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Finding the perfect gown – Shop like a pro!

Shopping for a wedding gown is a totally different experience compared to shopping for ready to wear clothing. To help you find that perfect gown, check out this helpful advice from Maureen Chandler, owner of Blush Bridal Boutique in Haymarket, before you hit the salons:

Today’s bride has a wide selection of dress styles for her wedding. Taking the first step to choosing the perfect gown can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Following are some tips to finding the most amazing dress for the most magical of days:  

Gown from Justin Alexander, available at Blush Bridal
Gown from Justin Alexander, available at Blush Bridal

Shop early: Although some dresses are available off the rack, it typically takes a bridal salon four to six months to receive a wedding gown once the order is placed with the designer. Alterations can take one to two months to complete as well. Choose and order your gown at least nine to twelve months prior to your wedding. Less time may add stress if there is any issue with the gown or the alterations.

Make an appointment: Call ahead to see if appointments are required. Many bridal salons will gladly welcome walk-in clients, but brides with appointments typically will receive preferential treatment. Saturdays and Sundays are especially busy so if you can, plan to shop during the week. You will have a more private and personal experience.  

Keep the crowd to a minimum: One or two trusted friends or family members are all you need to help with your wedding gown selection. Although it’s fun to have friends along, too many opinions can create confusion and make your decision more difficult. Ultimately, it is your choice and you want to be able to listen to your heart instead of everyone else.  

Grooming: Please be sure to shower and wear undergarments the day you shop for your wedding gown. Many bridal salons have long-line bras that may be borrowed while trying on dresses, but panties will be required. Wear minimal makeup to help protect the gowns.  

Hire a babysitter: Unless specifically shopping for a flower girl dress, bridal salons are not a place for children. All attention should be on you while shopping for dresses. A child may be excited to see you in your wedding gown, but he or she can quickly get bored. Hire a babysitter and enjoy being pampered!  

Keep an open mind: Although you may have a particular dress style in mind for your wedding day, be sure to try on different types. Keep an open mind when a bridal consultant pulls specific gowns for you. She knows the styles that are most flattering on different body types and you may be surprised at the result.  

Ask about customization: Many designers can customize a gown to you. Adding cap sleeves to a strapless gown, raising a neckline or shortening a train are changes that can easily be made by the designer or seamstress. Your gown should be exactly what you want and making it a one-of-a-kind will make it feel extra special.  

Stick to Your Budget: We all know that weddings are expensive, but decide on a budget for your gown and only try on dresses in your range. Although there are beautiful dresses at every price point, there is a definite difference between a moderate and couture gown not only in terms of price, but also fabric and workmanship. Be up front with your consultant about your budget so you don’t fall in love with a dress that will break the bank.  

Quality and Guarantees: Your bridal gown is an extremely important piece of your wedding and you will want to purchase it from a reputable retailer of the designer you choose. Designers will only guarantee their gowns if purchased from a full service store authorized to sell their product. Many designers do not even allow online sales and will warn against the practice on their websites. Just because a website has pictures of a particular designer’s line does not mean that they are authentic. 

Gown by Justin Alexander, available at Blush Bridal.
Gown by Justin Alexander, available at Blush Bridal.

Full Service: Shopping for a wedding gown is a completely different experience than any other you will have. At a full-service bridal salon, it is the bridal consultant’s job to help you in and out of the dresses. It makes for a more njoyable visit and prevents damage to the gowns. Relax and enjoy the pampering. 

Sizing: When it comes time to order your bridal gown, the consultant will take your measurements and compare them to a size chart. Most designers are made to order, not customized to your measurements. Bridal sizing is very different from ready-to-wear so do not be alarmed if the size that fits is different than your regular clothing. Order according to your current measurements even if you plan to diet or lose weight. It is much easier for a seamstress to take in a gown than to release the seams. 

Final Sale: When ordering a gown, a bridal salon will require a non-refundable deposit and a signed contract. These dresses are made to order and are typically not returnable. Shopping for your bridal gown should be one of the happiest and most memorable experiences of your wedding. Relax and enjoy it. The perfect dress that will make you feel amazing is just waiting for you to find it!

To schedule your appointment at Blush Bridal Boutique, call 703.753.8303 and visit their profile on our website.

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