to Choose Your Dress
Many of us dream of the perfect wedding gown from early
childhood. As we grow, our dreams mature, and when it is indeed time to
find the dress to be worn on the most important day of our lives, we
have a pretty clear idea of what will make us feel just perfect.
Listen to these instincts, and find -- within your budget, of course --
the one gown that you know is yours.
Consider, however, the time and place of your nuptials. If you are to
have a formal candlelit ceremony, a short sundress will not do. An
afternoon garden party is not the place for a long veil, and if your
party is planned in a proper reception hall, a classic look may be the
In addition, if your ceremony will take place in a synagogue, inquire
about the s bridal attire requirements. In general the three major
denominations of Judaism -- Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox -- have
different standards. Reform Judaism has few, if any, restrictions on
dress. Conservative synagogues usually require that a bride's shoulders
be covered, while Orthodoxy customarily places several restrictions on
attire. Brides may be required to wear dresses with full or
three-quarter length sleeves, high-cut necklines, ankle-length skirts,
and covered backs. It is best to check with the rabbi. Rules regarding
bridal attire vary even among synagogues within the same denomination.
Regardless of your choice, make sure you feel COMFORTABLE in your dress.
Where To Look For the
• Log on to the
Jewish Celebrations Directory and
look for Bridal Salons in your area, and Bridal Gown outlets.
• Independently Owned Bridal Shops - many of which offer a range
of services to the bride and bride's party. Bridal shops often carry
many of the other accessories you may need, such as shoes, veils,
undergarments, and more. Bridal shops usually sell the nationally
advertised gowns, and have an in-house seamstress whose counsel is often
• Discount Outlets - in these stores you'll find a mix of well-known
designer dresses and imports at reduced prices. More often than not,
these outlets sell the gowns "as is" or off-the-rack, and do not offer
in-store seamstress services.
• Bridal Chain Stores - there store carry a limited line of gowns
produced for the chain exclusively. Like Discount Outlets, the Bridal
Chain Stores sell their dresses off the rack, though services such as
alterations vary from chain to chain. Prices, however, are more
• Direct From Designers - the majority of wedding gown designers
and manufactures are based in New York City. (Check out 1385 Broadway,
in the Garment District.)
• Rentals - If your budget does not include the thousands for a
designer's dress - but your heart is set on one, a wedding-gown rental
shop may be the answer. The selections are often more limited, but good
rental establishment maintain their dress is mint condition.
• Hand-Me-Downs - not necessarily a negative notion. If you are
sentimental, you may feel most special in a dress your mom, a favorite
aunt, or a vintage gown found in a thrift shop.
• Custom-Made Dress - If the dress you desire costs more than $5000, you
may be better off hiring a dressmaker who would create another in its
image for a small fraction of the cost. Good silk, enough for a bridal
gown will cost between $400-$500. Including the services of a talented
professional, you may shell out no more than $1500 for a perfect fit.
• Gemachs - lending organizations. Jewish tradition encourages
helping brides and grooms achieve supreme happiness on the day of their
nuptials. In an effort to help those who need financial assistance,
Jewish organizations around the U.S.A. collect wedding gowns, care for
them, and provide them to brides. Generally, a nominal fee is charged;
the money is used to maintain the dresses for future use.
Practical Advice -
Questions You Want Answered - Check List
• Remember your budget. Try and stick with it, but don't settle for a
dress that you do not feel happy with. Also remember...
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask away... here are some examples --
• Are alterations included in the price
• Deposit Amount
• When is the final balance due
• Which credit cards are accepted
• Cancellation policies
Make sure your contract lists the designer's name, size, price, color,
fabric, manufacturer, style number, and delivery date.