When shopping for your dress, be sure to bring with you a couple different bras (i.e. halter, low-back, strapless, etc.) and wear g-string underwear. If you are planning on wearing form shaping undergarments, such as Spanx, don't forget to bring those along as well as dresses always fit better when one is wearing the proper undergarments. Secondly, choose a dress that highlights your best features. Think of an outfit that often earns you lots of compliments... Perhaps it's that strapless dress that shows off your shoulders or an a-line skirt that enhances your curves. If you are still unsure of the right style dress for you grab a trusted friend and make an afternoon of trying on dresses in your closet. Figure out what makes you feel and look your best. Allow at least 6-12 months to have a custom dress made for you.
~ Caroline Calvert, of Caroline Calvert Couture
Book your tuxes at least 2 - 4 months in advance (minimum 4 months during the busy months of June through September). Before you book your tuxes, discuss who will be paying for the tuxes and who will be putting down the deposit for the order, etc. Know what color the Bride's and the Bridesmaid's gowns are, since that will dictate the colour of the shirt and ties. The Groom should always look more formal or at least slightly different than the Groomsmen is some way, just as the Bride stands out, so should the groom!
As soon as you are ready, start shopping for your dress. Delivery times are only an estimate and leaving it too late could result in your not having the dress you wanted in time for the big day. When dealing with 'off the rack' purchases the garments are often being ordered from overseas and so things like customs and high demand for a certain style of gown cannot be predicted and may delay delivery. Be aware that alterations are always an extra cost because there is no way to know how a particular dress is going to fit your frame until you get it on. When ordering a dress off the rack all sales are final due to the fact that dresses are not stocked and are only cut and made upon official order of the dress.
Gone are the days that bridesmaid's are expected to wear exactly the same style dress. What's popular now, is having your girls pick a dress from the same designer but in different styles. This way the girls can express themselves in a style that suits them, which will make them happier on the day of. We recommend choosing the same fabric and colour for all their dresses, but if the girls do end up picking the same style dress, you could always mix it up by putting the girls in different shades of the same colour.
Don't think you are helping your bridesmaids by giving them a colour (like "green") and telling them to go buy any dress they like! Easier said than done - keep in mind that every colour has a huge variety of hues (whether it's a green or a pink or even a chocolate brown) and many hues do not work well together. Not to mention the fact that there are a number of drastically different fabrics out there that can create a "hodgepodge" effect! Help them out by giving them a designer and a colour from that designer (say "Jenny Yoo" and "Pistachio Green Silk Shantung") and then let them choose whatever style they want within that - all styles are available to view on most designers' websites.
Let your bridesmaids enjoy a proposal of their own! Think of creative ways to ask your girls to stand up for you on your special day. You could ask them over a weekend brunch with "will you be my bridesmaid?" cards, or take it a step further, and surprise them at Frocks with a personalized window display (i.e. your name above the bride mannequin, and your bridesmaids names above mannequins standing by her side wearing your chosen wedding colours!). To avoid suspicion ask your girls to join you for an afternoon of shopping for wedding accessories!
Geneve McNally is one of two Principal Planners of DreamGroup Productions Wedding & Event Planners in Vancouver, BC. Geneve and her business partner, Sarah Shore, created DreamGroup in the Summer of 2004 and now represent one of the top planning companies in the city executing over 60 weddings and special events annually. In her "spare" time Geneve teaches Wedding Planning at Vancouver Community College and also writes for several local publications. She is happily married and the proud mother of two year old son, Harrison Law.