By Real Simple
Updated January 23, 2008
Credit: Stacey Shipe and Matt Seeber

1. How do I make sure that my dress will look its best on the Big Day?

Two words: Handle carefully.

  • Put off picking it up from the shop for as long as possible. (Forty-eight hours before showtime is ideal.) It should be given to you in a garment bag. At home, take it out immediately and hang it from the highest possible point, so the train and hemline don't touch the floor.
  • Traveling? Return the dress to the garment bag and repeat the process later. When flying, ask if you can carry it onboard―or you'll risk tying the knot in your tracksuit.
  • Should anything happen to stain or wrinkle the dress, don't take matters into your own hands. Trying to dab out even the lightest smudge can leave water marks, and ironing a fabric like tulle can transform it into a burnt, crispy mess. Call your bridal salon for help or, if you can't reach it, the nearest cleaner.

2. Which white will work for my skin tone?

With more than 200 shades of white to choose from, the only way to know which one looks best on you is trial and error. Contrary to popular belief, few wedding dresses come in pure white―which is a good thing, because pure white washes out all but the richest and deepest skin tones. Most women will end up with a gown in the ivory family that flatters their skin tone. Keep these suggestions in mind:

  • If you're fair-skinned, look for ivory shades containing yellow undertones.
  • If you have a pinker complexion, choose creamy undertones.
  • If you have olive, yellow-based, or dark skin, select champagne or off-white shades.

When you think you've found the right shade for you, confirm with the salesperson that the color of the sample gown you tried on hasn't been altered by wear and tear.