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How To Buy a Wedding Dress

It’s the biggest day of your life, so don’t leave anything to chance when making this important investment in your future.


  • TIP: Schedule two to three alterations in advance and ask for a written estimate of alterations or a referral to a good seamstress.
  • Step 1: Make sure the delivery date and the deposit paid are noted on your receipt. Credit card payment offers greater buyer protection.
  • Step 2: Enjoy peace of mind knowing that you'll be walking down the aisle in the dress of your dreams.
  • FACT: Did you know? The most popular month for a wedding is June. January is the least popular.
  • Step 3: Bring a flesh-colored strapless bra for trying on strapless dresses and wear your wedding shoes or ones of a similar height. Walk, sit, bend, and even dance in the dress to gauge ease of movement.
  • TIP: Shop on a weekday to avoid the weekend crush of buyers. You’ll have more of the salesperson’s attention and time.
  • Step 4: Know what your budget is before you shop. Extras, such as veil, shoes, and accessories, can cost $500 or more. Plan to spend about 10 percent of your total wedding budget on your clothes.
  • Step 5: Consider the setting, time of day, and level of formality of your wedding before shopping for a dress. An outdoor, daytime wedding will be more casual than a formal, evening affair in a house of worship.
  • Step 6: Know what you want. Make a list of adjectives that describe how you want to look and feel on your wedding day. But keep an open mind, too, and listen to suggestions from salespeople and friends.
  • Step 7: Ask married friends for advice on where to shop. Visit several shops, bridal outlets and warehouses, consignment shops, and sample sales to see which ones provide you with the best service or selection. You can also look online.
  • Step 8: Start shopping for custom-made gowns nine months to a year before the wedding date. You may need six months to allow for alterations.

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