By SERINA MARSHALL
For a bride, her wedding day is one of the biggest and most important days of her life. She doesn’t only want to feel special, she wants to look special walking down the aisle.
However, finding that perfect gown involves a lot more than just grab and go, accord- ing to local dress specialists.
“Some try on one dress and are done, while others try over 100 dresses and still don’t find what they are looking for,” said Michelle Thompson, owner of Annie’s Room in Kingsport. “This is why you should give yourself time to shop before the wed- ding. I would say at least start looking to purchase a year in advance, especially with the supply chain right now. Sooner is better than later.”
Other specialists, such as Sarah Silmon at Blue Willow Bridal in Johnson City, say that a bride should not just want to look special, but also feel like herself in her gown.
“You should get a gown that feels like you. Some brides find a gown and say, ‘It’s beautiful, but it’s not me,’ and there is a difference in the dress being beautiful and the bride feeling beautiful,” said Silmon, who also owns Hunter Bleu Boutique in Erwin. “You want to shine and stay true to yourself.
To do this, the sweet spot to order should be anywhere from nine months to a year out from the wedding because you need time for alterations and bridal portraits as well.”
Linda Williams, manager of David’s Bridal in Johnson City agrees, adding that back in the day, etiquette and rules were attached to a wedding, but things have changed.
“Now a bride is able to design and create what she wants, however she wants. The door is open,” she said. “Brides crave the unique. Just keep an open mind.”
Knowing what you want in a dress is important, but Thompson says that with so many varying types of weddings, you need to know your theme and décor as well when purchasing your dream gown.
“You need to know your venue, attire, flowers and pick a theme and then run with it,” Thompson said. “For in- stance, for a bohemian (boho) wedding, the bride would want lace and more earthy tones on her dress. More champagne colors and not lengthy. While for a classic wedding, she would look for an A-line dress, bling and a little shimmer.”
Williams adds that classic weddings call for more detail than Bohemian weddings, while modern weddings are more fashion risqué, with low backs and tight-fitting gowns.
“Modern also carries more satin and silk Mikado; it’s a very clean look,” Thompson said. “Whereas something like a country-style wedding would be more lace.”
“Country-style weddings are like boho but different. They are more casual and the dresses are shorter to usually show off boots,” Williams said.
If you are looking for a specific themed wedding such as Halloween or Harry Potter, these dress specialists say they can do that too.
“We will interview the bride and have a conversation to build that relationship and bounce ideas off each other,” Thompson said.
Silmon says she enjoys themed weddings so she can play around with ideas.
“Sometimes we add capes to the dresses or add a longer train. I love just getting to play with all the accessories and find something that works with their theme,” she said.
It isn’t only the dress that differs in range, but also the sizes and prices.
“We vary in price hav- ing dresses anywhere from $1,299 to $2,000, with our sizes starting at an 8 and go- ing to 24,” Silmon said. “But we can order up to a 30.”
At Annie’s Room, Thomp- son said the prices start around $350 and go up to $2,000.
“We also have a variety from size 6 to size 26. We do have a line for curvy women as well,” she said.
David’s Bridal also offers layaway.
“We have layaway and also financing for six months with no interest,” Williams said. But most importantly, beyond all this, the specialists agree that the couple should make the wedding unique to them and to reflect their personalities.
“Incorporate their personal photos into the decorations, place a picture of a lost loved one in chairs at the front reserved for those gone,” Silmon said. “Use things that mean something special to just the two of you. Recreate your journey to the vows. This is your day. Make it special for you.”