Bride's Guide: Q&A for the Big Day

I had my final wedding dress fitting last week, which was wonderful and sad all at the same time.

I'm at the point in the planning process when I don't want the wedding day to come, because then it will be over. So I found myself standing on the pedestal in the fitting room, looking in the mirror and not wanting to take the dress off, because I'll only get to put it on one more time. The seamstress almost had to kick me out.

I was very lucky when it came to finding my gown. I bought the first dress I tried on. My mom started to tear up when she first saw me in it. It fit perfectly from the very beginning. I haven't had any second thoughts.

But that doesn't mean it's a simple process.

There are entire chapters of bridal guides, websites and television shows dedicated to helping you find the perfect dress. Many women say they don't feel like "a bride" until they find their wedding gowns, and some agonize over the decision. Anyone who has ever been in a waiting room at a bridal salon for alterations knows that things can get very tense.

Celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss has lots of great advice in "The Wedding Book" about finding the right dress and what to do at your fittings. She shared some tips with me about the final dress fitting in particular, but first, I wanted to share one piece of advice of my own.

At my second fitting, I managed to cut my leg with the heel of one of my new wedding shoes while stepping into the dress. I panicked for a moment, but luckily the seamstress didn't bat an eye and assured me that she could get the blood out of the lining of the dress, which she did.

So here's my one piece of advice for other brides for dress fittings and the Big Day: put your shoes on AFTER you put on the dress.

Mindy's Tips for Finding a Wedding Dress:

Mindy's chapter in "The Wedding Book" about the dress is fittingly called "Finding 'The One.'"

She says the first considerations when choosing a dress should be "season and location, formality, budget and body type." The right dress for a church wedding would be out of place at a ceremony on the beach.

Her book offers a detailed guide to dress silhouettes, necklines, waistlines, fabrics, laces, trains and more, and is a great primer for anyone getting started with the process.

Alterations for Your Wedding Dress

Once you've found "The One," you have to make sure it fits properly.

In general, Weiss recommends two to four fittings, and advises brides to make sure to move around in the dressing room, and make sure the length of the dress is right when you walk.

Mindy's Tips for Final Dress Fittings

Bring someone with you so they can see how to bustle the dress. You will need their help after the ceremony.

Have the final fitting two to three weeks before the wedding. That way, if you have lost or gained weight, you still will have time for last-minute adjustments.

When you take the dress home, leave it in the zipper bag and leave the stuffing in the dress. You may want to take it out, but don't unless the bridal shop instructs you to. Just when you think it is safe, someone with dirty hands will want to touch it.

On the wedding day, carry the dress in the bridal bag. Once you're at the place where you're getting ready, remove the dress from the bag find a perfect place to hang it.

The dress may need some steaming. Get instructions before you leave the bridal shop on how to steam, or find out if it can be ironed.

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