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Options Are Available In Bridal Gown Search
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Shopping for a wedding dress can overwhelm a new bride and make her think finding the groom was easy.
Dr. Betty Fulwood, clothing specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said many options are available as brides search for the wedding dress of their dreams.
"One of the best things a prospective bride can do is start trying on gowns six months or a year before the wedding to get an idea of what styles and lines flatter her the most, and what she likes best," Fulwood said. "Brides should also determine the formality of the wedding early, so the formality of the dress and the service complement each other."
This year, simplicity and elegance are the preferred style in wedding dresses. White and cream remain the traditional colors.
"Brides are getting away somewhat from the voluminous Victorian look that we've seen recently to a more simple, elegant look with a modern self-expressive flair," Fulwood said. "Elegant fabrics such as satins, simple Princess lines, and the Romantic look from the 1950s with full, sweeping skirts and tiny tops are also popular."
Other styling details include the scoop or sweetheart neckline, sleeveless or off-the-shoulder tops that give a "ball gown" look, Fulwood said.
When choosing a dress, consider lines and designs, as well as fabric, that flatters the figure. Some fabrics lay in such a way that they appear to add pounds to a figure.
Wedding dresses can cost $5,000 or more, but brides with a limited budget can still have the dress they want.
"Sewing your own dress or having one made can save 40 to 80 percent of the cost of a ready-made gown," Fulwood said.
Another benefit of making the wedding dress is the options available.
"The bride can combine patterns and come out with a one-of-a-kind, custom-designed and fitted dress and save quite a lot in the process," Fulwood said.
Brides who sew their own or have a family member or friend do it at no cost save the most money, but even brides who hire a seamstress can have a tremendous savings. Cut corners by using less expensive fabric and fewer or less expensive notions.
"If the bride is buying a ready-made wedding dress, she should still comparison shop, because there can be quite a bit of price difference in department stores and bridal or specialty shops," Fulwood said. "Some discount stores even carry bridal attire."
An easy way to cut the cost of the wedding dress is to make the headpiece. Fulwood said this piece should be relatively simple to make, and can save quite a bit of money. Renting the dress or borrowing from a friend is another option.
Once the bride's wardrobe has been set, it's time to turn to the other women in the wedding party. Brides can do many things to increase the wearability of bridesmaids dresses for other occasions.
"A bride should involve her attendants early in the planning, as they may have input that can help the bride with her decisions," Fulwood said. "Since bridesmaids usually pay for their dresses, the bride should know what is reasonable for them to spend."
Fulwood suggested choosing a style that can be shortened for other occasions, is not too low cut or revealing and that has removable bows or embellishments. Brides might also opt for a decorative overgarment with a simple under layer that can be worn again with other accessories.
If the bride's attendants vary in body size and shape, a bride may choose the fabric, color and length of the dress and let each bridesmaid choose a style that complements her figure.