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How To // Find Your Perfect Dress

Get ready to fall in love. Here’s your complete guide to finding ‘The One’ – dress, that is! You’ve clicked and pinned and done your homework. Now it’s time to see if that dress you can’t stop thinking about really is “The One” for you.


While lots of people may be clamoring to join you in the search, less is more. Why? “You’ll get too many opinions and some will be overpowering,” says Jocelyn Robertshaw, owner of Ready or Knot {Wedding Chic} in Omaha.



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“It’s exhausting to appease everybody. The experience can leave you confused about what you want,” she says.


Shannon Wiece at Blush Bridal Boutique in Lincoln agrees. "It's an exciting time, but it's best to shop with someone who knows your style best."


Mom and-or another important family member may be the ideal choice, suggests Tracy Ponec, owner of Rhylan Lang bridal boutique in Omaha.


The best shopping companions are those who will wait for your reaction before offering their own opinions. "It's always helpful when a bride speaks first," Wiece notes. If you feel compelled to shop with a group, cap it at four.


And take heart. You probably will find that Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse. “What you don’t see is what went into producing that beautiful image you’ve pinned and liked," Robertshaw says. Here are more tips from the pros.




Launch your dress search in earnest only after finalizing the wedding venue and date. After all, what originally was planned as a daytime summer celebration quickly can morph into a winter black-tie affair, which calls for an entirely different look.




Begin booking visits to bridal boutiques six to nine months prior to your wedding. Go into those appointments with a price range for the dresses you'd like to see. A good bridal consultant will respect your budget and steer you accordingly.




Show photos of favorite gowns to your bridal consultant as a starting point. But keep an open mind. Try on a number of styles. Something that looks fabulous on your Pinterest board may not be flattering on your body type, and something that you had not considered might turn out to be the perfect gown.




If you find a dress that you love but it’s out of your price range, ask if the salon carries a similar style at a lower price point. That's often the case.




If you’re interested in a dress in a color that's different from the one you tried on, ask to see a swatch before making your final decision. Hues in photos can be different from the actual fabric sample.




You can, and should, ponder your choices. The last thing you want is buyer’s remorse (sales are final in the world of bridal). Wiece, an assistant manager at Blush boutique, estimates that 75 to 80 percent of her brides buy on their first visit. "But it really depends on your shopping style."




Delivery of a gown can take four to six months, Ponec says. To that timeline you will need to add one to three months for alterations, depending on the season. Plan to pick up the gown at least two weeks prior to the wedding. For peace of mind, inquire about insurance to protect you if the salon goes out of business or if the dress becomes damaged while in the store’s possession.




Wear your wedding shoe – or a shoe with the same heel height – for your fittings. Your dress will be hemmed accordingly. In selecting your shoe, comfort should be a priorty, Robertshaw says. "You’ll be on your feet most of the day. Keep them happy." Four-inch heels would be a mistake. Two-inch heels would be smart. (And don't think you have to stick to white or ivory. "Color would be a fine idea," Robertshaw says.) Proper undergarments are another "must" for your final fittings. Without them, your seamstress is only guessing at the alterations to be done.




In jewelry, choose pieces that draw attention to your face. Bracelets? "Pass if you’re not used to wearing one, or you’ll fiddle with it all day," Robertshaw says. Ditto for a necklace. "If you normally wear a necklace and the neckline on your dress is right for one, you’ll feel complete when you look in the mirror." You can forego a necklace if you’re wearing a statement earring. Keep your nail color understated, Robertshaw suggests. "A trial run is a good idea."

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