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You're engaged! And now it's time to do all the fun things like wedding-dress shopping.
For some girls, shopping for their bridal attire is one of the most exciting things on their "to-do" list, while others dread it. But regardless of your level of excitement, there are five ways to make the wedding-gown shopping process a lot less painful:
1. Do not invite all of your friends and family to go with you.
That's going to give you entirely too many opinions. Shows like Say Yes to the Dress make you feel like you need all your bridesmaids, cousins, aunts and their friends to be there giving their opinions. You don't. That's for television. For real wedding-gown shopping, take two (three at the most if you're counting mom as one) friends with you and get their feedback.
2. Only shop with friends and family who boost your ego and make you feel good about yourself.
If you have a friend that constantly criticizes your attire or your mom constantly picks on your weight, do not invite them for your initial shopping trips. Brides are critical enough of themselves without bringing along a guaranteed buzzkill.
3. Get referrals to good bridal shops with solid reputations.
You don't have to start with the most expensive by any means — it's better to approach it in reverse. But do your homework before you start making appointments. Always make an appointment for wedding-dress shopping. Most gowns are not displayed in a way you can just look at them — you need an appointment with a consultant who is going to hold your hand through the process and select gowns for you based on what you describe and how you are shaped.
4. Go shopping for your wedding on a weekday.
You might have to take off work, but bridal salons are packed on the weekends. If you can do it on a weekday, move heaven and earth to make that happen.
5. Trust your gut.
The more gowns you try on, the more confusing it will be for you. If you love something, choose that dress. Even if your best friend doesn't like the shade of ivory or your mother thinks it makes your butt look big. If you feel good about it, say yes to that dress.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.