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SHOPPING FOR A WEDDING GOWN
 
As much as everyone loves the little ones, wedding gown shopping is not the place to take the children. A salon appointment may take as long as two hours. Besides being uncomfortable for the child it can be very distracting to you and the other brides who are shopping too. Choosing your special gown is a very important decision and should be done without any distractions. Make separate appointments for the children when it is time to look for their wedding attire.
 
You should take someone on your gown shopping trips that you trust to help you make a decision of what really looks good on you and not what looks good on them. Mom is always a good choice, but a best friend or sister could be another good choice.Avoid taking a large group with you. One or two persons per salon visit should be the limit. It is too confusing with so many different opinions of what you should wear, and most salons do not have the room for each bride to bring 10 people with her. Imagine going to a salon that has 4 dressing rooms and there are 40 people milling about waiting for the 4 brides as they try on gowns! This means just being very considerate of other people, even when other people may not be doing the same. The salons will appreciate your courtesy. And most salons will not mind if you come in several times to show different people the gowns and get their opinions of the perfect gown for you.
It is helpful to you and the salon consultant if you have some ideas of what styles are current and maybe some different styles of gowns you would like to try. The best information is available in bridal magazines and on the web, so before you go shopping check out and mark or print out the styles that you like. The knot.com and theweddingchannel.com have a lot of resources available. Reading the magazines is also helpful, as they usually have great wedding planning articles. Invest in a few magazines before you go and you will feel more knowledgeable and have a better shopping experience.  The salon may not have the exact style that you have been wanting to try on from the magazine, but they should be able to find you similar styles of the gowns that you like. A lot of the gowns in magazines are the super high end gowns too but most of the reasonably priced designers tend to be making similar gowns to the very expensive ones.
When shopping, make appointments! Limit yourself to two per day. Average time takes two hours, so do one in the morning, go have lunch and then have one in the afternoon. Trying on gowns can be exhausting work and when you get tired you could try on the perfect dress and it wouldn't look the same as when you are rested and fresh.
You should start looking at least 9 months before the wedding if you plan to special order. Many manufacturers take 4-5 months to ship. And then you should have at least 6 weeks alteration time. Some manufacturers do offer rush shipping, check with your consultant if your wedding is in less than 6 months. Most stores don't let you take photos due to copyright laws.  Ask before you bring out the cameras.
THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST EXPENSIVE DRESS YOU WILL EVER BUY IN YOUR LIFE!
I ALWAYS SUGGEST WHEN SHOPPING TO TAKE 4 WEEKS OFF OF YOUR REAL WEDDING DATE WHEN ORDERING A GOWN. THE FIRST QUESTION THE MANUFACTURERS WILL ASK IS, "WHEN IS THE WEDDING DATE"! GIVE YOURSELF SOME BREATHING ROOM IF THERE IS EVER A PROBLEM!
For the brides with less than 4-6 months, you may be able to purchase a gown "off the rack". Many stores will sell their sample gowns and then replace them. Most special order salons do not like to do this so don't expect a discount. They should clean it or give you a cleaning credit if the gown is soiled from being tried on. A lot of stores have gowns in their back rooms that have been discontinued and are not out in the regular stock. They should be able to sell these to you at a discount.  There are also stores that cater to the "last minute bride" and have gowns available purchase now, most of these will offer some discount.  But please, do not purchase used gowns if they don't fit perfectly.  Alterations can be difficult on a previously altered gown.
Have a wonderful shopping experience!
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