PLANNING - just a few tips from some of our bridal experts.

1. Start Early -- Look for your dress, event space, caterers, floral designers, photographers, musicians, etc.  These things take time to order and plan for and some favorites can get booked up early.  

2. Set a Budget -- As hard as it is, know how much you want to spend total and then think about where you want to put the most money.  Have a cut off amount for every item on your list, plus a little extra for things that may surprise you. 

3. Make appointments -- look around online or flip through some magazines to get a since of what you want and then set up appointments to go shopping.  Most bridal stores ask that you make appointments when wedding gown shopping.  Call ahead to your local stores to make sure they will let you look or try on gowns.  Look at different shapes; A-Line, ball gown, fit with flare, etc.  Necklines; strapless, straight or sweetheart, halter, small straps, V-neck, etc. Think about colors; sash and corset back are easy ways to add a little or a lot of color to your gown.    

Same goes for caterers, bakers, event spaces, florists, musicians, etc.  Also, ask for references or samples of the work.  Make sure you get along with everyone that will be spending your special day with you.   

4. Limit your help -- Sometimes on TV, we see large groups of family and friends go shopping with the bride to pick out her dress,  More people can mean more ideas, bring people you trust to make the decision.  Bringing 1 or 2 people you trust the most is easiest to narrow down what you like.  We have had brides come in and pick out their dress alone or with one friend and then come back with large groups to try on the dress they pick along with one or two others, to make more people feel involved.  

 5. Primp -- For your bridal dress appointments put some efforts into the way you look.  Feel free to fix your hair the way you think you may wear it, but try not to wear too much makeup that may rub off on white gowns.  You want to feel confident trying on the gowns.  Also bring anything you may want to wear with the dress - grandma's veil, special shoes, strapless bra, and underwear that you don't mind others potentially seeing (you will probably need help changing)

6. Step out of your comfort zone -- It's simple: dresses look different on the hanger than on a body filling it out.  Let the people you come with and the consultant pick out some dresses that you wouldn't normally try on.  But if you don't like what they pick, just say so.  Dresses don't have feelings and consultants are there to make you feel your best.