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   Choosing The Bridal Gown

 
Choosing The Bridal Gown

Bridal gowns come in a wide variety of styles, materials, colors, lengths and prices. You should order your gown at least four to six months before your wedding if your gown has to be ordered and then fitted.

Options: Different gown styles can help create a shorter, taller, heavier, or thinner look. Here are some tips:

  • A short, heavy figure: To look taller and slimmer, avoid knit fabrics. Use the princess or A-line style. Chiffon is the best fabric choice because it produces a floating effect and camouflages weight.
  • A short, thin figure: A shirtwaist or natural waist style with bouffant skirt will produce a taller, more rounded figure. Chiffon, velvet, lace and Schiffli net are probably the best fabric choices.
  • A tall, heavy figure: Princess or A-line are the best styles for slimming the figure; satin, chiffon and lace fabrics are recommended.
  • A tall, thin figure: Tiers or flounces will help reduce the impression of height. A shirtwaist or natural waist style with a full skirt are ideal choices. Satin and lace are the best fabrics.


The guidelines below will help you select the most appropriate gown for your wedding:

Informal wedding: Street-length gown or suitCorsage or small bouquetNo veil or train
Semi-formal wedding: Floor-length gownChapel trainFinger-tip veilSmall bouquet
Formal daytime wedding: Floor-length gownChapel or sweep trainFingertip veil or hatGlovesMedium-sized bouquet
Formal evening wedding: Same as formal daytime except longer veil
Very formal wedding: Floor-length gownCathedral trainFull-length veilElaborate headpiece Long sleeves or long arm-covering glovesCascading bouquet

Things To Consider: In selecting your bridal gown, keep in mind the time of year and formality of your wedding. It is a good idea to look at bridal magazines to compare the various styles and colors. If you see a gown you like, call boutiques in your area to see if they carry that line. Always try on the gown before ordering it.

When ordering a gown, make sure you order the correct size. If you are between sizes, order the larger one. You can always have your gown tailored down to fit, but it is not always possible to have it enlarged or to lose enough weight to fit into it! Don't forget to ask when your gown will arrive, and be sure to get this in writing. The gown should arrive at least six weeks before the wedding so you can have it tailored and select the appropriate accessories to complement it.

Beware: Some bridal boutiques have the practice of ordering gowns a size larger than needed. This requires more alterations which may mean extra charges. Ask for all alteration pricing in advance. Tailoring is a great source of income for boutiques. Also, gowns often fail to arrive on time, creating unnecessary stress for you. Have the store manager state, in writing, when the gown will arrive. And be sure to check the reputation of the boutique before buying.

Tips To Save Money: Consider renting a gown or buying one secondhand. Renting a gown usually costs about forty to sixty percent of its retail price. Consider this practical option if you are not planning to preserve the gown. The disadvantage of renting, however, is that your options are more limited. Also, a rented gown usually does not fit as well as a custom tailored gown.

Ask about discontinued styles and gowns. Watch for clearances and sales, or buy your gown "off the rack."

Restore or refurbish a family heirloom gown. If you have a friend, sister, or other family member who is planning a wedding, consider purchasing a gown that you could both wear. Change the veil and headpiece to personalize it.

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