The Basics of Wedding Dress Shopping

Wedding Dress ShoppingShopping for your wedding dress is not only one of the most important parts of putting together your wedding, but it can also be the most overwhelming and stressful. There are so many different types of wedding dresses available from hundreds of different designers which can make it seem impossible to get through all of the options. Making things worse is that you want to try on every single dress because your wedding is so special and important, but there simply isn’t enough time to make that feasible. So what is a gal supposed to do when faced with this lack of time and important decision?

Fortunately, there are some basic tips that will help you find the perfect dress when you head out shopping. It all starts with a good foundation of education and familiarity so you don’t go into the bridal shop blind. Since most women will only be getting married one time in their whole life, knowing the different terminology and rends specific to wedding dresses can be difficult. Here is a quick rundown of things so that you can be armed with knowledge when you head out on your quest for the perfect wedding dress.

Dress Styles

One of the hardest things to wrap your head around is the different styles of wedding dresses that are available. Wedding dress style names are unique to the niche, so you probably won’t recognize some of the buzz words. Here are the most important ones that you’ll need to know.

  • Silhouette: The shape or outline of the entire wedding dress.
  • Neckline: The shape of the dress at or below the neckline.
  • Bodice: Where the waistline ends and the skirt begins.
  • Sleeve Length: The section of fabric that covers the arms and shoulders.
  • Train Length: The section of skirt that extends behind the dress.
  • Length: Where the hemline of the own falls.
  • Accents: Embellishments to enhance the overall look of the gown.

Your Body Shape

The next thing that you’ll need to understand is your own body’s shape. Each woman has their own curves and features, so knowing what category your body falls into can really help you choose the appropriate dress style to show it off well.

  • Inverted Triangle: Your torso and upper body tend to be wider than your hips with minimal waist definition. Many women with this body shape have slim legs and an athletic-looking physique with broader shoulders than average (a swimmer’s build).
  • Rectangle: Sometimes referred to as a “column”, this body shape features a torso and upper body that is the same width as your hips with nearly zero waist definition. This creates a linear physique with parallel lines from your shoulders to your waist and hips.
  • Apple: Your torso and upper body are equal to your hips with little or no waist definition, and you carry most of your weight around your waist and bust. Your waist and hip measurements are usually similar.
  • Pear: Your hips are a little wider than your torso and upper body which really defines your mid-section. You have full-featured legs which will usually seem a bit short in comparison to the rest of your body. Your bust may be dramatically smaller than your hips.
  • Hourglass: Your torso and your hips are about the same width with a lot of definition in the waist. Your physique is considered proportionate, meaning your bust and hips are equal in size with a smaller waistline.

By understanding your body shape in conjunction with the various dress styles that are available, you can go into your favorite bridal shop prepared to choose from wedding dresses that will look the bst on you and show off your features. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to take you time and choose your wedding dress carefully so you don’t have any regrets when your big day finally arrives.

The Journey to Your Wedding Day

Wedding CalendarFrom the moment you say “I do”, time speeds up drastically and the wedding planning process begins. Even if you aren’t having for wedding for a year or two, a newly engaged person will start to see wedding details in every object they see. If you’re like most brides, the journey to your wedding day will be very strange and new, plus you’ll want to make everything perfect for your special moment. There are a lot of things that need to get done; so much so that it can seem overwhelming, but just going through the steps one after another can prove to be the right process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the process of getting to your wedding day starting from the moment you’re engaged.

Getting Started

The first thing that you’ll need to do is make an announcement to your friends and family. Often times you can place a wedding announcement in the local paper for free, but you also need to call everyone that’s important and tell them personally. Once that’s done, you’ll need to sit down with your significant other to discuss the initial details of the wedding.

This discussion should be quite in-depth and include topics like what you want out of your wedding day experience, where you want to get married, how much money you’ll be able to spend, and when you want to set the date. These initial stages are all very important because the rest of the wedding planning process will take shape around the choices that you make together.

Guest List

Once you have some of the initial details roughed out, you’ll need to compile your wedding guest list. This can be a tough moment in the planning process because every person you add to the guest list is another chunk of expenses. The best way to go about this is to start with your friends and family, then work out from there. Don’t invite a bunch of your work friends or people you haven’t seen in several years; just try to keep it to the important people in your life right now so the list doesn’t get out of control.

Choose Your Venues

Once you know when you want to get married, the budget that you have to work with, and an estimate on the number of guests that you’ll be inviting, you can start to look at wedding venues. This is probably the biggest decision you’ll make regarding your wedding, so make sure you take your time and look at all of the options that are available. You’ll need a venue for the ceremony and a venue for the reception, but if your budget is tight you can consider a single venue that will work for both.

Hiring Vendors

Hiring the right wedding vendors can be tricky, especially if you are on either a time or budget crunch. The best way to ensure you are hiring the right person is to extensively research their reputation online and find real couples that can give you a testimonial about their work. The term wedding vendors is a blanket term for every professional you’ll hire for the wedding such as your wedding photographer, the musicians, florist, caterer, and more. This will be a very long and tedious process to choose the perfect candidates, but all of your hard work will pay off huge when your wedding ends up perfect.

Dress Shopping

Shopping for your wedding dress can be both fun and stressful all rolled into one. There are few events during the wedding planning process that are more important, and that can lead to second-guessing and stress. The best tactic to achieve success is to choose a practical dress with as little emotion involved in the choice as possible and then never look back from your decision. This can be easier said than done, but you will be very happy on your wedding day if you just go with your first instinctual choice of wedding dress.


Your wedding invitations can be one of those things that end up eating up way too much of your time. The best choice is to choose something simple, elegant, and to the point, and remember that pouring too many resources into a piece of paper that will eventually be discarded is just a waste of time. You want to send out your wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding date.

Being Well-Rested

One thing that many brides forget to do in the days leading up to their wedding is to take care of themselves health wise. To look your best on your wedding day and alleviate any potential stress, make sure you get good rest for at least a few days leading up to your big day. You should also try to do relaxing activities with your bridesmaids such as a spa day or a girls’ evening out. Though it may sound obvious to some that you want to be rested, hydrated, and in a good mood entering your wedding day, you’d probably be surprised at how often this isn’t the case.

Saving on Your Wedding Catering

Wedding CateringOne of the most expensive parts of your wedding will be paying the caterer, and this is particularly true if you’re having a large wedding. Other than the cost of your reception venue, your next largest expense will be feeding all of your guests. For each wedding guest you invite, you’ll need to have appetizers, a main course, and usually an evening snack; not to mention a slice of wedding cake for each person. All of those expenses can add up really quickly, especially if you let your guests run wild with the amount that they eat. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to control the cost of your wedding catering and keep room in your budget for other items.

Cocktail Hour

Typically, most couples will offer some type of small appetizer during what is known as “cocktail hour”. This is the time between when guests arrive at the reception hall and when the main dinner is served. Usually the guests will mingle, sip on cocktails, and congratulate the happy couple. Additionally, there are appetizers going around curbing the appetite of hungry guests.

To save money during cocktail hour, it’s a good idea to have the appetizers passed around from person to person on a tray or to have a server carrying them around to each group of people. If you just leave them on a table for your guests to have free reign, you’ll notice that a small handful of your guests will devour the whole tray in record time. By avoiding this, you can save a ton of money on your wedding catering. Additionally, not having an open bar or only serving beer for free can help you save money during cocktail hour, but that really isn’t considered part of your catering expenses.


One of the easiest ways to save money on dinner service at your wedding is to choose an inexpensive dish that is very filling for your guests. By far the best choice for this is pasta because it is usually the least expensive option, everyone will love it, and it will fill the guests up with a single serving. It’s a good idea to offer at least two pasta choices to your guests such as spaghetti and fettuccini so that everyone can have a choice that they enjoy.

Also, though it may seem cheaper to do a buffet style dinner to avoid the cost of servers, having a plated dinner is usually much less expensive in the long run. It’s cheaper to pay a server $25 to deliver plates to a table than it is to have Uncle Joe eat 12 plates of food from the buffet line, so take that into consideration when you are crunching the numbers for your catering budget.

Side Dishes

Side dishes can quickly add up at a wedding, so try to avoid them at all cost. For instance, if you’re having a pasta dish, try to limit your sides to only salad and bread. Every additional food item you offer to your wedding guests will add to your catering expenses, so just keep them to a minimum.

Evening Snack

The cheapest way to thwart the expense of an evening snack for your guests is to time your dinner out so you don’t need on at all. If you space out your dinner and your wedding cake service, you can easily get away without having an evening snack at all. Also, you can put some candy or cookies at each table as a wedding favor which will also alleviate the need for any type of late night munchies.

Wedding Cake

Wedding cakes are so labor-intensive and decorative these days that they are usually one of the more expensive parts of your catering costs. To keep your budget in check, you should opt to buy a very small decorative wedding cake for the cake cutting ceremony and for your wedding party to eat. For the rest of the guests, you can slice up some sheet cakes that are just as delicious but much less expensive because they aren’t decorated like the actual wedding cake. This is particularly budget-friendly if you’re having a large wedding with a lot of guests.