Finding the perfect wedding dress is arguably the most fun part of the wedding planning process. This is the moment when you will truly start to feel like a bride. But it can also be one of the most stressful. Stylists strive to make it a fun and painless experience focused on helping the bride find a dress she feels the most beautiful in and feeling like a bride. Here is the ultimate guide to wedding dress shopping and finding the perfect wedding dress for you!

START EARLY

Having a dress custom made can take six months or more, so you want to start your bridal dress hunt early. Plus your dress really sets the tone for the day and can help determine your dress code and wedding theme. Many brides don’t know what silhouette they want or may change their mind after trying on another one. If you end up getting a ballgown wedding dress, you probably wouldn’t want a beach themed wedding for example. Do your research, and don’t try to find the perfect dress. Try and find the perfect dress for you.

KNOW YOUR BUDGET

When breaking down your wedding budget, you will allocate a certain percentage of your overall wedding budget to your dress. Try to stick to this number or you may have to lower your allocation to other of your wedding costs. Wedding guidelines say 8-10% of your overall budget is a good number to go with, but of course you can adjust your wedding budget to whats most important to you. It is YOUR wedding after all! Also make sure you factor in alterations and accessories such as your veil, shoes, jewelry and clutch. These items can add up fast.

THE APPOINTMENT

For your first appointment, go to a salon with a lot of different silhouettes, price points and styles. You may be surprised by what you love and more importantly – what makes you feel like a bride. If you can narrow this down, it’s definitely a success and who knows, you may even find the one! But at least for your next appointment you’ll be able to hone in on what you know you want. Don’t stress and go with your gut – it’s usually spot on. Bring only the guests whose opinions really matter to you. Too many opinions can cloud the decision that’s right for you. And remember, you have the final say! (Pro-tip: wear nude undergarments!).

SIZING & ALTERATIONS

A guide to wedding dress shopping wouldn’t be complete without talking about sizing and alterations! Each designer has very different sizing so it’s important to get measured and size the bride to the designers sizing chart. Then the dress will get fine-tuned to fit perfectly during alterations. The seamstress will pin your dress to give you an idea of how it will look when the alterations are complete. They’ll add cups, fix the hem and/or add a bustle. ALWAYS try on your dress after the last fitting and bring your veil, jewelry and other bridal accessories to ensure you love the completed bridal look.

This adorable couple wanted their faith to be at the forefront of their ceremony and entire wedding day. They used rings at throughout their design to symbolize union. Floral rings served as the backdrop at the altar and lace dream catchers, flower crowns and yummy donuts played into the circular trend. The custom Minted wedding invitations told the duo’s story and incorporated their favorite bible verses.

Savannah Soutas and Cole LaBrant happen to be one of the cutest internet sensation couples and are now officially married! I’m obsessed with the bridesmaids dresses, bride’s makeup and can we talk about the flower girls dress and gladiator shoes? Swoon! And if you love celebrity weddings (and who doesn’t?), check out these ones! What do you love about this wedding?

PHOTOGRAPHER Valorie Darling Photography | WEDDING DRESS Grace Loves Lace | MAKEUP Mac Cosmetics | FLORIST Tre Fiori Floral | WEDDING INVITATIONS Minted | BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES Show Me Your Mumu | FLOWER GIRL DRESS Etsy | FLOWER GIRL SHOES Kenneth Cole

Making sure your guests have proper accommodations can be stressful, especially because you want them staying close to your venue and have affordable rates. Luckily there are strategies to follow to get concessions, block pricing or even a free bridal suite! Here’s my guide to negotiating a hotel room block!

ASK FOR A COURTESY BLOCK

A courtesy block is like a free room block insurance plan – you won’t be on the hook financially for any rooms in your block that don’t get used. Be sure to confirm with your hotels if they can offer a courtesy block and carefully review your contract. While not every hotel will be able to offer courtesy blocks, some hotels are flexible and may be willing to revise their terms.

START WITH 10 ROOMS

With most of your RSVP’s still en route to you, how do you know how many rooms you’ll need? I always recommend starting with the minimum for group rates (10 rooms), so you can best avoid the risk of over committing. You can always increase your block later if it starts to fill up!

REQUEST SHOULDER DATES

I recommend booking rooms on the night of your wedding, and also the night before for close family members and the wedding party who will be attending pre-wedding activities. Aside from these two nights, ask the hotel to include shoulder dates. This means that guests who arrive earlier or depart later can book their entire stay at the group rate (subject to hotel availability), and you won’t be on the hook for these extra nights.

21 DAY CUT OFF

The cutoff date is the official deadline for guests to reserve a room at the group rate. After this date, any remaining rooms will be released by the hotel for general sale and group rates will no longer be eligible.

CONCESSIONS

Getting a discounted group rate is important, but an often overlooked opportunity for savings is asking for concessions, like free wifi or even free room nights. Are you and your fiance planning on staying at the hotel? If so, then let the hotel know and ask for a complimentary room the night of, or a complimentary upgrade at the group rate. And whatever you do, definitely ask for a complimentary amenity for the night of your wedding – maybe you’ll have a bottle of champagne waiting for you at the end of your wedding night! Here’s some other concessions to ask for in order to hook up your guests:

● Complimentary guest room wireless

● Complimentary parking

● Complimentary breakfast

● Bonus reward points for the bride/groom (e. G. SPG points, Hilton Honors points, etc.)

● Complimentary gift bag distribution upon arrival

HOST AN EVENT ONSITE

If you’re planning on hosting any pre-wedding or post-wedding activities (ex. rehearsal dinner, after wedding brunch, etc.), then consider hosting it at the hotel in one of their event spaces or onsite restaurants. You’ll have priority over other groups who are only booking accommodations, and you’ll have more leverage to negotiate a better package all around.

MORE WEDDING  INSPIRATION
10 Tips for Reserving a Hotel Room Block | What to Put in your Wedding Welcome Bag

The bride didn’t want to fall into a traditional wedding routine, she wanted to do things in a way that felt more like a big celebration! And boy did she ever win at succeeding! The signage and decor was so on point with the best EVER backdrop that read “You’re My Partner.” I especially loved the blue place cards and her truly unique wedding dress. The couple had their best friends marry them which was bar far their favorite part of the ceremony. They had an all-star team of vendors which helped bring their modern-boho theme to life. In Booking your Wedding Dream Team, I break down how to assemble a dream wedding team of talented vendors. What do you love about this wedding?

PHOTOGRAPHER Carmen Santorelli | WEDDING PLANNER Details Darling | DRESS Rime Arodaky | BRIDAL VEIL Toni Federici | GETTING READY SUITE Hotel Covell | SIGNAGE Delovely DetailsEtsy | VENUE The Fig House | COCKTAIL Napkins Sip Hip Horray | WEDDING INVITATIONS Minted | BLUE PLACE CARDS Details Darling

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