Once you’ve said “Yes!” to your beloved, you have signed yourself up for a long, complicated, and expensive journey to the altar.
Of course, the level of difficulty is largely up to you, but even with the simplest plans, you’ll still have some tough choices to make and a budget to manage.
A very common first step for many brides is to purchase the dress. The minute they’ve got the ring–or maybe even before!–they are searching for designer wedding dresses, hoping to find the perfect one to wear for their Prince Charming.
It’s a fun process that is usually shared with family and friends, and it’s also one that can really try your patience. Brides who have a hard time with the wedding dress process typically make mistakes in a few common areas.
If you can muster the self-control to avoid these pitfalls and stick with a good selection process, you are much more likely to have a joyful and exciting experience.
Picking The Dress First
Shopping for dresses is easy. Picking them out may be challenging, but finding lots of choices is very easy. That’s why a lot of brides jump right in on the search for their dress, neglecting other important things that will affect their dress choices.
You need to think first about the wedding date. You don’t necessarily need it to the day, but knowing the season is very important.
A beautiful sleeveless dress is not going to be a great choice for a glittering December wedding, and a high neck will look downright miserable if your nuptials are set for a scorching summer day.
Again, the exact date isn’t critical if you have confines that will commit you to a certain season. For example, if you want to complete the wedding prior to your fiancée’s overseas deployment or immediately after a college graduation, you will have a good idea of what season you’ll be in.
And the venue is important too, in terms of the dress style. An outdoor wedding may not be suitable for a long train since it may tangle in grass. On the other hand, a higher hemline may look out of place in an elaborate cathedral.
Get your approximate date and your likely venue settled, and you’ll be able to choose a dress that looks at home there.
Picking After Picking
For some women, the choice of a wedding dress is the hardest decision they’ll ever make–two or three times. Maybe even four.
Don’t sabotage yourself with regret by buying a dress, taking it home, and then choosing to go out and shop again. It’s important that you spend enough time on the process that you are sure about what you’ve chosen, and if you haven’t, you may find yourself buying a “placeholder” dress that reassures you that there is at least something you can wear if nothing better comes along.
That’s a recipe for headaches and second-guessing. If you insist on getting a placeholder dress, make a note of its item number and keep it in mind if all other options fail. Then you can go get it. But more than likely, a “good enough” dress is anything but, and you’ll wish later that you’d kept looking.
Commit enough time to the process that once you’ve found one, you know it’s the right one. And don’t shoot yourself in the foot by going shopping again.
Blowing The Budget
Shopping for a wedding dress is a lot like shopping for a car. In the calm environment of your home, you’ve chosen a drop-dead maximum that is not going to change. Then you hit the stores and find one that is $200 over your limit, or $300, and you have soon gone way over.
It’s one thing if the overage is simply a psychological impact that doesn’t really create financial strain. It’s another if it threatens your overall wedding budget. Buy a dress that you can feel comfortable paying for, and remind yourself of what it will leave for the rest of the ceremony’s expenses. If you have itemized your wedding budget, figure out where you’re going to cover the overflow if your dress price starts creeping up.
Getting married is incredibly exciting, and that euphoria can easily make us irrational and reckless. Get caught up in the excitement; enjoy the process. But make sure that you don’t rain on your own parade by making mistakes in your dress purchase.