Having your dream wedding gown made entails a lot more than just collecting pegs and choosing fabrics. Whether you already know exactly what type of gown you want or not, it's best to keep an open mind and consult with your chosen designer first, as he or she will be the one to create your outfit for your big day. Below are some questions you should ask your gown designer before finalizing the design of your wedding dress.

What gown silhouette fits my body type?

When looking for gown ideas, you'll probably find yourself attracted to similar styles and silhouettes. Even if you already have a clear image of your dream bridal gown in your head, it's still best to find out if the silhouette you like suits you. As an experienced professional, your designer may have suggestions as to the cut that will highlight your assets and possible solutions for the areas you may want to camouflage.

What shade of white goes best with my skin color?

Brides usually wear white, and the selection of the gown's color is usually taken for granted. However, there are different shades of white--and these will look different on fair-skinned and tan women. Women with pink undertones look great in creamy colors, while champagne shades complement skin with yellow undertones. Your designer will be able to help you figure out which shade of white will look best on you.

How heavy will the dress be, including the embellishments?

This is a question that you may not think to ask, but since you'll be walking around and dancing a lot at the reception, it pays to know how much of a workout wearing your bridal gown will be. A heavily-beaded train can add a lot of weight to your gown, so it might help to consider ways to make your dress lighter (such as using a removable train) and easier to move around in.

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How long will it take to make the gown?

Different gowns take different amounts of time to make. Garments with hand-sewn portions will take longer than machine-made ones, and special details--like beading and embroidery--need additional time, too. Know in advance how much time it will take your designer to create your gown, and make sure to notify him or her early on if you have limited time before your wedding day.

How many dress fittings will there be? What should I bring to the fittings?

The fittings are a very important part of the process of having your wedding gown made, and you want to have enough time for any adjustments before the wedding. You may also have to bring certain items, such as your shoes and the underwear you will be wearing on your actual wedding day, which will help you and your designer get a clearer picture of your whole ensemble.

How much will it cost? Are there possible alternatives to the fabric/embellishments/design that will affect the cost?

Your budget for the gown is probably one of your major concerns--you'll want to look your best without spending a fortune. Have your designer break down the costs for you so you know exactly how much work and materials will be going into making your bridal gown. If the initial quoted price of your gown is a bit over your budget, you can use the breakdown of costs to help identify alternative materials that can look just as beautiful.

How and when will the payment be?

It's important to know the mode of payment and when you're expected to pay your gown designer. Does he or she accept checks? Do you pay after the first fitting or after the gown has been finalized? Is it possible to pay in installments? Clarifying these details early on will help you avoid any miscommunication on expected delivery and payment dates.

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