TIPS ON CHOOSING YOUR REGISTRY
Just like your wedding, your home should reflect a certain style that both you and your new groom have decided upon. Help each other visualize how each room should look. Make suggestions and exchange ideas. Be sure to get the input of your fiancé. Some men have a hands-off approach to registering-and prefer it that way, while others want to be actively involved.
Designate one weekend to look at as many different styles of china, furniture and glassware as possible. Try to see as much as you can. Once you like what you see overall, you can choose the stores that will carry your registry. Be sure to inquire about shipping and exchange policies. For your guests' convenience, try to have at least one store that is easily accessible to most people-especially those out of state.
Choose items that are functional and well-made. After all, this is the only time in your life that you get to do this. You want your gifts to last. Be cautious of trends.
If you need the basics, such as pots and pans, towels and dinnerware, don't get too carried away with registering for accessories such as picture frames and nut dishes. Register for the things you need first. Also, register for a variety of things that have different price tags. This gives your guests a little more flexibility in choosing a gift that fits their budget.
China can be particularly expensive, so beware. If you choose a high-end pattern, understand that many guests can only spend a reasonable amount and won't feel comfortable giving you a teacup or one dinner plate as a wedding gift, despite the value.
Stay organized and check off gifts on your list as you get them. As you begin receiving gifts, be sure to record them in your guest card file and send thank-you notes appropriately. Make sure the store's registry is accurate and inform them of anything that needs to be changed or corrected. Remember, don't count on all your gifts to come from your registry. You will be surprised what you get, so keep a sense of humor.
THE DRESS SEARCH
If you're looking for a traditional style gown, there are more than you can imagine at the many bridal shops around town. If you desire something a little more unusual or casual, don't overlook the evening wear departments of fine clothing stores. Some brides are even lucky at vintage clothiers or antique shops.
Choose a dress style that reflects your overall wedding theme and one that you feel comfortable wearing. Most brides say they know right away when they've found the dress that's right. Don't get frustrated if the search is a long one. You are bound to find the dress that's for you.
A good rule to remember is: you should always wear the dress-don't let the dress wear you. When it comes to detailing-lace, ribbons, pearls and bows-more is not always better. Don't let yourself be overpowered by your dress. The same rule applies to headpieces.
Choose a waistline and neckline that accent your best feature-hips, waist, bust or shoulders. Similarly, your dress should downplay your most unflattering features. If you are lucky enough to fit into a sample size-usually Size 10 or smaller-you may find a great buy off the rack.
Some dress manufacturers can offer additional services to help you find the dress you want. For instance, if you are having a winter wedding and love a particular dress that only comes in short sleeves, see if the manufacturer can add sleeves for an extra cost. They will also add extra length for tall brides.
Don't squeeze into a dress that doesn't fit-it will show. Have a professional tailor do the necessary alterations, with the final changes made as close to your wedding day as possible. Remember, you will be moving around a lot on your wedding day. Kneeling, bending and dancing will make comfort a priority, so don't choose a style that's too restricting or revealing when you move.
Don't forget about your budget. If money gets tight, consider a bridal resale shop or consult a seamstress to have your dress made.