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5 Things to Know About Your Dress Before You Even Try It On

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Save time, skip the stress, prevent overspending and avoid regrets by formulating a bridal-attire plan of attack before you head to the salon. These are the five key details you’ll want to factor in to your purchase.

Mood/Formality

All elements of a wedding should emulate the wedding dress, so its formality will set the tone for the rest of the bridal party, the location, the menu, the décor, etc., says Brian Worley, a celebrity event planner and co-owner of Santa Monica-based YourBASH! Event Production. For example, a short, flirty frock would be out of place at a black-tie bash while a brocade ball gown wouldn’t mesh with a rustic picnic event.

Venue/Location

The look and feel of your location is of the utmost importance when deciding on a dress, says Julie Sabatino, owner of The Stylish Bride, a New York-based bridal styling service. In fact, she even founded a blog, TheStylishDresser.com, which specifically focuses on pairing venues with appropriate fashion for all your wedding’s members and events. “A romantic setting like a garden calls for romantic fabric like lace,” Sabatino says. “Having a beach wedding? Consider flow-y chiffon and organza that will catch the wind. Or if you’re having a black-tie event at a fancy hotel, some sparkle will rise to the occasion.”

If you’re ceremony is in a church, synagogue or other religious venue, you should also ask about their dress code, notes Worley. They may require that your shoulders are covered, for example, which would necessitate a dress with sleeves, a capelet or a small jacket.

The Season

Climate can certainly play a part in deciding on the best fabrics and styles for your dress. If you’re having an outdoor wedding in a warm or humid time of year, you’ll want lighter, breathable fabrics like chiffon, which work well with airier silhouettes that don’t cling to your body, says Sabatino. Silk duchess satin, on the other hand, is heavier and quite luxurious (e.g. expensive), making it a better fit for cooler months, tailored gowns and formal, indoor events.

Budget

First, decide on the maximum amount you can spend and commit to it, says Sabatino. Understand that details like lots of lace, embroidery and beading will add to the price, and that natural fabrics like silk are costlier than synthetics. Typically you also will pay more for a bigger name designer, says Sabatino. But, she adds, these days there are many stylish options in a reasonable price range from places retailers like J. Crew and BHLDN. Her advice: call a boutique before you visit and ask about their average price tag.

Practical Matters

Do your research by scouring magazines and blogs for pictures of dresses you like (bring copies with you to the salon), but also be open-minded, says Sabatino. Indeed, that silhouette you’re obsessed with may not be ideal for enhancing your assets and minimizing your less favorable parts, Worley says. He also advises choosing a dress you easily eat dinner and dance in: “Like a comfortable pair of shoes, your dress should be, as well!”

[Photo: BHLDN]

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