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There are few days in your life like your wedding day and few decisions in your life like choosing your wedding dress. You don’t want to wait until the week before your wedding, trying on every dress in all the bridal boutiques, NJ or otherwise, until you luck into one you like. You need to have a game plan and you need to put yourself in the best position possible to find the perfect dress.

Here are some helpful tips to get you one step closer to your perfect wedding dress.

Think About Your Location
Where your wedding will be and how you’ll spend the day should factor into the dress that you wear.

Having a wedding outdoor during the day? Steer clear of ball gowns and anything that will drag and easily get messy.

Will your wedding be inside an intimate church? Avoid short slips or anything that would be better suited for a upscale party.

Think about fabrics and how they react to temperature. Linen is better for warmer weather while velvet works better in the colder months.

Think About Your Budget
When you walk into bridal boutiques, NJ or otherwise, go in with a good idea of what you can afford to spend. You’ll save everyone a lot of time and hassle by eliminating dresses that are too expensive. You also won’t drive yourself crazy as you try on dresses that you love but can’t afford to buy. Don’t forget to account for alterations and accessories, too.

Get An Early Start
There’s no reason to wait until the month of the wedding to buy your dress. Start looking at least six-to-nine months beforehand, and search various bridal boutiques in NJ and other dress shops. If you’re going to wear something elaborate or custom, it’s going to take at least six months for a dress to be made and for alterations to be completed. Even if you’re buying a dress off the rack, you want to give yourself enough time to see as many as you can and make changes to the one you finally choose.

Be Flexible
No, we don’t mean hit your yoga class more often. We mean be flexible about the style and type of dress you’re looking for. Even if a dress doesn’t seem like your kind of style, give it a whirl. Worst case, now you know that isn’t for you. But who knows, you might discover that your deep-seated hatred for ball gowns was all for naught.

Put It Down On Paper
When you’ve found the dress you absolutely, positively can’t get married without, you’ll likely have to put down a deposit and sign a contract. Make sure you go through that sucker with fine tooth comb. Check every delivery date, price, option, fee and expectation. One mistake can spell doom down the road.

Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer with an interest in writing about fashion and beauty. Follow her @MissWritey.