Finding Your Perfect Dress: Part I

So are you ready to take on one of the most exciting parts of your wedding planning?  Finding the perfect dress can be filled with mixed emotions.  There can be tears of happiness, and then tears of frustration...  Hopefully you can find a few pointers in this first post about dress shopping helpful to keep you sane.
I'm sorry, but how can you resist Kate Hudson in this scene of Bride Wars!!
Found On:
Getting Started:

Spend some time looking through bridal magazines and blogs to get an idea of what you think you like.  Maybe you tend to be drawn to a certain style or designer.  Tear out pictures of things you like, and things you do NOT like...those are equally as helpful!

Also, consider the season, style, formality and setting of your wedding.  A black tie affair will certainly not have the same type of a dress as a beach wedding nor as a garden wedding.
Make sure to keep your personal style in mind.  Consider how you normally dress.  You may not feel comfortable in something completely out of the realm of the style you are used to.

Before you begin shopping make sure you know the basics about cost and design. Some designers have different names for wedding dress styles but here are the basic five: 
(Check back for Part II to learn more about dress styles!)
A-Line or Princess: Fitted in the body, then flows out toward the ground.
Ball Gown: Fitted in the body with a full skirt.
Mermaid: Contours the body from the chest to knee, then flows to hem.
Sheath or Column: Straight, form-fitted from the shoulders to the hem.
Empire: Raised waist line sits below the bust. Dress flows down to hem.

When calculating pricing, factor in tax, shipping and alteration expenses.
Don't forget to budget for shoes and accessories.
Before you step foot in the bridal shop make sure you’ve viewed wedding websites that offer online wedding dress galleries. This is a great way to get an idea of what designers fit your budget.
What to Bring to Your Fitting
-A trusted friend or relative
-Appropriate undergarments: underwear, strapless bra or bustier, pantyhose or a slip.
-Shoes similar in height to what you plan to wear at your wedding.
-A notebook to jot down details and ideas
-The designer and style numbers for the dresses that you like
-A camera to compare dresses and to see how the dress photographs. (Some salons will not allow you take pictures until you have purchased the dress)
Order and Purchase Your Dress:
When you request a contract make sure it includes:
-The name of the designer, style number, size, and any other measurements
-The date and time the dress will be ready
-The amount you have paid and the amount you owe.
-What fittings and accessories are included.

Stay tuned for Part II about dress styles and body types!