Wedding Dress By Jessica Weltersen Wedding dresses, just like brides, come in all shapes, designs and sizes. When shopping for your wedding gown, keep in mind that one of the most important aspects you’ll need to face is finding the right dress size for you. This may come as a shock, but did you know that most bridal boutiques and high street shops usually have different sizing charts than regular clothes store? You may end up going to a boutique looking through size 4 dresses only to be informed that you’re actually a size 6. The reason behind bigger sizing is that bridal boutiques and high street shops usually take the size of your largest dimension. So if your bust and your waist require a smaller size than your hips, which means you’re pear-shaped, then the bridal boutique of the high street store would choose your hip size as your dress size. Don’t worry; alterations will be made to make sure your dress is a perfect fit. Top Tips for Choosing a Size To help you understand the puzzling world of wedding dress size and sizing, we’re giving you a list of tips designed to get you through the confusing experience called wedding dress shopping. Tip 1. Get a Bigger Dress Size Be prepared to get a slightly larger dress size than what you’re accustomed to. Unless you’ve got the perfect figure for those wedding dress sizes, you’re bound to end up with a slightly larger size than you expected. It doesn’t mean that you’re bigger than you originally thought you were; it just means that sizing is different when it comes to wedding dresses. If you’ve just gone through a rigorous exercise and diet program to shed unwanted pounds, don’t worry too much about the dress size. The size label is going to be inside your dress, and your wedding dress size can be your little secret. Tip 2. Alterations Might Be Necessary When your dress arrives from the store or the online retailer, check if there are alterations that need to be made. Once again, unless you’re ordering from a bridal boutique or you’re buying from a high street shop, you’re going to have to personally take care of the alterations of your gown. The good thing is that if you’re taking care of your own alterations, then you will save money. Bridal boutiques tend to overprice alterations, so finding a great tailor or seamstress would be the more practical way to go. Tip 3. Be Ready to Get Measured Before you try on anything in a shop, you will be measured. As we already said before, sizing is a whole different scenario in bridal boutiques and high street stores. When you start dress-browsing, remember to wear undergarments and shoes that are similar to what you’re planning on wearing to your big day. These shops are going to base your dress size on the measurements they take, so if you’re planning on some padding, restricting undergarments or heels, be sure to wear them when you get measured. Tip 4. Know What You Buy When buying from a bridal boutique, remember that “made to order” does not translate to “made to measure.” When buying dresses from a boutique, most of the time you’ll end up trying on a sample dress that’s either too small or too big for you. You’ll be assured that upon purchase, the right alterations will be made for a perfect fit. Don’t forget to inquire about the price of these alterations before handing over your credit card; you wouldn’t want to end up paying a lot more than what you’re prepared for. Tip 5. Buy the Right Size for You Most shops will not allow you to purchase a smaller dress size. If you’re on a diet or you’re planning on losing at least 10 lbs before your wedding then be sure to lose that weight before you place your order for a particular dress. This simple tactic will certainly lessen your alteration expenses and you won’t have to get in a long argument with the shop owner if your dress doesn’t fit. Tip 6. Shop Around Remember that most shops don’t store stock samples of all their wedding dresses in every size. A great bridal store would often have at least one dress shape available in every dress size, but keep in mind that this isn’t always the case. To be on the safe side, you may want to try wedding dresses from another boutique or shop just to see how well a certain dress shape fits before you place an order in your boutique or shop of choice. Tip 7. Start Your Bridal Shopping in Time The closer your wedding is, the more expensive the dress and alterations become. It’s always good to start shopping early. Rush purchase and rush alterations can be pretty pricey, especially if you’re asking for the dress in less than three months. Tip 8. If Buying Online Go Try on the Dress First When buying a designer dress from an online store, try out the same dress shape on your wedding dress size before you make your purchase or your bid. You can get designer dresses at discounted price online. If you’re from Europe, then buying a designer dress online and ordering it from the US can save you a lot of money, but before you make your purchase, remember to find out your exact dress size. This will save you both time and money when it comes to alterations. If you’re buying a once-worn dress, then be sure to check not only the size but also the height of the previous owner. If you’re on the petite side, then buying a dress from a statuesque woman is hardly a smart move. Remember, the search for the perfect wedding dress does not end with picking the perfect dress design, shape and style. Make sure you have the right dress size before buying your dream dress.