For most brides, the wedding dress is one of the most important components of the wedding. After selecting the date and securing the venue, dress shopping is usually the next item on the to-do list. As a bride, you may fall into two categories – having a dress passed down by family or an ideal dress you envisioned. Whatever the reason, selecting the right dress involves several steps to help you look your best for your “big day”. To help me, I enlisted the help of Carmel Pijoos of Carmel Bridal (she also happens to be the mom of our lovely Eye Candy writer – Candyce Paraggua!). Carmel has been a Bridal Consultant/Stylist for eight years. She is a leading expert in the bridal industry, where she has gained the trust and respect of her brides and fellow workers. She attends bridal markets locally and has traveled abroad to keep up with the latest bridal trends. She has a knack with that special touch, putting the complete look together every bride dreams of. I asked her what brides should expect when selecting their dress.
1) Generally what is the timeline for a bride to order her bridal dress?
It takes at least 4 – 6 months to order your bridal dress from the company. Of course the bride is welcome to order as early as she likes. Most companies do rush orders as well, depending on the number of weeks you are rushing the dress – that would determine how much it would cost the bride. Bridesmaid dresses take 3 – 4 months to order. For bridesmaid dresses, we do not order until everyone in the bridal party have been measured and orders are complete. This insures that the dresses can be cut from the same dye lot at the company.
2) How do dress sizes run for wedding dresses, compared to normal dress sizes?
They normally run 2 – 3 sizes smaller than your normal dress size, with the exception of a few companies. Of course this does not make sense to the bride who would like to see her “normal” size in her bridal gown, instead of an exaggerated number!
3) On average, how many alterations are needed? What should the bride bring to her first fitting?
While every bride is different, an average of three fittings is normally sufficient. Most brides are always losing weight, or trying to, so they always request an extra one, which I accommodate. The alterations department can get rather hectic during the peak wedding season, as brides are starting to get stressed out with that big day getting closer – they want to look for perfection on that special day!
It is important that the bride take the correct undergarments – shoes and bra to every fitting. This will provide consistency in fit. I am adding “bra” because I do believe that a good strapless bra ensures an excellent fit and a perfect finish, unlike those “cups.” There may be some that do not agree with me on this statement! But, I manage the alterations department as well as work hand in hand with my seamstress (who has been in the bridal business almost 30 years). Ladies – IT IS TRUE!
4) A bride usually has an idea of the dress she wants but do you recoomend different dress silhouettes for certain body types?
Most brides come in with pictures of dresses they have in mind. Sometimes, the dress will suit their body types, sometimes not. That is where my expert advice kicks in. There are definitely different silhouettes for different body types.
Hourglass Bride: I would suggest an A-line ball gown with a drop waist to show off her curves and pair that with a sweetheart neckline. Or to show off even more curves, put her in a soft trumpet.
Short Waist Bride: Princess line silhouette bridal gown opening up to a fuller skirt with a fitted bodice. Or even a longer drop waist gown to lengthen the torso. Maybe a halter to draw the eye upwards.
Full Figured Bride: A ball gown wedding dress will hide quite a bit. And a full A-line, with rushing, is every bride’s favorite, and looks great.
Petite Bride: Be careful not to be overwhelmed by fabric. Do not let the dress wear you. You wear the dress. Most silhouettes work for this bride. If she wants a ball gown, I would recommend a classic simple style, again, not to overwhelm her.
As Carmel mentioned in her answer to Question #3, most brides are trying to lose weight for the wedding. If you are not at a desired weight, it is certainly recommended that the best time to hire a personal trainer or start an exercise program (especially if you are not exercising) is early on. I would recommend starting around the same time you start looking for your dress. Sooner is always better than later, to avoid crazy diets (remember my TIP TUESDAY: Do the Work?) and help with stress (which will cause your weight to fluctuate).
The other big concern with brides is have nicely sculpted arms. This also does not happen overnight. It is a combination of proper exercise and proper diet. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are the best combination of cardio and strength, providing short and intense workouts that improve fat burning and glucose metabolism. In order to fully benefit from these workouts, you have to properly fuel your body and eating right so that you do not throw your hard work out the window!
With proper planning, you can look your best and with less stress, as that day should be stress-free!