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Buying a wedding dress is not an easy task. There are so many types, shapes and colours that you may end up feeling completely overwhelmed when you begin to shop. So here is the second part of our “how to buy a wedding dress” guide with some tips and advice keep you calm and enjoy the experience of choosing your dream gown.
1. Remember, unlike other typical clothing stores, many wedding gown stores will not often have the dresses in your size. You may be making a decision based on a dress which is too large or too small and will definitely need to be altered. This is where deciding on a silhouette beforehand can help you. If you know that a certain type of dress is flattering to your figure, it's easier to take the plunge when you're standing in a dress miles too big with huge clips in the back and trying to imagine how the correct size will look.
2. It’s your wedding day so you can do what you like and wear what you like. Don’t choose a dress to suit others or wear what your mother thought was the best option! The shape, length and colour are all your choice – just wear what you feel most comfortable in on the day, and what you would like to look back on in years to come and be happy to have worn.
3. Wedding dresses are typically sold by designer and style number, so note which designers you like and the style numbers - this can help you find similar styles that may be more affordable than the exact dress you want.
4. If you feel you’re at your most beautiful in a particular dress then buy it! No matter what style of wedding you are having or how long before your wedding, if you feel beautiful in it you will shine on your day.
5. Consider is renting a dress. This can be a far more affordable way to get yourself a fantastic dress (for the day). The other bonus is not having to clean, store, or ever deal with it again. Men rent suits all the time so why not?!
6. If your budget allows and you’re lucky enough to have a master seamstress as a good friend then perhaps you could make a dress from scratch. It requires a lot of planning, fittings and expensive material. But, you’re getting exactly the dress the want.
7. Another option is to modify a dress. Perhaps your mother or another family member or friend still has their dress in storage. Again, if your budget allows, or you know a seamstress you may be able to modify an older dress. With the right know how a size 16 dress could easily be turned into a 10, and the choice of fabrics and embellishments to add will be entirely your choice.
8. If money is an issue or you just don’t want to spend a fortune on a dress for one day it may be worth looking in thrift stores or charity shops. You may find a dress at a great price that can be altered to suit your taste.
All eyes will be on you on your wedding day so it's important to make the best dress choice possible. Here are some helpful hints and tips to get you started on your search for your dream gown.
Research. Before you even begin to shop around, it’s important to have done some research. You should always have a bit of knowledge about dresses, and know some of the terms used in reference to them as well. It would be a good idea to begin by looking at bridal magazines and websites to give you an idea of what is available as well as the styles you may be interested in looking at.
Decide on your style. Wedding dresses are made in several different shapes. Again, before you consider buying a dress, it would make good sense to know what style will suit your body shape the best. It would be a good idea to consider the types of dresses you already own and which ones make you feel the most comfortable. Look at photos of different styles of dresses. Wedding message boards and forums and websites such as Pinterest are a great way to see photos of real women in dresses, rather than relying on touched up photos of professional models.
Some common types of wedding dress include:
- Ball gowns – generally look great on most body types, unless the bride is very short in which case it may overwhelm her figure.
- A-lines – have a fitted bodice and a gently flared skirt. Again, they suit most figures and are a good choice for women not completely confident with their lower body, but who don’t want to wear a ball gown.
- Empire waist – have a flowing skirt that falls from just beneath the breasts. They are a great choice for a casual non formal wedding, or for a tropical or beach wedding due to their light flowing fabric. They are also a great dress choice for pregnant brides as they provide extra room in the waist and are comfortable to wear.
Picture it. Image yourself on your wedding day. What are you wearing? What style is your gown? What fabric? Is it embroidered or beaded? What colour is it? There are so many choices and brides often find it very overwhelming looking at hundreds of different styles. So again, before you even start to try on dresses, envision how your dream dress will look. Look at photos in magazines or online, talk to friends and decide which dress will suit your particular shape. Then write down a quick description of what you’re looking to find. For example, “satin, cream, beaded, strapless, a-line style”. Now that you have a reference it will be a little easier to look for that particular type of dress.
Consider the circumstances. A wide variety of factors can affect what makes a particular dress appropriate to the occasion.
- Formal ceremonies usually call for floor length gowns and long trains, while informal ceremonies (especially destination weddings) are a great place to wear a shorter more casual gown.
- The weather can play a big part in the type of dress that you choose. If you're getting married in the winter, you may not want to wear a dress made of light or thin fabric. In the middle of summer a heavy satin dress may not be a good idea!
- Most traditional ceremonies will call for a white gown, however, in recent years more women are choosing dresses that best complement their skin tones or colours including red, pink, blue or even black. Pick the colour that you like best and that suits you best. After all it’s your day and your choice!
Decide your budget. When deciding on your budget, you don't need to set a very specific price at the beginning. Decide on a general price range such as $1000 - $1500 for example. Some experts suggest devoting 10% of the overall wedding budget to the bride's attire (the gown itself, as well as the veil, shoes, slip, jewellery etc).
With your wedding planning underway it’s time to turn your attention to your ultimate holiday, your honeymoon. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of walking along a beautiful sunkissed sandy beach in the Caribbean, or you’re looking forward to an action packed adventure. Now is your chance to make like a celebrity and have that dream holiday! So here are some tips for planning the perfect newlywed trip.
You get what you pay for. You’re so excited to plan your honeymoon and spend some well earned relaxation time with your new husband or wife. But don’t book the first deal just because it’s cheap. There’s a reason it could be so cheap. You could be travelling during rainy/hurricane season or the hotel could be undergoing renovations. Make sure you do some research before you book.
Be different! When people think of honeymoons they almost always think of the beach. Maybe it’s not your thing but your new partner loves the sun. Compromise on a destination that will make you both happy. Have some fun in the sun, but also perhaps plan a few activities such as wine tasting, scuba diving or maybe a hot air balloon ride. There’s plenty of choice to suit you both!
Time is money. Don't fly halfway around the world if you have only have a limited amount of days for your honeymoon. Do your best with the time you have. If it’s limited maybe you might be best off holidaying closer to home, or maybe even delaying your honeymoon until you have more time.
Review panic. Try not to obsess over travel reviews. If someone complained about the air conditioning a year ago and no one has mentioned it since, assume it has been fixed. If many people have the same complaint over and over, assume it is a valid issue. Try not to get hung up on small issues. You could miss out on staying in some great places if you take every review literally. They always say you can’t please everyone, and that’s certainly the case with travel reviews!
The To Do List. Never wait until the last minute to book your honeymoon. But also, don’t book too many activities in advance either. You’ll be under a tight schedule up until your wedding, and this is a very draining and exhausting time. On your honeymoon you may well just want to relax and not take part in many activities. Book a couple of things to do, but don’t fill your days just in case!
Legal Stuff. This is very important: Do not book your honeymoon with your married name. Make sure that all travel reservations match your legal documents that you will have when you are travelling. You will not have documentation that includes you married name unless you decide to delay your honeymoon for a number of weeks afterwards.
Home Sweet Hotel. The best part of travelling is having new experiences! Be open to this and don't expect things to be "just like home." Try different types of food and drinks or stay in a hotel that isn’t a typical “you” hotel. Your honeymoon will most likely be the greatest holiday of your life, so get as much as you can out of it.
Did you know that in 1993, over 30,000 guests attended a wedding inJerusalem, making it the largest wedding attendance on record.
Compiling a wedding guest list can be very stressful as people's feelings are involved. Here, tact and sympathy for others' feelings are needed, as well as patience and understanding to avoid conflict. Here are some guidelines for creating your wedding guest list:
- Figure out your budget - decide out how much money you can spend on food per guest at the reception, and use that amount to determine the number of guests you can invite. After all, the head count at your reception is the biggest expense in your wedding budget. Remember, stick to your budget!
- Create a rough list - before creating the final guest list, you and your fiancé, as well as both sets of parents should create a list. Then, work together to compile these lists and reach the required amount of guests to fit your budget.
- Prioritise - it might be a good idea to split your guests into must, should and could invites. There are certain people you’ll definitely want to have at your wedding, and those that you aren’t so sure about. Does your budget cover all the must invites? If so, move on to the should invites and then to the could invites. By doing this, it ensures that the people who are most important to you will make the cut.
- Family First – you should always invite family first. Remember, your family and close friends are the ones you care about the most, and are the ones you most likely will want to spend your day with.
- Significant Others - if your budget allows, give the single members of the wedding party and single family members the option of bringing a guest. If the budget does not allow for this, address the invitation appropriately. Don’t include “and guest” in the hopes that they won’t bring one because they probably will.
- Co-Workers - don’t feel obligated to invite co-workers. Just because you spend every day with them doesn’t mean they have to be at your wedding. Secondly, you may not even work with them in the future, so don’t feel pressure to invite them just because they know you’re getting married.
- Children - deciding whether to invite children can be tough. Before you make the decision, consider the type of wedding you’re having. If it’s a black tie affair and your reception begins in the evening, you may have to deal with cranky children when they become tired and bored. If you’re having a casual garden wedding in the early afternoon, then it may be more child-friendly!
- Children also count toward your final number, and, if space is limited at your reception, you may have an easier time making your decision. Your flower girl and ring bearer are part of your wedding party, so you must invite them. If either you or your fiancé has children, you should include them. Also, if either of you has children in your immediate family (brothers or sisters), you should invite them as well.
Children can add a real sense of fun to your wedding, and many brides and grooms may like to have their own or guest’s children involved in their day. But, it’s worth remembering that even the most well behaved child can become disruptive when tired or bored. Here are ten tips to make sure your wedding is both child friendly and fun for everyone involved.
- Provide each child a goody bag containing items such as a puzzle, coloring book or some treats.
- At the reception have a ‘children’s table’ set to one side with crayons, pencils and paper, and ask all your young guests to draw a picture of the bride and groom. Not only will it keep the kids entertained but will also give the bride and groom a memento of the day.
- To help avoid cranky kids, make sure there is plenty of child-friendly food and natural fruit juice to hand at all times. Avoid artificial varieties, which will make already excited children even more hyper!
- Ask the photographer to take a picture of the bride and groom with all the children present. It will help to make the children feel special and important.
- Ask your DJ to play some children’s songs at the beginning of the evening – dancing should tire out any stubborn sleepers in no time!
- If you have invited a lot of children and your venue has plenty of outside space, take advantage by organising a treasure hunt or some outside games or crafts.
- A children’s entertainer can be a godsend for keeping the kids both engaged and entertained. Often magicians and caricaturists will double up as entertainers for younger guests too, so it may be worth enquiring about if you intend to hire one.
- During the meal it might be easier to have a children’s table set up with picnic or finger type food including chips and cocktail sausages, mini burgers or sandwiches – perhaps a teenage relative or a family friend could sit with them and supervise.
- If your guests include older children, consider setting up a small room with computer games, board games and a TV if possible.
- Make sure you involve children in dancing and games at your reception. They will love to feel important and as if they’re helping out on your special day!