This is your chance to receive the full “Trinny and Susannah” treatment. Most of us don’t regularly wear full length ivory dresses, so you can’t be expected to know what might suit you. Take plenty of advice from the professionals and try on a range of styles. Your dress designer, or boutique assistant, will be able to advise you on the best type of gown to suit your body shape, your personality and the style of the wedding. Although most brides tend to take along a friend that they trust to be totally honest about how a dress looks (particularly from that crucial back view), the assistant should, if asked, be prepared to give a really honest opinion even if it might cause offence! Look through magazines for inspiration, and take along any drawings or photographs to enable you to show the assistant what you are looking for. She should be able to find something similar and aid you in your quest for your dream dress. Always make an appointment if you are wanting to try on gowns. The boutique assistants will want to give you their full attention, to help you in and out of dresses and offer advice on the fit, which they are unable to do in a busy changing room. Saturdays are usually the busiest days, and you may find that you need to make your appointment well in advance. Tradition says that the bride should never make her own dress as it was feared it would bring bad luck. However, if you feel ‘daring’ an inspirational visual resource featuring more than 250 gowns, “Wedding Dresses” (from the same publishers of the well established “Wedding Cakes a Design Course”comes highly recommended. It is available at WH Smith, Sainsbury’s and newsagents at £4.50. The simple answer is … as soon as possible! As you can imagine, with the huge range of styles, fits, beading and embroidery out there, the choice is endless, and thus can be somewhat time consuming, and picking the gown out is only the first stage. When should I start looking for my dress? The new season designs arrive in stores in January, with a further mid-season collection arriving in June. Once you have chosen and ordered your gown it can take 2 – 6 months, depending on the designer, to arrive, and then time needs to be allowed for fittings and adjustments. There is, of course, the option to buy some styles “off the peg”, particularly from the larger chain stores, and take the gown home with you the same day, but the chances are that you will still need to allow time for alterations. We would suggest that you have chosen your dress with at least 6months to spare before your big day Whatever colour you choose, remember that whatever you select should be flattering to your skin tone. If you decide to go for a traditional “white wedding”, remember that dark-skinned brunettes look better in ivory or a muted neutral, while fair skinned blonde ladies will look more striking in an off or pure white. Ensure that the colour of your dress links to the colour theme of the wedding as a whole, try not to choose a pink dress with gold embroidery if your colour theme is red and silver! When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she broke the royal tradition of getting married in a silver wedding dress, opting for a white gown. White symbolises affluence as opposed to virginit, as commonly considered. Until these times, ‘normal’ brides would not buy a new dress for their wedding,. Instead they would simply make do with their best dress, although wearing the colour green was considered unlucky. The line in the following rhyme originates from the saying “she has a green gown”; implying that the lady in question had dirtied her gown by rolling in the grass – thus getting her ‘green gown’ from grass stains! This is an old rhyme originally written to “help” ladies choose the colour of their Wedding Dress… (please don’t take it literally!):
Married in White, you have chosen right, Married in Grey, you will go far away, Married in Black, you will wish yourself back, Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead, Married in Green, ashamed to be seen, Married in Blue, you will always be true, Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl, Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow, Married in Brown, you will live in the town, Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.
No matter what shape or size you are, you need a dress that fits properly. Remember that you will be wearing the dress for usually about 12 hours, so ensure you will be comfortable. You will be immortalised in your wedding photographs for years to come, so any face-pulling due to discomfort will undoubtedly be caught by some budding photographer, if not the professional one! It’s your big day, you need to feel relaxed and special, so there is no need to shoehorn yourself into a size too small. Unsightly bulges are visable whereas the size tag isn’t! If the age of your bridesmaids ranges from 2 years old to 30-something, they don’t need to wear identical dresses. Let them each choose a style that suits them, in the same fabric. They will feel more comfortable and still look great in the photographs. It is unusual to ask the bridesmaids to pay for their own outfits, however if you are asking them to contribute they should be allowed to choose a design that they can wear again. Sassy, sexy Sarah Jessica Parker style bridesmaids dresses are taking over from the traditionally restrained bridesmaids outfits we are used to. Choose from floaty chiffons or organzas in soft colours. For ideas, look at Bridesmaid Dresses 101. Bridesmaids, dressed identically to the bride were required by Roman Law, so that mischievous spirits who were believed to attend the wedding, would be confused as to who the Bride was! Don’t forget to ask your Bridesmaids to look at our specific Bridesmaid’s Q&A section. Instead of leaving your beautiful gown in a crumpled heap on the floor for the duration of your honeymoon, arrange for your gown to be taken to a specialist dry cleaner straight after the wedding for the best chance of removing any stains. They will pack it in special acid-free paper to preserve the fabric’s colour. If well looked after, your dress can be worn by future generations, giving them as much joy as you will have had from it. If you are considering selling a designer wedding gown after the wedding, be prepared to part with it immediately, and register your intentions with an agency to enable them to let brides know that it will be coming in. Designer gowns lose value as soon as they are no longer this season’s design, so time is of the essence. For ease and simplicity, you can even sell it online – try Ribbons & Pearls. The best rule about stains is “don’t touch them and get it to a specialist cleaner fast” 1st Call for Weddings offer a cleaning service which can be booked online before the wedding to collect by courier immediately afterwards and sent off to the specialists. Ideally, you should keep some plain white kitchen roll at the wedding, just in case. It can be used to absorb any stains by holding some under and some over the fabric. You should then put a note with the dress to tell the cleaner whereabouts the mark is and what caused it. The majority of bridal boutiques will have a collection made up from their own “in-house” designer and from a number of “famous name” designers. Boutiques often insist on the exclusive rights to stock a particular gown. There are around a dozen “big name” designers in Britain for whose gowns you can expect to pay between £1500 and £3000. Each has their own unique style so if you like one gown from a particular designer you may find that their entire collection will appeal. Although there are also hundreds of less well known designers, it really should only be the famous names that are being referred to when a gown is described as “designer”. The Dressmarket is an online shop selling the finest once-worn and never worn wedding dresses from the world’s leading designers. Buying a designer dress second hand is a brilliant idea, enabling brides to afford to wear the dress of their dreams without having to take out a second mortgage! The new season’s gowns are shown at a trade exhibition in Harrogate every September, which is when the boutiques choose their new collection and the magazines report on the new styles. These are then available in the shops from January. The traditional look is that of the “blushing bride” – dewy skin, flushed cheeks and altogether a very ‘girlie’ look. The best tip I can advise is to use Waterproof Mascara! Tears of joy are almost guaranteed! Wear make-up that is a touch heavier/darker than normal, so that the camera flash doesn’t make you look washed out. Do ensure that you have a complete hair and make-up run through prior to the big day, to smooth over any forseeable problem areas! For professional Make-Up and Hair Artists, search our extensive database here! I may have found the company you are looking for – Turquoise Weddings. If they don’t have what you are thinking of – contact them and see if you can get something made to your own specification. The average wedding takes around 250 hours to plan – this equates to seven weeks if it were your full-time job! There is a simple answer; ask a TV director to take over your plans; most Eastenders weddings take up no more than half an hour of the Bride-to-Be’s time in order to arrange the fairytale wedding! Only pass over the arrangements to your Mum if you really are happy with handing over control. Failing that, contact a co-ordinator who can guide you through the planning process and who will take on as little or as much as you like.You should, however, find that once you break up the tasks into smaller easily achieved tasks that it won’t seem so daunting. Set a timetable to see what really needs doing and when, to see how much of an issue it will be. Your boss may be prepared to give you some additional unpaid leave, rather than see you struggle to fit in everything at the weekends. As well as asking your Mum, also approach trusted friends to help you – planning your wedding should be an enjoyable time, not a period of suffering!
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