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Tips for Long Island Brides on Picking the Perfect Wedding Dress

Long Island brides, it's pretty obvious when we say that your wedding day will be the most photographed day of your life. Your dress sets the tone for your look, whether that’s classic, retro, rockin' a princess vibe, it's important to choose a look that's uniquely yours. But finding the perfect wedding dress doesn’t have to be as stressful as popular TV show Say Yes to the Dress makes it out to be. Consider this your guide to finding the picture-perfect dress sure to impress.

Do Your Homework Have an idea of which designers’ styles you like, what’s in your budget and which cuts will likely look best on you. For example, A-Line is generally universally flattering, but keep in mind you won’t know for sure until you try it on. and certain features like sleeves and necklines can be altered at a price. Apps like The Knot have tools that will show you which shops in your area carry the designers you love, and you can even message the owners directly through the site to set up an appointment or ask questions.

Timing is Everything Unless you’re going non-traditional (which is completely cool) and buying off the rack, looking for a wedding dress is a checklist item you won’t want to procrastinate on. It can take months to come in, and then it may need to go through a few rounds of alterations. Try to knock it out eight months before the big day to give yourself and the shop some breathing room.

Look for Trunk Shows and Sample Sales

Budgeting is key when it comes to weddings and, especially in places like New York, it’s easy to go overboard. If you’re in love with a designer who’s not in your price range, look out for sample sales and trunk shows, where you can score discounts on gowns. Location, Location, Location Your venue is likely a major factor in the theme and style of your wedding, and it’s nice when the dress follows suit for a cohesive look and feel. As Long Island wedding photographers who have shot hundreds of weddings and venues, the right dress in the perfect makes for beautiful photography!

There’s also a practical standpoint to consider— a heavy ball gown likely won’t be too comfortable at a July beach wedding. Talk to your stylist about what type of vibe you’ll be going for all day long to give him and her an idea of what to pull and what to leave on the rack.

Try Everything You may have designed your gown when you were five (lace, mermaid cut, sweetheart neckline), but keep an open mind. Let the stylists pull some dresses she thinks may look great on you. Remember, she does this all day every day, and she just may be onto something. Also, go ahead and try something outlandish, such as a pouffy Cinderella gown you’d never see yourself in. You may wind up loving it, or the giggle-fest with your crew may provide some much-needed comic and stress relief.

Pack Smart

When trying on wedding dresses, if you think you’ll be wearing Spanx and you have a pair, pack them. Also, bring neutral-colored undergarments and strapless bras. You’ll get a better visual of how the dress looks on you this way. Also, are you going to be rocking a family heirloom for your "something old" or "borrowed"? Bring it. This is a case where the dress has to work around the accessories.

Keep the Crew Small

It can be tempting to bring everyone and your grandma (and their grandmas) along for the ride a la many Say Yes to the Dress starlets, but having so many opinions can overwhelm even the chillest bride. Picking a dress can become a big, emotional decision — it’s something you’ll make such an intimate promise in, be photographed an insane number of times in and may even have preserved and give to a child or grandchild someday. Consider limiting it to a family member or two and your bridesmaids (or, if you have a huge bridal party, your maid of honor). Check with the bridal shop, too: Some have limits on how many members of your squad can be present.

You can always text other friends and family members photos or have them come to see the dress at another time, such as during a fitting, after the contract has been signed, sealed and delivered.

Deal With Dress Regret

If you’re buying your dress by the recommended eight-month mark, that leaves a ton of time to sit and think about your decision. Before you get to don it, you’ll likely attend other weddings and get bombarded by ads and social media posts that may cause you to second-guess your choice. When this happens, go take a look at your photos and try to remember why you chose the dress in the first place. Did you love the neckline? How it hugged every curve just right? The way it showed off your barre arms? If you can, call the shop and ask to put it on so you can fall in love all over again.

If you do actually regret your choice — perhaps you felt pressured by your well-intentioned mother to go with something with a sleeve you just didn’t like — take a look at the fine print on your contract to see what the return and exchange policy is. Then, ring the shop to see how they can work with you.

Remember: It’s About You

This is a guide, but at the end of the day, you make the rules. If you want to do a jumpsuit, go for it. Rather go off-the-rack from a department store? Go ahead. Totally digging the whole Cinderella-at-the-beach look? You’re going to steal the show. It’s your day, your way. Pick the dress you want and will love forever.

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