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gown & tux photoWhen it is time to shop for your bridal gown, be sure you go prepared. Try to take only one or two people with you. Remember, the more people the more opinions.

Before you go shopping, take the bridal magazines and start tearing out pages of gowns that show the neckline, skirt, bodice, train, sleeves, waistline, etc. that you would like to have.  Circle the parts that you like, and make notes on the page. Most brides do not find their "perfect" gown in just one picture, so make a combination.  Take these with you to the gown shops. It will make your descriptions a lot easier on the salesperson. Pictures are always better than verbal descriptions.  Do the same for your bridesmaids gowns.  Also, be sure you (the bride) try on the bridesmaid's dresses also, to see how they feel and look in the mirror.  Don't forget, the bridal gowns come in an assortment of shades of white and ivory, and some pinks.  When you are looking for the bridesmaid's dresses, only look for style, since you can order them in any of dozens of colors.  Be sure to bring heels similar to the height you will wear on your wedding day.  The same for the bridesmaids. Keep in mind when you are ordering your bridal and/or bridesmaids gowns, they take a long time to come in.  So shop early. The bridals can take up to six months to arrive, but most are less.  Always ask the salesperson. The bridesmaid's gowns also take a couple of months.  Be sure to order all your bridesmaids gowns at the same time, from the same store, in order to make sure the dye lots match.  If your bridesmaids are wearing shorter dresses, where their shoes will show, make sure they all buy the same shoes, since these will show in the pictures, and in the ceremony.

Shopping for the tuxedos can be very trying, since some Grooms are not always obliging.  Start with the bridal magazines.  Look through and tear out pages that show tuxedos that you like, then show them to him.  You should place the order for the tuxedos at one - two months before the wedding.

Grooms look great in tails, but most of them refuse.  They say they don't want to look like a penguin.  Go to the tuxedo store with him to try on several different tuxedos.  Have him try on a tail coat, just to make you happy.  Explain to him that you aren't wearing the same gown as your bridesmaids, and he shouldn't wear the same as his attendants.  He should stand out from them. Both of you should be dressed "special" on your wedding day, since you both are getting married.  Show him how tailored the tail coats are, how slenderizing, how elegant.  If you are having an informal wedding, then change his accessories to make him special. Possibly a different vest or cummerbund.  If your bridal gown is ivory, make sure to order ivory shirts for the men.  Take a swatch of your fabric with you to compare.  If you are ordering ivory tuxedos or jackets, compare the swatch with the ivory color of the tuxedos.

Be sure BOTH fathers match in tuxedos.  Too often everyone forgets about the Father of the Groom, and he shows up in a suit, and looks like the "poor side".  Both fathers should be in a tuxedo since they will be together in pictures, and walk the aisle for everyone to see.

When you are ordering the tuxedos, be sure to ask for measurement cards for all of the Groom's attendants, ushers, ring bearer or page, and the fathers. Mail, or give, these to the attendants and fathers, and tell them to go to any tuxedo store for measurements, then return them to you.  All tuxedo stores will gladly measure someone, even if they are getting their tuxedo elsewhere.  It is a complimentary service they all offer.  Also, be sure to rent shoes for all the men.  It looks better in the pictures that they all match.  Set up a pick-up date for two days before the ceremony, and insist that everyone try on their tuxedo when they pick it up, before leaving the store.  Nobody is perfect all the time, and they may need to make alterations, since the measurements may have been taken elsewhere.

When you are at the tuxedo store, ask if they give discounts for wedding parties.  Most will give the Groom's tuxedo for free with five other rentals.  Some more, some less.  Sometimes you can negotiate all the shoes for free, instead of the Groom's tux rental.

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