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The Short Version: Finding your ideal wedding dress can be difficult, and the process sometimes takes more than a year. New York’s Bridal Reflections boutique has been helping clients through that process since 1973. Vice President Cristina DeMarco shared six tips with us to help brides find a dress that will make them shine on their big day.
A bridal gown is perhaps the most significant outfit a woman will ever wear, and because it will be part of her story forever, she often puts a lot of pressure on herself to choose the right dress.
Cristina DeMarco, the Vice President of New York’s Bridal Reflections, understands that selecting a wedding dress can be a stressful process — but she also knows that it doesn’t always have to be.
“Every bride likes to have her own look and individuality, so it’s important to follow your heart,” she told us.
Though trendy magazines and celebrity weddings may sway some brides one way or another, Cristina said it’s more important to focus on what you actually want to look like. That attention to individual taste is precisely what Bridal Reflections has always taken into account. That’s why its consultants will never push brides in a direction that doesn’t feel natural to them.
The Bridal Reflections team has more than 45 years of experience helping women choose the best dress with less stress, and Cristina shared some of her wisdom with us.
Some brides let their vision for their gown overtake other aspects of their wedding planning, but this impulse can cause trouble. A bride should come in with a theme in mind, which may be dictated by the setting.
For example, a bride who has a beach or outdoor wedding probably won’t want to choose a gown with a formal feel or a long train that would be more appropriate for a church wedding.
“It’s important for a bride to have a theme in mind that she wants to portray on that day,” Cristina said. “Women often have a specific romantic setting in mind, candles, a barn, or a beach.”
Once you establish a theme, then, you can narrow down your choices to a gown that would fit into that particular setting.
At the same time, Cristina suggests that brides be somewhat experimental in choosing a dress. You’re not going to wear this dress every day, so you might as well pick something more romantic or over-the-top than you usually wear.
You also don’t have to limit yourself by what you think you “should” wear based on your size, height, or other factors.
“If you have someone who is tall and thin, they tend to go with a fitted dress that shows their silhouette,” said Cristina. “However, if you have a curvier woman, she might feel like she should cover up. But if she wears something fit and flare, she can show off her figure for a thinner feel.”
Bridal magazines and TV shows owe their existence to trends in gowns, which always seem to fluctuate. While you can follow recommendations from those sources when choosing a dress, it’s essential to stay true to traditional or modern style preferences.
“When some brides think of a dress, they think of a beautiful ball gown with a cathedral veil — which is traditional,” Cristina said.
But not every bride has to wear a dress similar to the one her grandmother chose. Today, brides have more options than ever.
Trends include long sleeve gowns or gowns that hang off-the-shoulder, and more brides choose clean dresses with flowing lines and no traces of beading or lace. These simple, modern dresses are typically made out of clean silk or quality crepe.
“It gives the fabrication a substance since there’s nothing on the dress,” Cristina said.
Another sensible reason to have the details for your wedding planned before you go dress shopping is to help you land on a budget for the gown. Depending on your price range, you might be looking for dresses by a few different designers.
Dresses are arranged by price at the three Bridal Reflections locations.
“We carry different designers, styles, and price points,” Cristina said. “In Massapequa, our dresses start at $1,500, at Carle Place, we start at $1,800, and on Fifth Avenue, we start at $4,000.”
The budget price a bride has for a gown will also determine which dress designers fit her price limit. For example, Bridal Reflections’ Fifth Avenue location is famed designer Galia Lahav’s flagship store.
According to Cristina, many brides underestimate how long it takes to order a custom gown. She recommends giving yourself one year to 15 months from when you start shopping for a dress until your wedding day.
You want to give yourself enough time to try on dresses without stressing out about not finding the perfect one. Cristina also said brides should give themselves about a month to search for and find a gown.
“It takes between five and seven months to order a wedding gown from a designer,” she said. “You can order a dress on rush, though I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute.”
If you’ve already missed the year mark and you’re on a rush deadline, you’re not out of luck. Cristina said that brides can still head into the salon for help.
“If you have a deadline, still come in, and we’ll help you make it as stress-free as possible,” she said.
Though most brides have a vision for what they want to look like, they can quickly become overwhelmed with options. After trying on gown after gown, they may start to lose perspective on which ones look best on them.
For those reasons, among many others, Cristina recommends setting up an appointment with a reputable bridal salon.
“When clients come into our salon, we look at the bride and her body shape, and our experts will open them up to trying on different things,” Cristina said.
If a bride is worried about the way a gown will look after alterations, a bridal styling team can give her perspective on the kind of dress she should be seeking.
“A bride should really consider going to an experienced, reputable, and knowledgeable stylist who can help them,” she said.
Brides don’t always find the perfect dress right off the rack. The gown they land on might need specific alterations or customizations to make it into the ideal choice.
“Someone might want to add a sleeve or an overskirt,” Cristina said.
Further, most dresses need some alterations, so brides should choose a salon that can make them quickly, which gives them enough time to have the gown fitted.
“With us, women have confidence that the dress will come in the way they want it,” Cristina said.
Choosing a wedding dress is all about a bride following her own style and personality, and Bridal Reflections has been helping clients bring their expectations into reality for more than 45 years.
Though brides may want to take their time in finding the perfect gown, they can simplify the process by following their inclinations as well as Cristina’s advice.
They can also choose a bridal salon, like Bridal Reflections, that will help them make their vision a reality.
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