I wish I knew Meaghan when I got married in 2013! Her chic style, attention to detail and honest advice would have went a long way when I was on the wedding dress hunt. Which is why I am so happy to have her words of wisdom grace the blog today! With her breadth of experience, she analyzes the wedding dress shopping by providing helpful tips on making your experience stress-free and meaningful. Here's Meaghan from The Handmade Bride:
1) Create a 'Stress-Free' Zone
The best place to be when planning your wedding is the “stress-free zone”! The place where you don’t need to worry about if your dress will arrive in time for alterations, to complete your alterations in a relaxed manner and receive your dress a few weeks before your wedding.
Wedding dresses take a long time to make, start shopping 9 to 12 months before your wedding day and make sure to order your dress at least 6 to 9 months before. Most designers will consider anything less than 6 months a rush order and may charge a rush order fee or may not accept the order. Ideally, you will receive your dress about 3 months before your wedding.
2) Plan Well and Plan Ahead
To get in the 'stress-free zone', order your dress 9 months in advance of the wedding. Wedding planning is all about research and there is so much to learn! Choose your bridal shop carefully, don't just go to the place around the corner just because it's close. Check out local shop's websites to see what styles of wedding gowns they carry, what their price ranges are and what the overall style of the shop is. For example, is the shop more traditional, more relaxed, more fashion forward? Is it a boutique or big box store? Consider what factors are important to you, such as price, ethics, customer service and style.
Do: Book an appointment, pretty much every shop requests that you book an appointment in advance.
3) Keep it Simple!
Don't overwhelm yourself by visiting too many bridal shops and trying on too many dresses. Also, keeping your entourage to a few close loved-ones is best. Large groups tend to voice too many conflicting opinions and can influence your decision.
Do: Visit 1 – 3 bridal shops with 2 – 4 loved ones.
4) Dress for Success
Make sure to wear the proper under things. It may happen that the dress you love is 3 sizes too big or too small, if you are wearing a good strapless bra, a bustier and/or body shapers your bridal consultant can clip and pin the dress so that you can get a clear idea of what it will really look like. Also, choose undergarments that are close to your skin colour so that you are not distracted by your pink zebra print undies showing through a beautiful lace dress!
Do: Bring a nude strapless bra and nude seamless underwear.
5) Have Fun!
The most important thing is to have fun! Make a day of it, bring along the important people in your life, go for lunch or to the salon before your appointment, make it a time to be together with your friends and family and enjoy this exciting time in your life!
Meaghan Brunetti is the Owner and Bridal Stylist at The Handmade Bride, a bridal boutique based in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The Handmade Bride opened in 2013 with the mission to offer exclusively handmade wedding dresses and accessories to the creative and independently-minded brides of Ottawa.