Wedding-Gown Shopping Checklist

To build your veil-to-toe look, complete these steps.

Your Gown

  1. Check Make a "look book."

    Tear out pictures from magazines, compile photos from friends’ weddings, and round up fabric swatches and anything else that may help you communicate your taste to the sales staff or dressmaker. Paste everything into an album or a blank book.

  2. Check Determine your budget.

    Click on the related link to print out a wedding budget worksheet.

  3. Check Think about the wedding location.

    If you're getting hitched at city hall, you may want to skip an elaborate, formal gown. Also consider the religious affiliation, if any, of the location and its rules with regard to modesty.

  4. Check Consider the temperature.

    If you're having a beach ceremony, you’ll want a fabric such as cotton eyelet that won't wilt in the humidity. Winter weddings call for heftier materials, like satin or silk shantung.

  5. Check Scout dresses at retail stores.

    If you're on a budget, browse wedding collections at and Note what dresses work best with your body type.

  6. Check Or visit a custom dressmaker.

    Think about what questions you would ask.

  7. Check Make your buy about eight months before the wedding.

    You need to allow time for fittings.

  8. Check Buy undergarments.

    If your gown doesn't have a built-in corset, ask the dress salesperson what type of underpinning you need. Make sure to try on everything with your gown at your final fitting.

Your Accessories

  1. Check Choose a headpiece.

    Experiment with a variety of lengths and shapes to see what best complements your gown. At you can design your own. Other options: tiaras, silk flowers, vintage combs, or pearl or crystal hairpins.

  2. Check Settle on shoes.

    Ballet flats or kitten heels are most comfortable. Browse flats at and heels at

  3. Check Consider a wrap.

    Popular options: a pashmina; a beaded shrug; a wrap in silk, chiffon, or lace.

  4. Check Purchase jewelry.

    Choose pieces to enhance your gown, not compete with it.

  5. Check Gather your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

  6. Check Pack an emergency kit.

    Toss these in a bag for your big day: a small sewing kit, extra buttons, Hollywood tape, white chalk, stain-remover wipes, a lint brush, a compact steamer, white gaffer's tape, white ballet slippers.