Wedding dressTips to Know Before You Go

DO take the page from the magazine with the picture of the dress you want into a bridal shop. Note the magazine name and issue date on the page.

DON’T order a dress that you have not actually seen.

DO inquire about the alteration policy. Most stores charge for this because employing an expert seamstress/tailor is an additional cost for them. Custom fitting is as important as the style of the gown.

DON’T rush to accept an all-inclusive price (free headpiece, petticoat), because the level of service is often reduced by the amount of extras promised. Beware of incredible deals.

DO use a credit card when paying your deposit. If the dress is not delivered or there are problems, the bank that issued the card can be contacted to issue a refund.

DON’T buy at a hotel sale unless the sponsor has a bridal shop in town. Traveling shows are cash and carry. You have no way to reach the seller and no recourse if you’re not happy with the dress.

DO set a budget. The cost of a wedding dress averages between $700-$800, but can range from $300-$2,500. Know how much you are willing to spend, and be prepared to buy if you find your dream dress. Most salons require a 50% non-refundable deposit.

DON’T bring children along. Take this time for yourself.

DO start looking early! Most stores recommend that you order your dress no less than 16 weeks before your wedding to allow time for custom ordering and fitting.

DON’T bring more than two bridesmaids or friends shopping with you. Too many opinions will only cause confusion and controversy. Pick one trusted adviser.

DO check the manufacturers size charts for each dress with your measurements in hand. Select the size closest to your largest measurement  its easier to take in a dress than to enlarge it.