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brides topviewThere just seems an overwhelming number of decisions to make when planning a wedding...

Here are some suggestions to make the process easier.

The first decision is the date, and the venues for the service and the reception. This should then give you a good base for developing the "Vision" or "Picture" of your wedding, so you can imagine how you would like the day to look.

I highly recommend creating a "Wedding Folder". Plan to keep all quotes and receipts in this folder, as well as any inspirational photos you find of dresses, hair, makeup, decorations that you like the look of for your wedding. Pinterest is a wonderful site to help collect and file any number of inspirational photos for your wedding too.

Firstly, set a budget... add up the amount of money you and your fiancé are able/willing to spend on the wedding. Ask both sets of parents what they plan to contribute (and any other friend or relative that has offered money)

Secondly, set a date and preferably choose a venue for your service and reception.

Thirdly, choose a Bridal Gown.... I recommend this because, for you as the bride it is possibly the biggest decision (after deciding on a Groom!), you will be making for your wedding, and therefore will carry the greatest stress while ever that decision has been left unmade.

  1. Bridal Gowns, whether Couture or Off the Rack, generally require 6 to 9 months to order.
  2. So many decisions hinge on the the style of Gown you choose to wear yourself.
    ie. Your hair-style, jewelry, make-up, shoes and underwear.
    It will also impact the decisions you make for Bridesmaids dresses, (their hairstyles, Make-up and Jewelry and flowers), for the Groom's and his men's attire, for the decorations in the Church/Service area, as well as at the Reception Venue. The decision you may make on the invitations as well as the Wedding Cake. It could decide what kind of bridal Car you will need to travel in, and will also affect the dresses your Mother and you future Mother-in-law will choose to wear.

From here, there are lots of planning tools for keeping check of all the little bits and pieces you will need to get done. Many Bridal magazines and newsagents have "Wedding Planners", with a list of everything you will need to do. The website i-do.com.au has a great planner too, they also have a budget calculator (and as a bonus offer a free wedding website for you to use to post updates and pictures or what's happening in your planning process!)

Just keep in mind that local invitations need to be posted 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding date (for an overseas wedding or overseas guests, the invitations will need to be sent earlier)

Remember that for those brides getting married in November or early December, they will be competing with not only other weddings, but also school formals for men's suit hire and car hire....so book early.

dress making

  1. Have a budget, decide how much you and your partner are able to spend on the wedding, how much others will be giving you (your parents, his parents, other relatives and friends etc). Now do some initial research about the cost of various elements of the wedding. Have a rough cost of the reception per head, invitations, flowers, various types of gowns, transport, rings, etc...Now go back to your budget and work out what fits and what needs to be trimmed a bit. Before going out and falling in love with a wonderfully expensive gown, decide which proportion of this budget you would like to spend on a gown, and book shops/designers accordingly (for Couture Gowns, I have noticed that the average spent on a gown is 10% (approx) of the overall budget of the wedding, just as a point of interest!)
  2. Most preferably have a firm date booked, or at the very least a specific time of year for the wedding...different seasons mean you will want to or have to choose differently from what you may have in another season.
  3. Have preferably booked a venue for your service and reception, or at least know if you will be using a church, or outdoor space etc.
  4. Do some research and put together a "Look Book" for your wedding...Gowns, Colours, Flowers, Decorations etc...this all helps wonderfully for the designers to "get inside your mind" and help make your dream a reality.
  5. Make a list of designers or labels that have Gowns you like the look and feel of. It is better to keep the list to about 3 to 6 designers/shops. Any more than 6 can become confusing, not to mention exhausting.
  6. Keep a very open Mind and plan to have a wonderful time, plan stops for lunch and coffee, or drinks afterwards.....what other time will you ever get the chance to play dress-ups with so may stunning (and expensive) dresses.

Couture Gowns are hand made in Australia (or in whichever country the company is based) by a designer and his/her staff and is made specifically to fit your body, with the proportions of the gown adjusted to suit you precisely. It usually requires around 5 fittings and a lead time of 6 to 9 months, (but can be up to 12 months)

It is a very indulgent and luxurious experience, and what better gown than your wedding gown to experience such lavish attention and perfection.....The advantage also, of couture, is that you are working with a designer, so all your tiny personal preferences can be catered for. I should also mention the wealth of knowledge and advice they would have about styling your wedding for spectacular results as well as almost all other aspects of your wedding - which you can make use of for free.

Off-the-Rack Gowns are imported from overseas generally. They are mass produced to standard sizes, meaning they cost quite a great deal less than the Couture Gowns. These gowns are ideal for Brides who are on a budget, and are a standard size.....If you are not a standard size, always choose a dress that fits your biggest bit.....it is not impossible to take in a dress but virtually impossibly to let out a dress any significant amount.

You will still need 4 to 6 months (generally) to have the dress ordered and brought into the country, and you will also need to allow time to have any alterations that need to be done on the gown prior to you wedding date. Just a note on the alterations...make sure you check that the store you are purchasing the gown from do the alterations in house, or have them recommend someone else to you. Get a quote on the cost of the alterations, and details of how long they will take to do. Make sure you book in the alterations as soon as you have decided on the dress, so that you can be sure they will be done without rushing before the wedding.

 

There is this myth that married women seem to circulate that comes true for about 30% of Brides-To-Be, - that you will try on a dress, or see a picture of a dress and KNOW it is the one!!!....just like meeting your future husband for the first time and KNOWING he is the one.

For those fortunate to have that experience it is easy...you get all goose bumpy and may be a bit teary, and go ahead and book the design with no hesitation.....for those other 70% of Brides-To-Be, the process is a bit trickier....

How will I know which dress is the one?

So here are some of the best tips I have to sort out which dress is the best for you:

 

There are basically only 3 things to choose, try to focus on each one separately to make to process simpler for yourself,

  1. Choose a colour - even if you try on a dress you don't like, take note of the colour and see how you feel in the various bridal shades....White, Ivory, Cream, Coffee tones, Pale blush (pink) icy Silvers and Blues ....I have had girls who look amazing in Red just decide to go with a red dress because everything else just looks bland! Now once you have decided on this, it is time to focus on...
  2. The shape of the Gown. There will be one shape that you keep on being attracted to, it may be a full dress from the waist or a bias slinky style (sadly the more model like your body the more choice you will have...I think this group have the Hardest time choosing)....if you have a body part(s) that you think needs to be hidden, then wedding dress shopping is heaven...there is a style for obscuring every bit ....I could write a book on each style of dress, but basically choose you most favorite physical asset ie. waist, legs, bust, long neck, skin, even your hair! and make that the focus of the outfit...(this goes for everyday dressing too!!!) Then choose the bit you want to hide and find a style that glosses over it.
  3. Finally the fun bit!!!...Choosing the outer details, these have a lot more to do with your taste in dresses than with you body shape, although if you are trying to look thinner, lots of ruffles and flounces are not going to do you any favours. If in everyday life you like to keep things simple, keep a simple element in you wedding gown too, if your everyday dress style is over the top bling.....take that into the dress as well.

 

Here are 2 last thoughts

If you find yourself hesitating on making the final decision about a particular dress, try to imagine looking at pictures of yourself wearing the dress at your wedding....but looking at the photo 5 years in the future...do you truly think you will still be happy with your choice? if yes then get that dress.

If you can't choose between 2 dresses, toss a coin......this always seems to work, because suddenly if faced with a coin toss result that instructs you to purchase one of the dresses, but deep down you KNOW the other one is best....you will choose the other one! and it suddenly becomes magically clear!