The thought of buying a wedding dress is stressing you out? Help is on the way.
couple eating cake
Credit: KT Merry

When the dream of finding the perfect wedding dress meets up with reality-you have limited amounts of money, time, or patience-it can be upsetting. We've identified six of the most likely dilemmas you may face and offer resolutions that really work.

You have a small budget.

Good news: There are stunning wedding dresses in all price ranges, including yours-you just need to know where to look. Besides off-the-rack dresses at David's Bridal, retailers like J. Crew, Reformation, and BHLDN offer many amazing wedding gowns that don't carry a hefty pricetag. And don't rule out your local bridal salon-not every dress it carries is a beaded, hand-sewn treasure; they also carry simple, elegant styles that may fit your budget.

You hate shopping.

Before (grudgingly) visiting any bridal salons, look at wedding dresses online and in magazines to get an idea of what you like. For your appointment, bring pictures of your favorite dresses or details to help the sales consultant get an idea of your taste. Take just one or two people with you, not your whole bridal party, which would prolong your salon visit (everyone will want to give their opinion).

You dislike traditional white wedding dresses.

Who says you have to follow tradition? Wearing a long white gown made of layers of tulle isn't a requirement to saying "I do." Wear what will make you feel happy and beautiful. How about a cute white cocktail dress? Or a long white gown that's not a wedding dress in a style that you've worn before and loved? Or try a wedding gown in a color that doesn't scream "bride!" like blush, read, or blue. Consider a white jumpsuit in a fabulous fabric. Look outside of the (bridal) box and you'll see plenty of good options.

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You're bigger than a sample size.

Most brides are as well since wedding dress sample sizes notoriously run small (the label may say "size 10" but it's closer to a size six). That's why sales consultants are adept at using pins and clips to give you a good idea of how the dress will look on you even if you can't zip it up.

You're in a rush to get married.

While it usually takes up to nine months for a custom wedding dress to be delivered to the salon, there are plenty of places for you to get a gorgeous dress if time is tight. Try looking at dresses on the sample sale racks and asking the salon which designers are best able to meet your deadline (be prepared to pay a rush fee).

The idea of a sales consultant seeing you in your underwear is freaking you out.

Unless they're brand-new to the profession, consultants are used to squeezing into dressing rooms with half-naked customers and only paying attention to how the dress looks, not to someone's round tummy or thighs. You, too, should focus on the way the dress looks and feels and not on the process of getting it on. But do wear the undergarments you plan on wearing on your big day-that way you can see what the dress will actually look like when you walk down the aisle.

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