I thought I'd do a series (collaborating with another coordinator) on planning a wedding in a month. So today marks the beginning of the Simply Perfect Peace 1 Month to Plan a Wedding Series. Over the next month, I will go through all of the huge highlights in planning a wedding, questions you need to consider, and items that will need to be done. Sit back, enjoy, and take advantage of the advice from a planner. Feel free to leave comments, I encourage you to, with any questions you have or would like for me to address.
After every bride gets engaged, what's the first thing that you begin to look for, and at the one month mark should most definitely: Exhibit A below! (photo by destination wedding photography)
Your dress typically takes between 3-6 months, sometimes less or more, before you will receive it after ordering, depending on the designer that you choose. With only one month before your wedding you would have to start searching the stores for a purchase off the rack. Most companies aren't able to do a super rush unless you're lucky and have your bridal store call and they have your size in stock available for immediate delivery. But this will cost you. Most stores will offer you a discounted rate for purchasing off the rack. With that in mind, you may have to purchase a dress that is slightly large and would need to have alterations made and a steam cleaning. Make sure to check with your shop, and the suggestions of your designer, as to the best way to clean your wedding dress.
If you're able to have plenty of time before you have to purchase your dress, here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping:
* Do your research! Take the time to look through magazines and websites to find the styles, designers, and fabrics that truly appeal to you. Do you want strapless, halter, or a dress with sleeves, do you want a full skirt, something body hugging, or A-line, do you want a cocktail length or full length. So many details, so little time! It's very overwhelming to jump into the wedding dress shopping mode if you truly don't have any idea as to what you want. There are so many styles, fabrics, silhouettes, and designs to choose from. Come armed with those pictures for your wedding dress shopping trips and do your research to find which stores carry which designers in your city. Also, if you're up for a weekend getaway, several of the larger cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, have stores that will do sample sales worth checking out if you're in search of a designer dress from Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Kenneth Pool, etc.
* A resource like The Knot can help you in your search and seeing the latest designs and pricing, as well as what wedding dress shops around you carry these designs.
* When considering your dress style, do keep in mind the date you'll be getting married and your comfort. For instance, if you're getting married in the winter, you're not going to want a style that is slinky and form fitting, but more of a fuller style.
* Have fun wedding dress shopping! Don't visit too many shops in one day, and don't take too many opinions with you. Meaning don't take all 8 bridesmaids, both moms, and every friend in between. When you get too many opinions, it becomes very stressful for you! Make a day of it, get some lunch or dinner and wine and discuss what you've tried on and narrow down to help you make a decision.
* Think about your body shape and what you feel the most comfortable in. If you're fuller on top, definitely consider a style that is going to keep the "girls" in and be more of a flattering style. You don't want to be doing the tug all night to make sure you're not falling out. Choose something that makes you feel confident and sexy, not body conscious and worried about how you're going to look in your pictures and to everyone else. Try on all different styles because you will be surprised what you will and will not like once it's on.
* Don't size yourself up and go with a something smaller with the dream that you're going to loose lots of weight. If you do, wonderful for you, but it's hard to fit into a dress that's too small. It's much easier to take it in.
* Make sure that when ordering you're sized well. Have them size you up and size you up again. Measurements are very hard to take and you don't want your dress coming in way too small or way too big. Also, consider the undergarments that you may wear as well. Make sure when making a decision on the size that you see the measurement chart and agree with the wedding gown shop on your size before you sign.
* Before signing on the dotted line, make sure the following is in writing: Designer and style #, Price of dress, Size, Color of Dress specified, date of expected delivery, payment schedule, and a cancellation policy that is clear.
* When purchasing, set a budget as to how much you want to spend. If your style is bigger than your budget and you're set on a designer such as Monique Lhuillier, check out sites like Pre Owned Wedding Dresses for those designers that have been worn and brides are needing to sell their gown. Definitely benefit from a bride who paid full price!
* Be prepared when purchasing to put 1/3 to 1/2 down when ordering your gown. Once that deposit is paid, it is set, so be sure that you've made the right decision. My biggest suggestion on purchasing is to put your dress on a credit card. Pay in full if able, but this is a protective measure to keep your purchase safe.
* When you pick up your dress, make sure to try it on before leaving to make sure it is the correct size, there aren't any mistakes such as stains that can't be resolved or tears, and ask the wedding gown shop for alteration suggestions if they're needed, even just for your bustle.
* Most of all, be yourself and stay true to who you are the design that fits you best, not what's in style. Styles go in and out, but a classic is something that you feel beautiful in!
Up next: locations & guest lists...
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Sharon Patrice, Simple Perfect Peace/Designs by Shay