Arizona Bridal Source
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P.O. Box 50622, Phoenix, Arizona 85076   (480) 921-7891


January 30, 2013

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Congratulations, you found the ultimate groom, you got engaged, you have your wedding ring, and now the next big task at hand is finding your wedding dress.  Some brides have envisioned walking down the aisle in their wedding gown since they can remember, just waiting for the right man to walk into their lives, while others never thought about getting married.  Finding a wedding dress is a fabulous experience, yet may be stressful and overwhelming.

After 25 years in the wedding business as a wedding planner, finally decided to sit down and write this blog to get you to say YES to the DRESS in an informed and easy way, without settling!

Wedding planners (by the way, I am not “just a wedding planner”, yet a master bridal consultant – currently 1 of 61 in the world), normally don’t have input on the final wedding gown selection.  Yet now, after dealing with bride’s 911s on “my gown doesn’t fit, they are going to have to sew in a side seam,” or “I don’t trust them for alterations after they botched up my wedding gown order,” and so much more, it IS about the entire experience at the bridal shop, which is purchase, alterations, service after the sale, and happily ever after!

I am known as being one of the best in the industry for getting you in your wedding gown and making you look and feel fabulous on your wedding day!  It may be all the years of TV experience working with different body types and no matter what, the show must go on!

WHAT SHOULD YOU REMEMBER WHEN SHOPPING FOR A WEDDING GOWN?   Three important words will help you when shopping for your wedding gown:  fit, flatter, and budget.

WHEN SHOULD YOU START SHOPPING?  Many brides start shopping as soon as they get engaged.  Would highly recommend you start shopping at least 9 months before your wedding date.  Consider most bridal shops take an average of 4 – 6 months (some may take longer) to get your gown in, then you add 2 months for alterations.  Don’t wait to start shopping 6 months prior to your wedding date to be told “if you would have started shopping 9 months ahead of time, we would have been able to get that gown for you, now it is too late to order the gown, or we could still order the gown if you are willing to pay rush charges.”

WHAT IS ONE WEDDING GOWN ITEM YOU DEFINITELY WANT?  Having a small pocket in your wedding gown is priceless to hold your lipstick for touch-ups!  This may be included in your gown, or a small additional alteration item, yet will make your wedding day touch-ups a breeze!

WHO SHOULD YOU TAKE WITH YOU TO SHOP?  Shop with your mom, and maid or matron of honor, they know you better than anyone!  If you take too many people it gets overwhelming, and there may be too many opinions.

SHOULD YOU MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, OR JUST STOP IN?  For the best customer service, make an appointment, and ask to be scheduled with the manager or another employee who knows their inventory, and will be able to make recommendations to you based on your body type and style of your wedding.

THE GOWN ON THE HANGER MAY LOOK BETTER ON YOU.  When you make an appointment to try on gowns, ask for an appointment with the manager or another employee who knows their inventory.  This person will have seen a zillion brides with your same body type in the gowns in their store.  Knowledge is power.  Allow this person to make suggestions to you on what may look best on your body type to accentuate your positives, and to take away from any negatives.  If you are lucky, you are one of those brides with a fabulous body where every gown you try on looks amazing on you!

WHAT WEDDING DRESS WILL FIT THE SEASON AND STYLE OF MY WEDDING?  If you are getting married in the hot Arizona summer, you will want a lightweight dress with airy fabrics and minimal layers to keep you from feeling hot and sticky.  If you are getting married in the cooler months (most popular wedding months in Arizona are March, April, October, and November), you may want a heavier fabric like satin or taffeta with stylish wraps or jackets when the sun goes down.  If you are having a church wedding vs. an outdoor garden wedding, these are two different styles.  If you are having a destination wedding, you need to think about logistics on taking your wedding gown with you on your flight.

HOW MANY GOWNS IS “ENOUGH” TO TRY ON?  When I got married, I tried on two wedding gowns, and purchased the second one I tried on.  Yes, being in the business, I knew what I wanted, and knew where to buy, so it was easy!  Some brides make a “day” of it, making appointments (normally 1.5 hours for one appointment) at multiple bridal shops.  When you do the math, if you schedule 4 appointments, you are trying on gowns for 6 hours and are in transit for 2 hours.  How much do you want to drive, and how many gowns do you want to try on?  Do your research, each bridal shop has a different ambiance, style, and price range.  Many bridal shops overlap in the “middle” zone, yet some are less expensive (normally meaning less customer service), and some are more expensive (carrying one of a kind gowns).  Some may be GREAT at selling you a gown, yet how are their alterations and service AFTER the sale?  This is important!

WHAT SHOULD YOU INCLUDE IN YOUR WEDDING GOWN BUDGET?  A look, feel, and quality of a dress priced at $800 will be extremely different from the look, feel, and quality of a gown priced at $3,000.  It will make a difference if you are planning to wear one gown for the ceremony and change gowns for your dancing.  If you are purchasing one gown vs. two gowns, it makes a difference.  If you are not finding gowns at a price you love, it may be time to add some to your  gown budget (reduce your budget in another category) to get what you want, since you do get what you pay for.  Include these items in your budget: the wedding gown, wedding shoes, veil, headpiece/comb/tiara/headband, alterations, and undergarments (bra, hosiery).

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO SHOP FOR WEDDING GOWNS?  Wear something which is comfortable and easy to get in and out of for quick changes.  Wear your hair in a way you are thinking of wearing it on the day of your wedding.  The neckline of your gown will make all the difference in the world!

WHAT WEDDING DRESS FITS MY BODY TYPE THE BEST?  There are 5 popular styles of wedding gowns.  All are gorgeous, yet choosing the right one to accentuate your best assets and diminish areas you are more conscious of, no matter what your shape or size, may seem overwhelming.

1).  A-LINE/PRINCESS.  The A-line wedding gown features a shape which is fitted around the bodice (part of the gown above the waist) and flows out to the ground, resembling the outline of an uppercase A.  This A-line dress flows from the bust to the hem with an unbroken line.  Due to its classic and simple elegant style, the A-line dress is appropriate for any occasion, from a quiet backyard wedding to a traditional church wedding.  Its length may range from above the knee to full length that flows into a large train.  A princess cut is the most dramatic variation of the A-line gown.  This version of the A-line dress emphasizes the style’s clean lines by utilizing vertical panels that run from the hemline to the hem.  The princess style provides elongating lines that create a slimming effect since your eye focuses on the length created by these long, smooth seams.

The A-line wedding dress is flattering on almost all body types.  The long lines of the princess cut create the illusion of height on a shorter body, as well as slim down a rounded figure.  The full skirt of the A-line may also hide a larger lower body, or create the illusion of curves on a narrow frame.  With the A-line being versatile, simple modifications to the neckline, waistline, or fabric can accentuate your best features and hide those you’re not so fond of.

2).  EMPIRE.  The empire wedding gown is defined by a raised waistline which sits just below the bust line, and the rest of the dress flows down to the hem.  The empire style is very versatile and can accommodate a wide variety of formality. 

The empire wedding dress is flattering on almost all body types.  It is two fold on small busted brides and large busted brides.  On small busted brides the empire wedding gown draws attention to your neckline and creates definition.  Yet oddly enough, this also may work to conceal a large bust by controlling and minimizing the size of the breasts due to the neckline of the empire dress.  The design of the empire dress is also ideal for covering other unwanted body features such as a long torso, short legs, or a pear shaped figure.  Since the dress flows from the bust line, it easily leaves these areas undefined.  The structure of the empire dress is also ideal for pregnant brides since the fluidity of the dress may accommodate a growing belly.

3).  COLUMN/SHEATH.  The column/sheath wedding gown has a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem.  The column/sheath gown tends to hug the body and show any and all of your curves.  This column/sheath gown is appropriate for all types of weddings, especially casual weddings on the beach, or intimate evening weddings. 

The column/sheath gown is flattering on lean figures, both short and tall.  The elongating nature of this design help petite brides appear taller.  The column/sheath dress does not allow much room for hiding problem areas, such as a large lower body.  It may conceal minor flaws if you opt for a constructed column that will stay in place, but the slip style may be unforgiving.

4).  BALL GOWN.  The ball gown is a perfect wedding gown for the bride envisioning a fairytale wedding.  This silhouette has a fitted bodice (part of the gown above the waist) with a full skirt.  The ball gown is most appropriate for traditional weddings where the dress will be consistent with the formality of the event. 

The ball gown is flattering for almost all body types.  The ball gown is ideal for slender or pear-shaped figures as the full skirt helps to accentuate the waist and hide the lower body.  If you have a large bust, this style will help to create an hourglass look since it emphasizes the waistline due to the fitted bodice (part of the gown above the waist) and natural or dropped waist.

5).  MERMAID.  The mermaid silhouette contours the body from the chest to the knee, then flares out to the hem.  This is a sexy look that highlights curves of your body.  For this reason, you must be confident and comfortable to pull off this dramatic style. 

The mermaid gown is not a style for everyone.  This daring design is best worn by slender figures, both short and tall.  The mermaid dress is made to hug the body and show every curve, it is not recommended for those brides with full figures, however if you are on the voluptuous side and want to accentuate your curves, this is the perfect dress for you.  When considering a mermaid, you will want to hide embarrassing underwear lines, so be careful of  your undergarment selections.

Copyright 2013, Kim Horn, MBC™

To hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.

Kim M. Horn, MBC™

Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 61 in the World

Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix and Destination Weddings

Publisher | Pres. |

AZ State Coordinator Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 – May 2012

2010 Annual Conference Chair (worked with David Tutera) – Assoc. of Bridal Consultants

O 480.921.7891

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