Archive for June, 2011

Today we are lucky to have tips from the owner of Vocelles the Bridal shop in Florida. Trust me, you will want to read every word of these tips!

Vocelles, The Bridal Shoppe

1240 Thomasville Road #101
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 841-7663

Tips on how to be a Savvy Shopper

By Kristen Barstow, owner of Vocelles | The Bridal Shoppe

Shopping for the perfect wedding gown is one of the most fun parts of being a bride. But if you’re like most brides, the whole process of finding “THE ONE” can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve put together some basic tips that will help take the stress out of shopping and will allow you to relax, have fun and get the most out of your shopping time.

Before you go…

Determine your overall wedding budget

  • Make sure you take the time to determine your overall wedding budget and how much of that budget you would like to put toward your dress.  Knowing a ballpark of how much you would like to spend will help the bridal stylists at different boutiques pick the best styles for you and will help you make the most of your shopping time.

Location, Location, Location!

  • Knowing where you are going to get married will be a tremendous help in finding the perfect dress. Are you getting married on the beach? In a church? In a barn? In a ballroom? Different venues lend themselves to different dress styles so make sure you have an idea of where you’ll be tying the knot.

Do Your Homework

  • Before stepping foot in a bridal salon, look through magazines to get an idea of what types of dresses you like and don’t like. Tear out photos of styles you like and take them with you to your appointment.

Schedule Appointments in Advance

  • Most bridal shops prefer that you make an appointment to try on gowns. Make sure you call in advance to set up a time to come shopping.

Shopping Day!

So Many Opinions!

  • Don’t overwhelm yourself by bringing 20 different people with you to your appointment. Pick two or three of your loved ones whose opinions you value the most to help you make your decision.
  • If your mother, grandmother, aunt, etc… has offered to purchase your dress for you, make sure you bring them with you when you go shopping. Some boutiques offer first-day buying incentives and you don’t want to miss out because the person who is paying for the dress is not with you.

Wear Proper Undergarments

  • Getting in and out of wedding dresses is hard work. Most bridal shops will have a bridal consultant in the dressing room with you to help you get in and out of the gowns. Make sure you wear a strapless bra and panties that you feel comfortable with someone else seeing you in.

Bring Shoes

  • Bring a pair of high heels with you that are similar in height to what you would like to wear on your big day.

Be Honest with your Bridal Consultant

  • Make sure you are up front with your bridal consultant at the beginning of your appointment. By giving her an idea of what styles you like and don’t like and what your budget is she will be able to help guide you to the best dresses for you.

Be Open Mined

  • Trust the experts. While you have gone through magazines and picked out styles that you like, that is only step 1. Trust your bridal consultant when she recommends that you try on a dress that is totally different than anything you’ve ever considered. More times than not brides surprise themselves and chose a dress that’s totally different than they would have imagined.

Today we are so lucky to feature as our guest blogger Beth Chapman. She is the owner and brains behind The White Dress by the Shore in Conneticut, and we encourage you to check out her blog for some great ideas. She has written some excellent tips to prepare you for your bridal gown shopping experience. Thank you so much Beth for this excellent article, and happy reading everyone!

The White Dress By The Shore

104 East Main Street
Clinton, CT 06413
(860) 669-4596

Tips For Selecting The Perfect Wedding Gown

by Beth Chapman of The White Dress by the shore

Selecting a wedding gown is often one of the first steps that a bride takes as she embarks on the journey of her engagement.  Finding the perfect gown is an exciting, but often daunting task.  Following are tips that will help to make the experience memorable, enjoyable and lead to the gown of your dreams.

1.  Secure your wedding date and venue

Before beginning to shop for your gown, you should have your wedding date and venue secured.  Your decision will be much easier to make if you can envision yourself wearing your gown in the setting of your wedding.

2.  Set a budget

In creating your wedding budget, be sure to include a realistic budget for your wedding attire.  Your budget should include an allocation for not only the gown, but accessories (bra, veil, jewelry and shoes), alterations and gown cleaning and preservation after the wedding.

**It is very important to articulate your budget to the sales associate when shopping for your gown.  You do not want to fall in love with something that does not fit your budget.

3.  Do your research

Prior to beginning to shop, research salons that carry designers that meet your taste level and budget.

Evaluate the stores in which you like to shop for your everyday clothes and be sure that you select the correct shopping environment for you.  If you are a department store shopper, a larger bridal salon with a large selection of gowns may be the right fit for you.  If you prefer to shop in small boutiques, then a smaller, more intimate bridal store would most likely be best for you.

Visit the salon’s website before calling to set an appointment to ensure that the selection and price range meets your needs.  It is also helpful to read the bridal blogs to find out what other brides-to-be have to say about the stores that you plan to visit.

4.  Plan ahead

Call to schedule an appointment a minimum of one week in advance.  By scheduling an appointment, it allows the salon to provide you with their undivided attention and have a sales associate dedicated specifically to you.

Keep in mind that it takes approximately 4-6 months to produce a wedding gown.  You should begin shopping for your gown a minimum of 8 months in advance of the wedding to allow enough time for alterations once the gown arrives.

5.  Limit opinions

This is a momentous and joyous time in your life, so naturally you want to share it with your family and friends.  Be careful however of bringing a large group with you to shop for your gown.  Too many opinions can be detrimental to making a decision. 

If you have bridesmaids or family members who insist on being part of the process, a suggestion might be to shop with 1-2 very close family members or friends who understand and respect your personal style.  Once you have finalized your decision, then you can bring back other people to show them the gown that you have decided on.

The key is to remember to take opinions into consideration, but ultimately you know yourself best.  Your opinion is truly the only one that matters.  It is your day and you are the one wearing the gown.

6.  Communicate

Bring photographs of styles that interest you and articulate your vision and budget to the sales associate with whom you are working.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like something.  Who knows– perhaps there is something that can be done to the gown to make it perfect for you!

Before making the final decision on your gown, be sure that you understand the policies of the salon at which you are purchasing it.  Ask about their policies for gown deposit and alterations.

7.  Reflect your personal style

Don’t use your wedding day as the day to make a fashion statement!  Your gown should flatter your best physical assets, reflect the formality and overall aesthetic of your venue, and most importantly, reflects your own personal style.

8.  Have an open mind

Trust the sales associate with whom you are working.  If they are good at what they do, they will listen to your vision and make suggestions of gowns for you to try on.  Even if you do not like the way that a gown looks on the hanger, TRY IT ON!!!  It could be the gown of your dreams!

9.  Don’t be alarmed by the size

Bridal sizing is different from ready-to-wear sizing.  In some cases, a bridal gown is 2 sizes larger than what you would wear in your every day clothes.  Once you have selected your gown, the bridal salon will take your measurements.  Those measurements will be compared to the designer’s size chart and the appropriate size will be selected for you.  Keep in mind that a gown can be altered up to two sizes.  Even if you are planning on losing weight, it best to go with the size that you are measuring at the time of purchase and alter the gown once it arrives.  Never order a size based on the size that you plan to be!

10.  A beautiful gown starts with the perfect foundation

Undergarments are called foundations for a reason!  The proper undergarments truly make all of the difference in the fit of the gown.  After your gown is purchased, take time to select the perfect undergarments.  It is best to shop in a location that specializes in foundations so that you are sized correctly.

While selecting your undergarments it is important to take into consideration several factors~

Select a bra or bustier that has a lower back than that of the gown so that the bra cannot be seen.

Ensure that if your bra has lace, texture or boning, that they are not visible through the gown.

If your gown is a column silhouette or made of a light weight fabric ensure that your undergarments provide you with enough support and that there are no noticeable seams or panty lines.

11.  Understand the alterations process

Alterations are truly a process.  It will take time to sculpt the gown to fit your body perfectly.  When purchasing your gown you should factor in a minimum of 2 months for alterations.

There a generally a minimum of 3 alterations involved in perfecting the fit of the gown.  When purchasing your gown, you should inquire about the salon’s policies on alterations and their fee structure.

It is imperative that you have your shoes and undergarments selected when the alterations process begins.  It is impossible to ensure a proper fit without those elements.

If you are planning on losing weight, you should not begin the alterations process until your weight is stable.

12.  Creating the look

Selecting the perfect accessories to complement your gown is almost as important as selecting the gown itself.  The accessories can make or break your wedding day look! You should take time in this process and schedule a separate appointment to choose your accessories.

When selecting you wedding day garnish, ask yourself if you want the accessories themselves to be the statement or if you want them to simply complement the gown.  Either way, ensure that they reflect your personal style and the overall aesthetic of the


13.  Protect your investment

Although your gown is something you will wear only once, it is a precious garment that holds many memories and it is should be properly cleaned and protected after the wedding.  Research companies that specialize in gown cleaning and preservation– don’t simply rely on your local dry cleaner.  Be sure to use a company that provides an anti-sugar treatment while cleaning and uses acid free materials in their preservation box.  These processes will allow for maximum longevity of the fabric and ensure that it will not discolor or deteriorate over time.

14.   Enjoy the experience

The most important tip is to HAVE FUN!!  How often in life will you be able to try on beautiful gowns and be treated like a princess?  Enjoy every minute of it!

The key is to make sure that you are working with a salon that maximizes your bridal shopping experience and allows you to feel comfortable in your buying decision.


Beth Chapman is founder and owner of The White Dress by the shore, a couture bridal boutique situated in an antique home in historic Clinton, Connecticut.  The boutique features couture bridal gowns, accessories and chic attire for mothers and maids. For more information, visit

This week we will be featuring guest bloggers from Anne Barge retail stores around the country. Each of our guest bloggers have a blog of their own which encourage you to check out, and each of our guest bloggers has extensive experience in the retail side of bridal gowns which we encourage you to check out. We are extremely lucky this week as they have each blessed us with insider tips, trends and tricks for you to use when shopping for your bridal gown.

Our week of insider tips starts in Salt Lake City, Ut, and it comes from Hilary at Alta Moda Bridal. Thank you so much Hilary!!!

637 E. 500 S.
SLC, UT 84102


Hello beautiful brides. Let me introduce myself; I’m Hilary Anderson of Alta Moda Bridal in Salt Lake City, Utah and I’m passionate about bridal gowns. Recently, the gals at Anne Barge contacted me to be part of a guest post series on this blog. What an honor! Anne Barge (and the superlative staff behind the company) and near and dear to us, so I jumped at the chance. Today I share with you some insight about your journey to find your perfect wedding dress.

The search for your bridal gown is one of the most fun aspects of wedding planning. You’ll tear through pages of magazines, browse websites and blogs (often while at work…don’t worry, I wont tell), ask for recommendations, and day dream endlessly about the one.  When else in our modern lives do we get to wear such an amazing creation?  This is your one shot at making your own personal fashion statement.  So it’s important to get it right!

Here are a few tips to help make your shopping experience more enjoyable, stress free, and a whole lot easier.

Homework: Collect those ideas you love.  Gather together the images and print-outs of styles that inspire you.  Keep in mind you might not love the styles in person or on you, but your ideas are the best jumping-off point.

Timing: Special order gowns take an average of 4 to 6 months to create and another 2 months to alter.  Many options are available for quicker service, and most better boutiques will happily help you find something off-the-rack or that can easily be rushed, but time is your friend.  You can save money (and stress) by ordering early.

Budget: It is important to have a general gown budget before you go dress shopping.  Wedding dresses come in many budgets and categories.  Having an idea of what you can spend will help keep you from having your heart broken.

Appointments: It is a good idea to call ahead. This can be a big time saver and insure better, more personal service.  Also, you’ll have first run at all the gowns. What could be more fun?

Friends and Family: Many people want to share in your joy and there are definitely ways of including them all.  However, for your gown appointment, consider bringing along only one or two of your most supportive confidants.  More opinions can hinder the process and, inadvertently, hurt feelings.

Being open minded: Try on a gown or two out-side of the box (we call them “wild card” dresses).  You never know what you’ll find from trying something new.  It may either show you the path to the perfect ensemble or reassure your current opinion.

Finding THE one: Be prepared to fall in love.  When you find the right dress, get it!  Imagine if you waited a few months and the style was discontinued?  Or, what if another bride were to buy the sample later that same day?  Let’s be honest, so much of the focus is going to be on you…make sure you LOVE what you’re wearing.

Erin Kate Photography – Gorgeous Bride by Alta Moda

Green Apple Photography – Breathtaking Bride by Alta Moda

Erin Kate Photography – Amazing Bride by Alta Moda

It is very important when looking for an Anne Barge gown to go only to an authorized retail store. These are the stores we have personally chosen to represent our line and that uphold our level of customer service. If you choose an Anne Barge dress from a store we have no relationship with and heaven forbid something go wrong we cannot help. If you are a customer of one of our stores we can assist and support them to ensure a perfect wedding dress! Not to mention, we love our stores and want them to be your store of choice. How do you know if a store is one of our chosen retailers? Simple, call us up, email us at or go onto our website. Any store listed at is one of ours! As always, happy shopping!

Interior of Ivory Bridal in Houston, TX. Shot byMorgan Lynn

I know, alterations are never a word brides want to hear. The thought of paying another $500 after buying your bridal gown makes one sick, but it is necessary. I hear brides say a lot , “but the dress is custom to my measurements.” True, your dress is custom, but if ordering a size your dress is ordered based on averages. Bridal size charts are very well researched, but not perfect. The sizes are based on average measurements which means unless you are true average, your dress will need to be tweaked. This is not a bad thing! Just think, if your dress has to be worked on you can build the undergarments in for added comfort, and you can pick any pair of shoes you want to hem the gown to. It makes the dress even more custom. The fit of a dress is super important. Having a well altered, well fitting dress makes you look slimmer and more comfortable. An ill-fitting gown can add pounds and lumps…no good. Depending on how much work your dress needs, you will need multiple fitting appointments. The first step will be to fit the bodice and side seams. After those alterations are perfected you will do your hem and bustle. While they may be irritating and seem like a waste of money – ALTERATIONS ARE IMPORTANT. Just trust me, you will like the finished look!

See how great this well-fit gown looks! Amazing!