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Choosing Your Wedding Dress

Dress by Jean Ralph Thurin. Photo by George and Claudia

From the moment a little girl first walks across the living room with a pillowcase on her head while holding a bouquet of paper flowers, to the day that she breathlessly slips into the dress of her dreams for the real event, the wedding dress is the fantasy that becomes reality. The most important dress that a woman ever wears in her life is a pretty high-stakes choice. Most of us spend at least 20 years pondering our ultimate selection. How do you ensure that picking your wedding dress doesn’t go from a fantasy to a nightmare? Here are a few tips that might help:

Think about your true inner style. Since your engagement, all you can picture is your wedding on the beach. It looks so romantic in the movies. The endless horizon, the radiant colors of the sunset, white folding chairs on the pink sand: you can picture every detail that surrounds you and your fiancé on your big day. However, you’re also the glam girl who dreams of a sumptuous floor length ball gown loaded with crystals, pearls, and a train to rival that of Maria Von Trapp. Good luck making your way down the aisle upright! Listen, even if the beach wedding scene of your favorite movie always fills your eyes with tears, if the beach isn’t your normal scene it won’t fit your style on your most intimate day. Consider a setting that fits the style of your dress, and your dress style should reflect your personality. If you’re a ball gown kind of girl, find your palace – not the moat in front of the castle.

Plan on a moderate shopping trip. We’ve all seen those reality shows where the whole wedding party goes to the bridal salon with the bride and her mother, and they are all determined to shop all day if they must for the perfect wedding dress. Huge mistake! Who can make a sane choice after an endless 4 hour parade of white and ivory? It’s like being stuck in a marshmallow factory. Even the most seasoned shopper needs to come up for air after about an hour or two. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of your favorite dresses after you’ve tried on two dozen. Moreover, yes, your wedding party is the most loyal group of women ever assembled, but do they all have your best interest at heart? Are some friends and relatives possibly imposing their own style and opinions on you as you pick your wedding dress? Stick with reasonable shopping trips of 1.5 to 2 hours max. Your mother, maid of honor, sister, or maybe just one other best friend are your best companions as you shop for your wedding dress. They aren’t there to flatter you; when the dress you try on just doesn’t work they won’t be afraid to tell you. But when you come out in THE dress, their sparkling tear-filled eyes will tell you all you need to know.

Buying your wedding dress doesn’t have to be a fiasco. Equipped with careful planning, self-knowledge and just the right people, you’ll choose the dress that you’ll cherish on that day and for a lifetime of blissful memories.

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