Bridal Gown Shopping FUN!

Selecting your bridal gown is probably one of the best shopping experiences in your life, or at least it should be. It should also be a fun and an uplifting experience. Unfortunately reality can rear its ugly head and turn your dream into a nightmare if not managed properly. Yes, you will have to manage a shopping trip. 

The Bridal Salon – Select a Bridal Salon that you trust. Make sure you have checked them out thoroughly and they are highly recommended.  Make your appointment in person so you can see the salon and familiarize yourself with parking, etc. If at all possible, avoid busy times and book your appointment when there is less traffic. This will ensure you get the most out of your hour-long visit. Keep in mind that you will be going back for fittings if you decide to travel a great distance to find a gown.

The  Companions –I recommend bringing no more than three people with you. Generally less is better since having five opinions on every dress is  a mathematical disaster. In this case 5×10 = stress. This is not a bridesmaid function or a family picnic. Meet up with them afterward to show them a picture of the dress you bought.  This appointment is only for people whose taste you trust, people whose opinion you respect, those who will behave properly in this environment and of course whoever is paying for the gown (if it is not you). Maybe I’ve witnessed too many appointments gone wrong where the bride is in tears because Aunt Fanny said her butt looked too  big, or worse. If Aunt Fanny has a habit of saying hurtful things include her in something else wedding-related. No matter how much you love her, she might not be the best person to have in the fitting room with you. Mom & Dad  if they are available,  sisters who are supportive and of course a TGF (Tasteful Gay Friend)  are always  good choices.

The Underwear –Remember when your mother told you to always put on clean underwear in case you were in accident? That goes double for trying on wedding gowns. If you plan to wear a strapless gown, bring a strapless bra or ask if the salon has them available for trying on gowns. Wear your best undergarments, bring shoes with the same heel height you wish to wear for your wedding and always make sure your hygiene is impeccable. Spend a little extra time on your hair and makeup that day as well since if you are successful in finding a gown, you will probably want to take some pictures. If you already have family jewelry you wish to wear, by all means bring that as well. You will feel better, look better and get a much better idea of how you will look on the day of your wedding.

The Appointment –  Arrive early in case your consultant has some extra time and can take you before your scheduled time. Most bridal gowns appointments last one hour and trust me, with their experience this is plenty of time to find a gown for you. Make sure you are comfortable with your consultant, spend a few minutes making sure they understand what type of wedding gown you are in search of. Describe the ceremony and reception locations to them and don’t leave anything to the imagination. You do not need a cathedral train for a resort wedding, so make it clear what is off  limits right away. This is also the time to specify your budget….. and leave some wiggle room. If you absolutely cannot go over $3,ooo make sure the consultant knows this so they don’t bring gowns that are $4,000 and up. If the consultant brings in gowns that are twice your budget, do not try them on because as luck would have it – this is probably the gown you will fall in love with.  I have seen tears, temper tantrums and anxiety attacks over this. Most salons do not allow any photography unless you have purchased the gown so always ask before taking pictures.

The Gown – Maybe it is the first gown you try on. Maybe it is the fifteenth (lets hope not) but you have found a gown and you know it is THE one.  Buy it. You look great and you feel great so what is stopping you? Don’t wait until next week so you can bring another person to tell you what you already know…. just buy the gown. Some brides hesitate when it comes time to making that final decision and I’m not sure why. There is always the question, “What if I order it and then later on I like something better?”  Here is my answer: Finding the right gown is similar to finding the right partner, when it’s right you will stop looking.  Something better will not come along. You have found the dress and all you have to do is buy it.

Most of all when shopping for your bridal gown, be respectful of your consultant, your family or friends who have accompanied you and the other guests in the salon.

Gum-chewing is unacceptable, opt for Altoids if you want to freshen your breath.

Profanity is unacceptable, if you cannot control your temper or your vocabulary, maybe a thesaurus or charm school is in order. If that is not an option, take a deep breath and count to ten.

Don’t bring anything to eat or drink in the fittings rooms. Bottled water may seem innocuous but try spilling 20 ounces of it  on a silk wedding gown and let me know how that works out. Even plain water will stain most delicate fabrics .

Now that you have the basics, take a moment to watch our couture runway fashion show video so you can get inspired to find the gown of your very own dreams.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The dreaded “B” word – Budget

When planning your wedding, there are many things to consider; location, time of day, how many guests to invite, etc. But none of them are as important as the actual wedding budget. Couples are faced with so may decisions regarding this one very special day that it can become daunting if you enter into the planing stages unprepared. Before you even think of shopping for the first item, sit down with your betrothed and have a very candid budget meeting. During that meeting you will each  have to make concessions. How much are your families able or willing to spend to help you?

Once you have established your budget, you can being to negotiate the importance of each individual item. What are the most important aspects of the day for you as a couple? Photographs tend to rank higher and things like table favors are lower in the scale of importance. However, everyone is different and no one can tell you what is important to you, except you.  There are some ways to help you stay within budget.

Plan your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Many venues offer greatly discounted rates for events that are not on Saturday. They will be happy to negotiate with you during off-season as well. When is off-season? It varies from state to state and year to year. The big shift is that more couples seem to get married in December than June ……….. for now. Imagine how spectacular your ceremony would be against the backdrop of fall foliage or spring in bloom!

Shop realistically for your gown. Take someone with you when shopping for your bridal gown. When you first go into the salon, state your price point and politely ask the consultant not to bring anything over your specified amount. It will save everyone time and aggravation. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford. If your gown budget is $2000, you can not be shopping for gowns that are priced at $4000, it will only lead to heartache.

Flowers can be expensive. However, this is a place where you can really save  as well. Using flowers that are in season or grown locally can save hundreds of dollars and give you a better, fresher product. Using non-flowering greenery can also add a touch of whimsy to your centerpiece.  Also – don’t be afraid to use bigger flowers in the centerpieces because it could save money in the end. Explore your options with a trusted florist.

Bigger tables- opt for the big round table that seats 10. Larger tables will require less centerpieces and give guests a chance to meet more people from other parts of your life!

Bridal Expo- yes, you will save money by attending one of our many shows throughout the year. Our vendors offer discounts at the shows and for couples who have attended the shows. Seeing everything in one place saves time which saves money … and with the price of gas nearing $4.00 gallon, driving is money. You can see up to 60 wedding professionals at one time and these are our trusted vendors so the research is done. The bonus is that there are prizes awarded at each show so you could possible win a honeymoon or a valuable gift package.

Call 847-428-3320 to get four complimentary tickets to a show in your area so you can start saving money immediately.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago