STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Eleven Things to Remember When Seeking THE GOWN

Joined: 6/5/2009
Posts: 10
Sizing is Different. Yes, it stinks. However, just as women are not the same size in Penny’s as they are in Kohl’s, women are not the same size in a J. Crew sundress as they are in a Vera Wang. Measurements are vital to ordering the right size for your gown. Repeat the mantra: It’s just a number. If it really bothers you, white out the “1” so everyone will think you’re a “4”.

Keep an Open Mind, and Don’t Try until You’re Ready to Buy. The specialists in salons are trained to know gowns and SHOULD be listening to your wants and needs. Just because something looks bad on the hanger does not mean that she does not know how to choose dresses! You may surprise yourself. Browsing magazines and websites before you try any gown on is absolutely a good idea, however “browsing” a bridal store in person before your ready to buy is just using your time inefficiently. Besides, falling in love with that Nicole Miller in August only to find out in March that it’s been discontinued can be rough on any bride.

Don’t Bring a Herd! Bringing people to shop with you can be fun, but having a gaggle of opinions when you are seeking your special dress can sometimes hurt more than help. Not only is there limited space in a bridal salon, but the opinion that matters is YOURS. Bring a select number of people, find a babysitter for the kids, and if you know that your sister-in-law is just going to tell you that you look bad in your dream dress, leave her at home.

It’s OK to Love it! If you put on a gown after three and love it and start crying, it is ok. Not everyone needs to try on 70 gowns to find “the one”. If your specialist is listening to you, she should be able to find it quicker than you might imagine. Trying on gowns is fun, but more exhausting than many think.

Keep your venue in mind. A gown for an evening wedding and candlelight reception is going to be different than one for an outdoor wedding and barn reception. Is it acceptable to wear a ballgown on the beach? Absolutely! It’s your wedding! However, you may want to consider the option of a lighter gown to change into for the reception. Comfort should come into the equation somewhere along the line!

Understand the Price of Gowns. Yes, there are some lucky
women who are able to find their dream gown at a thrift shop, but they usually shop for months and then pay a decent amount for alterations. If you want a gown that is 25 pounds of tulle, or is slinky Italian silk, you will have to pay for it. If your dream gown is $500 above your original budget, do not hold back! There are other places for you to cut costs in your budget in order to afford your dream. If you compromise on your dress, you may always look at those pictures and think “I liked the other one so much more.” At the same time, it’s not always necessary to pay thousands of dollars for a high quality gown! Most designers have options that start at $300, communicate that to your consultant so she knows you are on a budget!

Do Not Fear Personality. Do not shy away from a gown just because it doesn’t have a line of buttons down the train. You can customize your gown! Many designers not only have different design options, but in the alterations phase you can take out or add pickups, adjust or add sleeves or straps, or make a gown more or less form fitting. Something else exciting? No longer do you have to shy away from color! Not only are there ways to add splashes of color to your gown (Alfred Angelo is famous for adding it INTO the gown) but many gowns come in colors such as blush pink, violet, navy, gold, champagne, ruby, shell, or silver! What a way to accomplish a theme or spice up a wedding! Keeping it traditional? Great! However, do not duck away from an ivory gown just because it’s “IVORY”. Most ivory gowns in today’s market are so close to white that one does not realize there is a shade difference unless the fabric is next to a white gown. Ivory is much softer than white, and does not glare as badly in pictures.

Shop on a Tuesday. Taking a day off of work to meet the ladies at the salon may be the best idea of your planning process! Saturdays may be more convenient, but think of how many other women have the same idea? If you want a quieter environment and personal attention, mid-week shopping, during the day WITH AN APPOINTMENT is absolutely the way to go.

Your gown should be one of the first things you decide (after the venue). You cannot choose bridesmaids dresses, colors, or even LINENS until you know the color of your gown. Will anyone really notice if your linens are white and you’re wearing ivory? No. However, most of us like to have uniformity in our selections. The style and color of your gown may (and often does) end up being completely different than what you originally envisioned for yourself, so save yourself the stress later and get this done first. Aside from that, many bridal gowns need to be special ordered, so you want to allow yourself a MINIMUM of 10 months. Can you get a gown sooner than that? Absolutely, but stress and compromise may become a factor of your selection then.

Don’t shop online. Yes, I am sure you can find all kinds of great deals on different sites, but you have to be very careful! Just because you love the way a dress looks in a picture on Ebay does not mean that it does not have hidden damage, stains, or will even look right on you. Plus, once worn gowns will often have alterations done to them, so a size 8 is not a true size 8. It seems like a great way to save a buck, but unless you are close enough to the seller and are allowed to come in and try the gown on before you buy – this option could end up costing you more in the long run.

HAVE FUN!!! If you are not in a good mood, do not go dress shopping. Finding your gown is supposed to be a fun and exhilarating part of the process, not a stressful, angry time. There is no ugly bride when she has a gown that fits her and she loves! This is the start of one of the most exciting rides of your life so you should enjoy EVERY BIT OF IT!

Kristie Grey is an international event and wedding planner from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with over 9 years of experience in the fields. You can contact her at [email protected].
Rate this:

Wedding blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us is a blogging community about weddings.  It allows engaged couples and future (or past) brides and grooms the opportunity to archive their personal wedding stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories about weddings, or check out the writing contest about weddings, quotes about weddings, wedding etiquette, funny wedding videos, discounts for your wedding, and other resources for brides and grooms on  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your wedding, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources

Stage of Life Writing Contests

writing contests

Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

Mentions for the Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources by...

Our writing contests mentioned by
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable


Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

  • Stage of Life writing contests were always free to enter
  • Essays from our blogging and writing contests have been picked up by the media, e.g., and used by teachers as mentor texts across the globe
  • We wanted to hear your personal, authentic thoughts on real world topics each month.  We picked writing prompts for which your answers and wisdom may help our readers
  • We awarded the winners with real prizes (cash and/or gift cards) from our site sponsors
  • By entering the Stage of Life writing contests each month, writers were supporting our free educational literacy initiatives and their words reached hundreds of thousands of viewers who visited

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy