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The Bride's Guide Blog

Editor Engaged: Tips For Gown Shopping

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I thought mine would be all rainbows and butterflies, but it actually ended up being quite a frustrating experience. Call me crazy, but I wanted a designer dress even though I have a very modest budget. Not an easy feat.

After visiting several sample stores (specifically The Sample Room and The Bridal Garden), Vows in Boston, and Kleinfeld in NYC, I finally found my dress and learned a couple of things along the way.

1.) If you can't stay on budget when pulling gowns for yourself, go to a salon that selects them for you. They'll stick to your bottom line, and since you're dressing room bound, you can't do anything about it.

2.) The right undergarments make all of the difference. Figure out your silhouette and what undergarments go best with it. I purchased shapewear online (Dominique Longline Smooth Strapless Bra in nude—don't do white!) and brought it to all of my appointments. Every bride I ran into said she wished she'd brought something similar along.

3.) Between two dresses? Do a word association. This was solid advice from mom: describe the dress. One dress made me feel confident, playful, sassy; the other made me feel soft, romantic, bridal. Making a choice became a no-brainer.

4.) It's okay if you don't cry when you try on "the one". I was incredibly nervous during my first appointment, and unbelievably relieved after my last. No waterworks in-between.

What have you learned along the way? Any tips to share?

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