Buying Your Bridal Gown

by Tricia Edwards

Bridal gowns, on average, represent about 5% to 8% of the total cost of a wedding. It seems like everywhere you look on the internet, there is a site offering discounted bridal gowns. But do you really save a lot of money? Add the cost of having your gown steamed or pressed, the cost of buying a zippered bag for transporting and storage, the cost of having the gown insured and shipped to you and you probably won't be realizing a huge savings.

Most full-service bridal shops steam or press the gown free and usually do not charge you for a sturdy zippered bag. When a new gown arrives, it is promptly opened and inspected for size, color and any imperfections. If there is a problem, it is normally corrected before you are notified of its arrival. Bridal shops invest thousands of dollars in stock gowns so the customer can see, feel, and try the gowns. Experienced and knowledgeable consultants offer terrific advice in selecting the bridal gown and attire for the entire bridal party. Also, your local full-service salon has probably been in the same location for several years and you know where to find them.

Know thyself. Very important when planning your special day. While some brides envision themselves as "Cinderella" in an elaborate ball gown with a cathedral train and matching veil, others see themselves as elegant and sophisticated in a couture sheath. Whatever your style, communicate this to each professional with whom you entrust your day. Don't be afraid to express yourself, but be ready to listen as well. Find a consultant with whom you can establish a good rapport and enjoy the process. Buying your gown should be an enjoyable experience and you should feel confident in your choices. Allow enough time -- preferably six months -- to order the gown so you don't feel pressured into making a hasty decision.

Often, the salon will offer much more than just gowns for the wedding party; many offer invitations, accessories for the ceremony, jewelry, shoes, foundation garments, and tuxedos. A salon that offers most everything not only helps save money and give you peace of mind, it can also save you valuable time.

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