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9 steps to the perfect dress

Before you start trying on dresses, make sure those you pick are within your budget and fit the style that will compliment your body type.

A bride-to-be faces many challenges on her way to the altar. Finding the right wedding dress might be the most stressful decision she will have to make. To help simplify the process, here are nine top tips on choosing the perfect dress.

1. Set a spending limit

Although true for every step of planning a wedding, setting a dress budget might be the best decision you make. Whether you’re working with a high-end or low-end budget, leave room for unanticipated expenses such as deposits and salon fees as well as accessories. Don’t forget that veils, bouquets, shoes, stockings and undergarments are separate expenses.

2. Narrow your options

Style choices are truly personal and could be vintage, simple, classic, non-traditional, modest or designer. Whether checking out magazines, websites or stores, figure out the look you want by starting early and viewing as many different options as possible before narrowing down choices enough to start shopping.

3. Fit the dress to your body, not the body to the dress

Look for styles that work well with your body type. Whether you want a princess ball gown, drop-waist, sheath, backless, strapless, halter, v-neck or tea-length gown, fly with what flatters.

4. Snap a shot

Keep track of your favorite finds by smartphone. Have a friend or family member take photos from all angles when modeling something you like. Photos can help with hard-to-see views that even multiple mirrors can’t do justice.

5. Don’t judge your dress by its hanger

Don’t reject a style because of how it looks on the rack. Many of the most beautiful gowns hang in a slump of wrinkled fabric that no amount of imagination can transform. Put it on and step out. Get the look, feel and shape of it before discounting it.

6. Beautiful moves

Consider the practicality of a gown as well as its beauty before you buy. A lovely evening can turn ugly if you feel imprisoned in the folds of fabric. Make sure you can sit, walk and dance.

7. Too many choices, too little time

If you followed steps one and two, now is the time to stick to your choices as you begin to try on gowns. Don’t be tempted by something you can’t afford. Leave it on the rack. Don’t start trying on gowns outside your comfort zone. You’ll avoid unfortunate decisions if you stick to your original plans.

8. More is not always merrier

Too many shopping buddies can offer too many opinions. And when friends and family don’t see eye to eye, tensions can rise during what should be a day to build good memories. Keep the number of helpers small and choose people who get along.

9. The early bird gets the best shopping

Schedule fittings as early in the day as possible. Bridal salon staff are only human, and by the end of the day, they might have lost much of their enthusiasm and vitality. Wedding consultants and wedding planners are the most energetic in the morning, and the stores tend to be less crowded. You’ll have more energy yourself and receive more attention.

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