Benjamin Martin Photography

Finalize your Budget! 

Is it already flying by or are you just getting started? If you’re playing catch-up, be sure to use our comprehensive checklist to knock out some really important to-dos right away — booking a venue, hiring a photographer, creating a budget and setting a wedding date.

Another biggie? Finding the wedding dress of your dreams.

Step one: Print out our Gown Buying Guide, a tip-filled timeline that walks you through the buying, fitting, tailoring and preserving process.

Step two: Take stock in our editor’s “dos and don’ts” of wedding dress shopping:

  1. Shop local. Arkansas bridal boutiques carry some of the best brands in the world; no need to go anywhere else.

  2. Don’t buy online. There are hundreds of counterfeit sites out there. We’ve heard from brides who’ve received the wrong dresses, poorly made gowns, or didn’t receive their gowns at all—it’s heartbreaking.

  3. Be choosy about who comes with you. DON'T invite all of the females in your family nor all of your bridesmaids, and please leave overly opinionated friends and family behind.

  4. Strategically schedule bridal appointments. A weekday or weeknight appointment generally allows you more time and attention from boutique staff compared to weekends.

  5. Take your time. Don’t buy the first gown you try on. Visit multiple bridal boutiques. Sleep on the decision. Sales are usually final.

  6. Factor accessories and alterations into your gown budget. Gown alterations can exceed $400. Beaded belts and veils can exceed $200. Then, you’ve still got shoes, garter, jewelry...

  7. Try on gowns you don't think you’ll like. The sales team knows what they're doing. We know many brides who fell for a gown they initially overlooked or refused to try on.

  8. Buy a gown that makes your feel confident. Any insecurity you feel in your gown at the store will come through in your wedding photos.

  9. Don’t go to trendy. When you look back at your photos in 10 years, are you going to be glad you wore what you did?

  10. Consider your wedding theme/style/decor. Please no princess ball gowns in a barn.