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The Ecstasy & Agony Of Bridal Gown Shopping: How To Find Bliss


The first day of spring it’s also the beginning of wedding season.

Brides that live in warmer climates or have planned a tropical destination wedding are ready to walk down the aisle as March decides if it will indeed go out like a lamb.

For those who are planning to wed in the summer or fall this is the time when they venture out with all their bridal magazine clippings to begin to shop for their wedding gowns. It’s a heady experience to walk into a bridal salon with the happy realization that you are there to find the perfect dress.

However, bridal gown shopping, like shopping for the perfect pair of jeans, can be a frustrating experience. In fashion and definitely in the bridal industry not all bodies are created equal. Unlike men’s clothing which is based on industry standards, women’s clothing sizes vary from designer to manufacturer. It’s actually worse in the bridal industry. Wedding dresses are still sized in the 1940’s scale which is about 2 to almost 4 sizes smaller than what the labels on your everyday clothing says.

It’s no wonder that even brides to be who normally wear a size four go into a tizzy when they are handed a size six or eight gown. Naturally it’s even worse for curvy brides who have already experienced the agony of defeat when it comes to finding fashionable clothing in their size.

So what’s a girl to do?

First don’t panic. It’s really them and not you. The key lies in being forearmed with information.

1. Know your body type. You’re an expert on what looks good on you. Look for those silhouettes when you begin shopping.

2. While you are an expert on your body keep an open mind. Try a few styles that are out of your comfort zone and see how it looks on your body. If it’s a disaster, you’ll know immediately. You might also be pleasantly surprised.

3. Choose fabrics that work with your body not against it.

4. Begin shopping as soon as you can. You might get lucky and find the perfect dress on your first shopping trip. However statistics show that it’s likely that you will visit, on average, a total of six stores before finding and purchasing a wedding gown.

5. Don’t bring the following people with you: Miss Hard to please, Miss Yes I love everything and therefore will never give you my real opinion or Debbie Downer.

6. Bring less than four people if possible. They should be the people who you love and trust to give you their honest feedback and won’t let you buy something you can’t afford or settle for something that doesn’t truly make you happy.

7. Check out the bridal salons fully before you go. Large stores still require appointments but the chaos of being with 20 plus other brides to be can be overwhelming. Although we’re used to dressing rooms full of chatty shoppers, your wedding gown is a special purchase. You should be able to hear your consultant, your tight little shopping panel and most of all, yourself.

8. Don’t go to pieces if you don’t find anything you like after three shopping trips. Take a breather and re-boot. Your gown is out there.

9. Check to be sure that once you decide on a dress that the salon is an authorized dealer for the designer or manufacturer before you pull out your credit card.

10. Be Happy! You’re getting married!

I think number 10 is the most important rule to remember. Your wedding should be a happy time. Don’t let dress shopping steal your joy. Embrace your bodies no matter the shape or size. The bottom line is you’re about to embark on a life with someone who loves you just the way you are and ultimately that’s what makes you all the more beautiful as a bride and all the days after the wedding.

Read more posts by Chamein Canton. Chamein is a blogger for JenningsWire.


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