Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wedding Dress Hunting: the Noble Nuptial Sport

Gather round, my wife-to-be warriors. Prepare yourself for the hunt that will launch you fabulously into wifedom. Since the time of our ancestors, brides-to-be have searched the land for the dress, the one gown that was made to highlight our finest features and make us feel like royalty as we partake in the ancient ritual of marriage.

We climb through jungles of tulle and satin. We might show our claws if a rival bride takes too long in the dressing room. Our matrimonial mascara war paint marks our pursuit of the feminine and flawless, the ivory and immaculate, the poufy and perfect.

I've yet to bring down a wedding dress of my own (I've been tracking both puffy and romantic and form-fitting vintage without a decisive aim), but in my experience thus far in the noble sport of dress hunting, I've learned a few hints:

Be prepared. A smart dress hunter never leaves her weapons at home. She brings heels, a camera, a slip or strapless bra, and printouts of dresses she likes. She knows her budget and sticks to it. She shaves her armpits (sounds obvious...but...yeah). She makes an appointment beforehand (try to avoid Saturdays, especially this time of year. I've found that weekdays are the least busy and when you can get the most help).

Bring your backup. Don't hunt alone! Bring your trusted posse to help you decide which dress to pursue. Keep it down to your select warriors (1-4 agreeable people who know you well... any more and you'll scare the dresses!). They'll help you stay focused – without weighing you down.

Be open to the possibilities. At the very end of one of my appointments, I tried on a ballgown-style dress just for kicks – and found out I really liked how it looked on me. You might think you know exactly what you want, but try on some dresses just for fun, and be open to at least trying on different styles and materials. Also, try not to get into the mindset of finding THE absolute perfect ONE dress. Keep an open mind and narrow it down to a few you like. Sit on it for a few days, and you'll know which one is for you when you go back and try them on again.

Enjoy it. How often do you get to go wedding dress hunting? Don't get so caught up in the chase that you can't enjoy the hunt.

A few more resources to set you on your way: Budget dress hunting, 2013 wedding dress trends, and what to know before you go.

You're ready – happy hunting!

– Jessica Smith, assistant editor/designer

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