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Close your eyes.  Picture your wedding…what is the first image that comes to mind?  For most of us, a beautiful, model pretty bride in the most gorgeous gown.  We see beauty, elegance, and money!  Pick up a wedding magazine…what do you see?  Beauty, elegance, and money…


 That may be you, but maybe not.  Now this is not meant to depress you, but reality is we are not all models and really do have to keep to some semblance of a wedding budget.  So can we have that beautiful dress and the look that takes his breath away?  Absolutely!


I know very little about wedding gowns, but after listening to Ann from Strut Bridal Salon StrutBridalSalon speak at a luncheon she hosted and also knowing how highly she is regarded by other wedding vendors, I knew she was the one to ask.  


So what can you do to make the hunt for the dress a pleasurable time?  First thing, don’t take me with you…I hate shopping!  I really do, but seriously you want to find a salon where you, the customer are what is important.  Just like anything else, there are good and well, not so good places to shop.  Strut in my opinion is a very good one to go to.  Ann will guide you by asking questions to get to know who you are and what you like.  She will want to know


Where are you getting married?

Why did you choose that venue?

What are your colors?

What is the groom wearing?


All of these are important factors in helping her to understand you and what you like.  Pick up a few of the wedding magazines and cut out the pictures you like.  Have you ever tried to help someone find something when they could not tell you or show you what it is or even get you close?  Not easy…pictures really help.


If you are working with Ann, she will pull certain dresses based on your size, body shape and the look you want.  A huge, huge, let me stress this again huge thing to ignore is the dress size.  Wedding gowns are smaller than the normal size you wear.   If you are a size 8 you may wear a 12.  This has nothing to do with you and skipping the gym for that dinner out with your friends.  Wedding dresses run small!


The dress you choose should flatter your shape whether an a-lined dress, or a natural waist to create a tiny waist or a dropped waist to give you an hour glass look.   If you like glitzy, let her know.  If simple, tell her.   If it was me, it would be simple yet elegant…perhaps strapless.  It is all about your style. What makes you feel pretty?  


Cost has to be a consideration.  What can you expect to pay for your dress?  As with anything we buy, prices vary so call a store or check their website for a price range before visiting them. At Strut, most wedding dresses you can find will cost in the range of $800 to $1500.  Ann also has a sale rack so be sure to check it for your perfect dress while there.


I know several brides who have ordered online and while tempting, not advisable.  Yes you save money, but you are taking a chance.  These are knock offs of the designer gowns and as with anything you buy off the internet if there is a problem you have to ship it back rather than walking into a store.  If you have time and you are willing to take that chance, you may find the perfect dress for less money. 


So how early do you want to shop for your dress?  My thoughts are as early as you can.  Ordering can take from 4 to 6 months and you want to take into account busy seasons.  If you are getting married next March, know that you are not alone.  Many manufacturers don’t have the larger sizes and deal with the ‘straight sizes’ which are up to size 12 so yours may be a special order.  You want to factor Chinese New Year into your timeline since most manufacturers are in China and they shut down for a month during this celebration!  Yes a month right at the beginning of the year!


Alterations – again busy season, you want your first fitting beginning of the year if you are a spring bride.  If fall is your wedding time then a few months before is good.   Here in Arizona, October, November and March are very busy wedding months so you can count on competing for the time of the seamstress with other brides.


You can expect to put about ½ down to order your dress with the balance due when you receive it.  In our economy it is advisable to pay by credit card.  Businesses do close and you want to have recourse to recover your deposit.  You still need a dress to get married in and most budgets cannot handle losing money due to a product not being delivered.  


Be a wise consumer, check vendor reviews, shop around and make sure your style, budget, and what you want is all being considered.    Take your time, use your consultation to try on dresses and listen to the person helping you….you will know when you find YOUR DRESS.  Then like those ladies from the magazines, with your hair and makeup professionally done and your perfect dress you will be model pretty!


I love this business because not only do I meet wonderful wedding professionals, but I get to learn more about the business and how to help my couples. A special thank you to Ann, from Strut Bridal for taking the time to ‘teach me’ a bit more about buying a dress.   Although Strut caters to dress sizes 12 and up, she will do her best to help you if you are a smaller size.  This fall they will begin carrying bridesmaid and social occasion dresses. They are located at 542 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix AZ 85003 and can be reached at (602) 252-4414.  Strut Bridal Salon  If you have not stopped by Strut before, call Ann, make an appointment you will be in great hands!

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