedding ideas that haven’t been played out on Pinterest, you’re in luck. This year, some of our favorite high-profile couples tied the knot and offered up a wellspring of inspiration for brides-to-be, from tech savvy cakes to his and her choirs. Grab a chair and take notes!

Credit: Nicole Sanderson Photography

Two is Better Than One
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding was arguably the most celebrated nuptials of the year. And, in just two months, it’s already sparked a series of trends among brides near and far, from minimalist gowns to contemporary wedding cakes with a rustic finish. One of our favorite trends of the day was the custom his and her ceremony elements, notably two pastors and two choirs. This same spirit could be applied to just about anything on your big day, from the catering to the wedding traditions. Do you stomp on a glass or jump over a broom? Why not both! If you’re a couple with wildly different tastes or backgrounds, it’s a beautiful way to honor both parties.

Monochrome Mavens
Model Chanel Iman wed NY Giants star Sterling Shepard on March 3 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California. The bride wore two different Zuhair Murad gowns, while her bridesmaids wore (gasp) white! This trend has been growing since Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William (remember Pippa?) but it hasn’t quite hit the mainstream market yet. To differentiate your look from theirs, consider cut and material. If you’re wearing lace, choose chiffon bridesmaid dresses; if you’re set on a traditional ball gown, think about pantsuits for your bridal party.

Credit: Nicole Sanderson Photography

Futuristic Cakes

Tattoo artist Kat Von D and Prayers musician Leafer Seyer tied the knot on June 2 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in one of the most-talked about goth spectacles in recent history, complete with skull décor and a black dress code. One of the highlights of the big day was a five-foot vegan red velvet castle cake featuring video footage of the couple instead of a traditional cake topper. It may take some maneuvering on your baker’s part, but it’s worth the extra effort.

Full Circle
Twilight actress Ashley Greene said “I do” to Lokai businessman Paul Khoury in front of 120 friends and family in Nestldown, a picturesque grove of redwood trees in California, on July 6. The bride wore a custom Katie May gown as she exchanged vows in front of a statement-making circular arch lined with organic arrangements of pampas grass, blush roses, and
eucalyptus. The shape of the arch couldn’t have been more fitting—it symbolizes eternal and everlasting love. And it makes for one heck of a photo op!

New Gown in Town
On June 23, Game of Thrones’ stars Rose Leslie and Kit Harington wed in a romantic ceremony in Aberdeenshire, Scotland at Wardhill Castle, which has belonged to the Leslie clan for over 900 years. (Rose’s father is currently clan chief.) The actress wore a gorgeous long-sleeved Elie Saab gown with a classic boat neck worth $20,000, along with a floral crown and a traditional floor-length veil. If you’re getting married within the next year, this is going to be the silhouette for brides. The best part? It works with just about every face shape and body type!

 

What do you all think? Any favorite trends you want to share?

 

19 Clever Ways to Plan a Luxury Wedding on a Budget

According to a recent study conducted by Wedding Wire, a typical modern wedding costs approximately $36,000. On average, couples spend $5,000 on engagement rings, $27,000 on the reception and ceremony, and $4,000 on the honeymoon. Intimidating? We know. But here’s the good news. You can save thousands of dollars on your big day with a little bit of research and a whole lot of ingenuity. Luckily, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Here are 19 clever ways to plan the luxury wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

TAKE YOUR TIME
A long engagement gives couples ample time to research, seek out deals, and book early. Be strategic! You may be able to pick up discounted silver or gold decorations after the Christmas holiday, or purchase lower-priced ring bearer and flower girl outfits right after Easter.

BE FLEXIBLE ON DATES
Choose your date wisely. A Saturday in June is going to cost you! Consider alternative days, like Thursday, Friday, or Sunday. This can save you 20-30%, especially if you plan on a wedding in November or between January and March. And, don’t forget, off-peak pricing extends to florists, photographers, and catering services.

CHOOSE A UNIQUE VENUE
It all starts with the venue. Choose a venue with character so you spend less on decorations. Think art museums, botanical gardens, and heritage homes.

THINK EXOTIC
Consider a destination wedding. This will trim your guest list, so you can allocate more money to activities, meals, and your venue.

SKIP THE SIT-DOWN DINNER
Sit-down dinners can add up quickly. Instead, consider an upscale cocktail reception with a small team of butlers offering hors d’oeuvres on serving trays. You’ll save on a full catering staff and total cost per person.

OPT FOR A BRUNCH MENU
If you know you want a sit-down meal, try a brunch menu. It can run hundreds of dollars cheaper than dinner fare! And sometimes you can negotiate the venue price in the early hours since the space would have been empty otherwise.

ADD GREENERY
One of the easiest ways to trim your floral budget is by adding more greenery. In lieu of large scale floral arrangements, think about sophisticated garlands and table runners. Silver dollar eucalyptus, myrtle, leatherleaf fern, and grevillea are just a few popular options.

KNOW YOUR FLOWERS
Almost every flower you’re eyeing for your nuptials has a doppelganger. For instance, if you love peonies, look into “vintage roses” or “cabbage roses.” They look similar, but they’re less expensive.

FOLLOW A COLOR SCHEME
Just about every beautiful luxury wedding has one common theme – a color palette. Select two or three shades, like white, champagne, and blush, and stick with them. It’s one of the simplest ways to bring a lot of moving parts together. Plus, it photographs well!

DIY, DIY, DIY
There are endless tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube for how to DIY just about everything on your big day, from wedding invitations to formal centerpieces. Hold little gatherings in your home and enlist your craftiest friends and family to help. After all, planning a wedding is supposed to be fun, right?

BOOK A MUSICIAN
Instead of hiring a band or a DJ for the full night, book a musician for the early hours of the reception and the first dance. Then, switch to a curated playlist that a trusted friend or family member can manage. This little trick can cut your entertainment budget in half!

KNOW THE DRESS MARKET
If you want to buy your wedding dress, bridal expos and sample sales can offer exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else. Sign up early for newsletters to receive updates on events and special deals. On the other hand, if you want to rent your dress, look into money-saving sites, like OneNightAffair.com for gowns or Adorn.com for jewelry.

NIX THE FULL BAR
A fully-stocked open bar comes with a hefty price tag. Skip the full bar and serve beer and wine instead. Or offer a signature drink that’s in line with the theme and color palette of the wedding.

USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
If you want to be eco-friendly and budget-conscious, email your Save The Dates. At the end of the day, it’s easier for you and your guests.

CAKE SWAP
When you want a fairytale wedding cake, but you just don’t have the funds, fake it. Ask your baker to create one real lower tier for you and your fiancé. The rest of the tiers can be made from Styrofoam and covered in fondant. After the cake cutting ceremony, have your catering team serve up sheet cake from the kitchen with similar colors and flavors. Your guests won’t notice a thing!

REPURPOSE EVERYTHING
This is where thinking outside the box really pays off. Lanterns, candles, or floral arrangements that decorate your ceremony aisle can be used as centerpieces at the reception, while ceremony arches can be repurposed for the sweetheart table. And bridesmaid bouquets can easily become tabletop flowers. The possibilities are endless.

USE CREDIT CARDS WISELY
If you’re sure you can charge a few things on your list and pay them off quickly, sign up for a credit card with cash back and 0% APR for one year.

NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR BAKER
Intricately designed fondant details on your wedding cake can be expensive and labor intensive. Ask your baker for more affordable options, like satin ribbon trims or real flowers.

BUY, SELL, TRADE
After your wedding, take stock of your inventory and see what you can sell on sites, like Tradesy or eBay, to make some of your money back. This goes for wedding dresses, table linens, reception décor, you name it. A little bit of work before and after your wedding goes a long way!

 

 

10 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips You Never Knew You Needed

Finding the perfect wedding dress is a little bit like falling in love. It takes time, patience, and a whole lot of trial and error. But the journey can be just as rewarding as the destination. It’s all in the preparation. Here are ten insider tips you need to know before you say “yes” to the dress.

 

PLAN AHEAD
Ideally, brides-to-be should start dress shopping 10 to 12 months in advance. Most salons require six to eight months of lead time for all made-to-order gowns. If you purchase your custom dress four month ahead of your wedding or later, it’s considered a rush order, which is often exponentially more expensive. Plus, planning ahead will give you plenty of time to schedule fittings. It’s custom for brides to have an average of two to five fittings.

BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET
Nowadays you’re hard pressed to find a bride who’s not on a budget. Typically, the wedding gown is 10% to 15% of the overall wedding budget, but that will vary for each bride. Be sure to factor in “hidden” costs, like your undergarments, shoes, veil, accessories, and, of course, alteration fees. An inexpensive gown with professional tailoring can look like a million bucks!

DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Research is imperative in the early stages of dress shopping. Before you step into a bridal salon, it’s best to know what type of wedding you’re planning. Is it a casual beach ceremony or a black-tie formal? Get familiar with the silhouettes you like, what color palette you’re working with, and the latest trends you’re drawn to. All of this information will help you and your bridal stylist select the gown of your dreams.

 

BOOK APPOINTMENTS
Most bridal salons are by appointment only, and some schedule six weeks in advance. Before you call, peruse their selection online. Do they have dress designs you like? Are there plenty of choices in your budget? If so, try to book an appointment for a weekday or weekend morning. The earlier, the better. That’s the time of day when the stores are the quietest. And try not to book more than two or three appointments in one day. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!

LIMIT YOUR FRIEND COUNT
Be selective about who you bring dress shopping with you. You don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen! One to three people is the standard. Any more and you’ll likely overwhelm yourself and the salon.

BE OPEN
Be open about trying on different styles of dresses. Often, the silhouette you never thought you’d walk down the aisle in will be the one that steals your heart. This is where a bridal consultant or stylist can really come in handy. Share all your research and let her choose a few things outside your wheel house.

KEEP IT MOVING
If you like a dress in the fitting room, practice sitting, walking, and dancing. Take note of places where the gown feels restrictive or doesn’t stay in place. You want a gown that can keep up with you all day long!

 

DON’T WORRY ABOUT SIZING
A typical size 6 or 8 in ready-to-wear clothing translates to a size 10 or 12 in bridalwear. DON’T get hung up on numbers, but DO make sure that the salon carries your size before you make an appointment. Focus on fit, and the rest will take care of itself.

CHOOSE YOUR UNDERGARMENTS WISELY
If you plan on wearing specific undergarments on the big day, like a corset or Spanx, bring them dress shopping. Undergarments can alter the fit drastically, so wearing them in the early stages will give you a better idea of how your dress will look when you tie the knot.

SHOP OUTSIDE THE BOX
Retailers and designers often host sample sales twice per year – usually in early winter and the beginning of summer. These sales are a great way for brides to shop designer dresses for less. The downside is that they’re often stocked with sample sizes, and every sale is final. But if you arrive early and keep an open mind, you might find exactly what you’re looking for.

Trunk shows are another option to explore. Call your local bridal salons and inquire about their upcoming shows. Events like this usually take place once or twice per month. They give brides the opportunity to meet the designer and talk about how they can customize your gown. Or, better yet, keep an eye out for a Great Bridal Expo in your area. Here you’ll find the latest styles hot off the runway and receive special discounts you won’t see anywhere else.