1) Help! Bridal consultants are great, if they understand you. You need to be on the same page. If the consultant is too pushy or not listening to your wants, cut them loose. It is your day and their supposed to help not hinder you.
2) Gowns! If you're going for off-the-rack and they are dirty and stained in the showroom, BEWARE. The salon may not look after your well being either. Get all the extra charges upfront and in writing. Some salons add extra fitting charges. Have your final fitting close to your wedding date,
so the dress can be adjusted for any weight changes. When trying on gowns, wear make up and style your hair. Bring a variety of bras, shapers and appropriate shoes. If you have a picture of your "Dream Dress",and it is just not available, then definitely check into having a dress custom designed and made for you. Oftentimes the price difference is negligible.
3) White? Know your best white. There are lots of different whites, some stark and some creamy. Good rule of thumb: if you have cool skin (blue and pink undertones) white-white, gray-white and blue-white work best. If your skin is warm (peach and yellow undertones), then go with ivory or cream. Try different white dresses on to determine your best color. Have a professional color analysis, if you can't figure this out. NEVER think that changing your makeup will make the dress look better. If the color is wrong it is wrong, period. Trust me, on this! Do not be afraid of a light color, if white does not sing to you. I designed many pastel wedding dresses. I find the trend, fresh, bold, and unconventional. Hey, it is your day, wear the color you like and that makes you sparkle!
4) Fit Figure out your figure. Decide what you want to accentuate and what you want to hide. A gown can hide unwanted bits with the proper undergarments. Remember, you will be wearing it for HOURS so make sure you can maneuver. Think ladies room!
* Junk in the trunk? Look for fuller skirts and corset in your waist. Put the focus on your upper body.
* Do you have the right to bare arms? Maybe you do, or consider a dress with a sheer, hip sleeve.
* Thin frame? Add gathers and layers and heavier fabrics for bulk
* Full-figured? Consider princess and A lines and avoid ruffles and gathers
* Petite? Be careful not to choose a dress that will make you look like a big cream puff. You will be a little head sticking out of a mass of tulle and lace.
5) Watch your Back Make sure you look great coming and going, because many people will spend more time watching your back than your front. If you choose a simple design, at least make sure the back has some interest with perhaps pretty pearl buttons.
6) Accessories Now that your dress is in the bag, it is time to think about "Successories" because the lasting success of your look depends upon the correct accents.
* Shoes- No sneakers PLEASE! Cute flats and kitten heels, if high heels aren't your friends.
* Jewelry- Pearls always classic, but heirloom pieces, diamonds and colored stones make a statement.
* Cool skin tones-silver based jewelry and white white pearls.
* Warm skin tones-gold based jewelry and creamy pearls.
* Wraps- shawls, shrugs and capes look great with gowns
* Evening bag- silver or gold!
7) Entourage If you want your bridesmaids to remain your friends, consider their age, shapes, and skin tones when choosing color. Coral and teal work on just about everyone, so I suggest starting there. A good way to approach style is to let the girls pick their best silhouette and keep the dresses in the same color. With so many gowns in the stores, you don't even have to use a traditional bridesmaid dress manufacturer. Your friends will be happier too, since most likely they will be able to wear the dress again.
Also, be aware of the fabric you choose. I always try to avoid sweltering in heavy fabrics in the middle of summer or freezing in chiffon in the winter. Remember, to think about accessories including a wrap. Its your day and it is going to be lovely. Once you nail down the details, think about relaxing and letting go of the outcome. Know what you can control and what you cannot. Rain? Oh well. Grab the umbrellas. The wrong flowers? Everyone will remember you and not your bouquets. If you are calm and collected that is what people will remember. If you are hysterical or pouty, that is what they will remember. How do you want to be remembered? Beautiful bride? Or Bridezilla? In the end, it is up to you to make the wedding both magical and memorable!