ASK THE EXPERTS

Bridal dresses

Q: How many gowns should I try on? How will I know that it’s ‘THE ONE’?

The more you try on, the more confused you can become. No more than eight gowns per salon and you should never exceed 30 gowns. TIP: Scope out all the bridal salons that are in your area and book appointments with those bridal salons where you find gowns that fit your wedding day style. By booking an appointment you get individualized attention. The excitement you felt when he asked you to marry him is the same feeling you should get when you find "the one." You will get warm and flushed, hence the blushing bride! TIP: If you were emotional when he asked you, you will probably get emotional when it’s the dress! Crying is not a confirmation that this is "the one."

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to a bride’s family and friends when accompanying her during the dress search?

This is the bride’s day; please respect her feelings and excitement. You know her better than the consultant, so make suggestions and NOT demands of the bride or her consultant. She can get overwhelmed and not enjoy the experience. TIP: Follow your bride’s lead on how she is reacting to herself in the gown.

Q: What are popular wedding dress styles this season?

Trends for 2016 are certainly eclectic. Couture design has given a collection of sheer, sexy gowns with a variety of skirting as well as two-piece bridal. TIP: Brides, it is a matter of your personal style, ambience of your wedding and vision of your big day, so be your own kind of beautiful!

- Orainda L. Beile, owner of Orainda’s Bridal Boutique, oraindasbridal.com

Q: I found a gown I love, but want to change one thing. Should I count it out? Or can dresses be customized?

Finding a perfect gown is an excellent beginning in your quest to create a perfect wedding. Virtually all gowns are customizable. Don't let your desire to stand out be hampered by someone saying that they are unable to make a change. Sometimes a small change to the perfect gown makes it more perfect. Be an individual. The day is about you!

Q: I don’t want my bridesmaids to wear ‘matchy matchy’ dresses, but I want the look to be cohesive and pretty. What are some ways to get the look?

Many brides are choosing to allow their maids to make individual choices with their dresses. The best way to attain this is to choose a specific designer and a specific type of fabric. Watters and Watters, for example, has a fabulous line of lace dresses that would provide exceptional coordination. They come short and long. If one of the party members prefers the look of a long dress’ bodice, then it is a simple fix to make it into a short dress. Bridesmaids’ dresses have come a long way: no longer is it just a dress for a single day; they are fashionable and wearable again and again.

Q: What’s your best advice for brides on a tight budget? Any tips for keeping my wedding gown budget friendly?

Don't let a tight budget stop you from finding your perfect gown and having a wonderful experience at the same time. All brides deserve to feel pampered and special. If you are on a budget, don't be embarrassed by it; it is what it is. Have a fun time and enjoy your experience. Most boutiques are able to accommodate a wide range of budgets.

- Erika Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Bride, andersonsbride.com

Q: When should I start shopping for my wedding dress?

I usually recommend that brides start shopping 9 months to a year before their wedding and have a gown picked out by the 6 month mark. This allows enough time for alterations, accessorizing and picking complementary bridesmaids’ dresses but isn’t so much time that new trends hit the market possibly making a bride question her decision.

Q: How can I make wedding dress shopping fun instead of stressful?!

BE PREPARED! I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared for the purchase you are about to make – financially and emotionally. The things that normally stress a bride out are money, too many opinions, and not being able to find the dress that she has a picture of in her head. Don’t “shop on a whim” and limit the number of people that you bring with you. Have an open mind and trust that the consultant knows what she’s doing. Let her throw some gowns into the mix that may not catch your eye on the rack.

Q: Are there any veil trends that are popular this season?

Flower crowns have been replacing veils for a couple of years now but veils are making a comeback. The perfect veil, like the perfect dress, is whatever you feel comfortable in but here are a few tips:

· Think of the lines the veil creates on the back of your gown – are you being visually chopped in half? The two safest lengths that don’t normally interfere with the detail on your gown are just at the bottom of the booty or 2” past the hem of your train.

· What about the trim – does it complement the detail in the gown (i.e., Do the laces match? Is the beadwork similar?, etc.). As full lace gowns continue to be on trend often a raw edge tulle is the best way to complement without making you look too busy.

- Tara Harmon, owner of Fabulous Frocks of Anchorage,
fabulousfrocksbridal.com/anchorage