Wedding Dresses
Article thanks to Lauren Sargeant Bride Online Columnist

Wedding Dress Checklist

A vast majority of us ladies have been dreaming about our wedding dress since we were little girls. Whether you fall into that category or not, there are a few steps that need to be taken, at precise times, between accepting your Prince Charming's proposal and walking down the aisle in your dream dress. This checklist will help you keep on top of things and ensure that don't get married in a second-rate dress that was a last minute choice.


One Year to Go

• You're getting married! It's all very exciting and there will be lots of exciting decisions to be made. However, first thing’s first: you will need to have a discussion with your sweetheart about a less exciting, but wholly necessary topic- the budget. It's easy to fall in love with a dress that's out of your price range, so it's important to set your dress budget and stick to it, or else you need to be willing to significantly cut back in other areas.

• Ask for advice from newlywed friends regarding creditable bridal stores in your area. Then, call and book a consultation.

• Grab some of your favourite girls and hit the shops! Browse bridal boutiques and warehouses in your area, but don't be afraid to go a little further afield if you can afford to travel to regular fittings.

• Don't forget that you can always have a custom dress designed by a dressmaker. So, flip through bridal magazines and look online for inspiration. You can also visit some bridal stores and try on some off-the-rack dresses, to see which style suits you best. As soon as you've got a basic idea of the design you'd like, make an appointment with a reputable dressmaker. If you’ve really got your heart set on a bespoke dress – perhaps you've been dreaming up the design since you were a little girl – you will need to choose a dressmaker quickly and have your measurements taken, as it generally takes several months to produce a wedding gown from scratch.

9 Months

• If you've got a dressmaker working on your dress, don't forget to turn up for all of your consultations and fittings. Your dressmaker will work out an individual schedule for you, as well as a payment plan.

• Ladies who are going to wear an off-the-rack dress: you should be narrowing down your options and almost ready to make the big decision.

6 Months

• As soon as you find "the one", you can put down your deposit and end the dress search. Trust me, even though it's tempting to continue window browsing after you've paid for a dress, it may lead to disappointment, especially if you find a better dress at a lower price – or, worse still, incur a huge debt on account of purchasing TWO wedding dresses. Ignorance is bliss, so end the shopping expedition as soon as you've put down your deposit.

• Have your measurements taken and discuss any necessary alterations. Ask the sales representative about when you can expect to be called in for a fitting. If you don't hear from them by that time, follow up with a friendly phone call.

3 Months

• You will probably be called in for your first fitting around this time, whether you've ordered an off-the-rack dress or a custom-designed one. Take along your wedding lingerie, shoes, and any other accessories and see how they look with the dress.

• Whenever you go in for a dress fitting, move around, sit down and do a little dance to ensure that you will completely comfortable – and to prevent any popped seams - on the big day.

• This is a good time to discuss dress preservation options. If it wasn't already included in the contract, you may need to pay a little extra, but it will be well worth it, especially if you're a sentimental type.

2 Months

• Continue going in for your fittings and, as soon as you're happy with the alterations, take that beauty home. Make sure you put it somewhere safe. A dry place, out of direct sunlight, where it can be aired without being wrinkled, is perfect.

2 Weeks

• Indulge your girlfriends and show off your dress at your hen's night, bridal shower or some other occasion. Be very careful not to damage the dress. This is also a good opportunity to make sure that it still fits comfortably. If there are any issues, you might need to take the dress back to your seamstress for a rush alterations job. Keep in mind, though, that this may incur extra fees.

The Day Before

• Make sure that your dress, shoes, lingerie and accessories have been carefully packed into the car, ready to be delivered to the venue.

• Put someone, like your mum or maid of honour, in charge of taking your dress home when you leave for your honeymoon. Make sure that they know what to do to best preserve its majestic prettiness.

The Big Day

• Take a deep breath, or a sip of champagne, and calm those flittering butterflies.

• Carefully put on your dress, with the help of your bridesmaids and maybe even mum. Take your time and don't stress. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment – enjoy it!

• Allow everyone to gush and gawk over how beautiful you look. Then, take a look in the mirror and do the same.

• If you're following the tradition, make sure that your groom doesn't see you before you walk down the aisle. Then, enjoy the look of surprise and awe on his face as he sees you for the first time.

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