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Lori Allen opened Bridals by Lori in 1980, and after three decades of helping brides find their wedding dresses, she’s got the process perfected. Her 10 Commandments should guide your own wedding dress search. We guarantee they’ll lead you to your dream gown. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the tips below and videos of brides she’s saved from the brink of dress disaster!
10: Thou Shalt Keep the Bride’s Eyes on the Prize
Shopping for a wedding dress is emotional (and can be exhausting). Some brides get defeated because they think they’re just not the girly, bridal type. Truth is, everyone has bridal style! You just have to find yours and let it shine through. (Taking this bridal style quiz is a good place to start! ) On your wedding day, be the best version of yourself — if you’re a tomboy that might mean wearing your usual running shoes under a crinoline skirt.
9: Thou Shalt Not Let the Bride Overshop
It’s easy to talk yourself out of the right dress if you keep on shopping for new and different styles. Don’t chalk it up to being indecisive. Trust your gut when you find a dress you love. After all, you stopped looking for guys when you met your fiance, right?
8: Thou Shalt Keep an Open Mind
There’s a reason bridal salons are staffed with consultants. These experts are trained to dress various body types and to make recommendations based on the type of wedding you’re having and in what season or location you’re getting married. Listen to them! Even if you’re determined to wear a mermaid dress, trust the consultant when she pulls a lace A-line for you. Maybe he or she knows something you don’t.
7: Thou Shalt Leave the Past Behind
Maybe you’re a little older than you thought you’d be when you got married. Maybe you’re pining for a dress that’s no longer being produced by the designer. Maybe you lost or gained weight, and your body isn’t what it used to be. Inhale deeply and let it — whatever “it” is — go. Shop for the woman you are at this very moment, not the woman you were five years ago.
6: Honor Thy Mother and Father…Up to a Point
Whether you’re a daddy’s girl or mom’s best friend, it’s important to take their opinions into consideration when choosing your dress. You might have a different perspective entirely if you’re not close to either parent. Point is, if your parents are paying for the dress, they get a say in what it looks like. Plus, some good, old-fashioned respect for mama never hurt any relationship. Your wedding is emotional for her, too, so be sensitive to her feelings.
5: Honor Thy Bride’s Opinion Over All Others
The second you started wearing that ring, you developed bridal intuition. That’s a sixth sense that lasts through your wedding planning and instinctively guides you in making some pretty tough decisions. (Peonies or roses? Cut your parents’ friends from the guest list or nix the Rolls Royce for the grand send-off?) Listen to that voice inside your head when shopping for a dress. If you want the princess dress your friends hate — and you know you look good in it — the choice is clear.
4: Pick Thy Wedding Posse Carefully
Ten years from now, you may not remember who accompanied you on your dress shopping mission, but you’ll remember how you felt when you left the salon. Were you elated, having found your dress and ready to celebrate over lunch? Or were you disappointed, leaving empty-handed after hearing too many opinions or (heaven forbid) criticisms? Shopping with those who love you and support you unconditionally will lead to shopping success. That’s not permission to bring your entire sorority pledge class. Limit your entourage to just 3-5 people with sound judgment.
3: Thou Shalt Not Bring Thy Fiance’s Ex
This point needs no explanation.
2: Thou Shalt Not Covet a Dress Outside Thy Budget
There is no possible scenario in which buying a dress you can’t afford has a happy ending. Don’t even try on a dress that’s over budget. Say you fall in love with a $10,000 dress and your budget is $2,000. What now? A) You put it on your credit card and go into dress debt before you walk down the aisle. Fail. B) You guilt whoever’s writing the check into spending more on you, and you strain the relationship. Big fail. C) You get your dress and look amazing, but you have to slash costs elsewhere, and you give up the band, premium appetizers and open bar. Biggest fail of all because your wedding will be a lot less fun.
1: Thou Shalt Leave Thy Fiance At Home
Leave a little something to your future husband’s imagination by letting him skip dress shopping. It’s incredibly special to see your fiance at the end of the aisle waiting for you. Blow him away with how gorgeous you look, and keep the dress a secret. If you bring him shopping, you risk boring him, shocking him with the cost of bridal attire or compromising your vision for something he prefers.
Planning a wedding requires a healthy budget. There are numerous expenses including the venue, catering, flowers, music and so on. Not the least of which is the wedding dress. In fact, for most brides, the No. 1 item on her budget is the wedding dress. After all, she has dreamed of this day all of her life, and she wants to walk down the aisle in the dress of those dreams.
However, sometimes it proves difficult to find that dream dress in the price range that meets the bride’s budget. So when she comes across that dress on an online wedding dress site for a very reasonable cost, she can’t help but jump at the deal. Unfortunately, more often than not, when that dream dress arrives, it turns out to be quite the nightmare.
In fact, the purchased dress doesn’t even come close to resembling the designer dress advertised online. Investigations by Good Morning America and Inside Edition show just how prevalent – and damaging to the bridal industry – these fake wedding dresses can be. For instance, in the “Inside Edition” investigation, bride Candace Burch thought she ordered a $4,000 Justin Alexander wedding gown for just $300 from Peridress.com.
However, the dress she received looked nothing like the original dress. Instead of elaborate hand beading on the bodice, the dress featured plastic silver sequins. Plus, the gown material was cheap and thin, and felt like “a white trash bag,” according to Burch. When contacted, these online sellers either ignore the customer’s inquiry or flat-out refuse to return the purchase price to the bride.
To combat these scams, the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association sued a number of online retailers that were allegedly selling counterfeit dress. A judge sided with the industry and ordered more than 1,000 sites to cease all sales and to shut down. FYI, when you go to Peridress.com, it now goes to IDreamMart.com, an online retail site based in China that also sells wedding dresses.
This is why it’s SO important to shop for your wedding dress at a brick-and-mortar store. Seeing the dress firsthand, trying it on for friends and family, and having an actual salesperson to speak with provides not only reassurance that this dress is the dress, but also peace of mind that you will get what you pay for.
Plus, savvy shoppers can still find good deals when it comes to shopping for their wedding dresses at brick-and-mortar retailers. For instance, many wedding boutiques offer special savings for dress purchases during a designer trunk show. Others offer discounted or even free accessories with a gown purchase. Talk with sales consultants to see what incentives they can offer before closing the sale.
Although it may be cliché, when it comes to purchasing wedding dresses online, if the deal looks too good, it probably is not true. Think twice before hitting “send” on that payment button.
In the Season 7 premiere of “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta,” Salina Falkenstein has a dilemma that only Bridals by Lori can resolve. She needs a dress that day for a wedding that needs to take place by 5 p.m., and it’s up to the bridal experts to find her the perfect gown for the last minute courthouse wedding.
It’s Salina’s mom who inspired her to get a day-of dress within her $2,000 budget. The pressure is on to find Salina a dress off the rack that doesn’t need alterations and isn’t too expensive.
“Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” premieres on June 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes on TLC.
Photo/Video credit: TLC