Start Shopping! Gather a few beloved ladies and head to the wedding dress boutiques! You’ll get the best service (and the least amount of stress) if you call ahead and make an appointment. If you are dreaming of a custom gown, you’ll want to allow at least 9 months in most cases, for the creation of the dress. Alterations for a standard-sized dress are generally ongoing over a few months.
Tip: Try to stay open-minded and calm! It won’t kill you to try on a few dresses you otherwise wouldn’t touch. This is also a time where making your budget clear is crucial. Don’t run the risk of falling in love with a gown that is way beyond your means. You’ll end up way over budget or in a dress you consider “second best.”
Consider Your Colors Go back and look through your “idea book” and pay attention to the colors that have appealed to you consistently over time. You will want to keep in mind the location, style and season of your ceremony.
Tip: Picking your wedding colors can be an intimidating task, so our best piece of advice is to go with your instincts. You’ll be seeing a lot of this particular shade over the next year, so be sure to pick something that is either soothing or exciting, but not jarring or boring to your style sensabilities!
Get the (Bridal) Party Started! Round up your favorite ladies and ask them to stand by you on your big day as part of your bridal party. Ask friends and family as early as possible. You will be able to enlist their help in the planning process, and they will be a great source of advice and support in the coming months.
Interview Vendors There are a number of service providers you will need to secure for your wedding ceremony and reception. This is not a time to make random decisions. Always shop around, meet the vendors in person, and ask a few questions before signing any contracts.
Tip: Ask friends and family for referrals to vendors they enjoyed working with. Have your interview questions prepared ahead of time and make sure everyone understands your budget so that can make it clear to you exactly what your money will buy. You will want to start looking for:
Wedding Officiant – Religious or Civil
Photographer and Videographer (two very different people)
DJ or Live Band
Caterer (be sure to schedule a tasting!)
Limo / Transportation Services
Dress your Wedding Party You’ll need to consider your own style, as well as the body type, comfort levels and budgets of your bridesmaids as you start to shop for their dresses. Some modern takes on bridesmaid dresses include dressing each gal in a different dress but all in the same color, or selecting the same dress in different shades of the same hue for a “watercolor effect.”
Tip: Make it clear to your maids what they will need to purchase (and when). Communicating this info via email is totally fine. If fittings or other appointments are necessary, appoint your Maid of Honor to oversee the scheduling.