Picking the perfect dress
There are a few big purchases a woman will make throughout her lifetime: a house, a car, that pair of must-have designer shoes. But perhaps no purchase will make as big a statement as a woman's wedding dress.
From strapless to lace, sweetheart necklines to tulle skirts, blushing brides-to-be have no shortage of options when it comes to finding The Perfect Dress. This year, brides are likely to spot several new trends as they hunt for their gown, said Terrin DeBoer, owner of Weddings on First in Willmar.
"One big trend is a push back to a more traditional style of bridal gown," DeBoer said. "The royal wedding had a lot to do with that, I think. We're seeing more brides ask for dresses with lace and sleeves."
Other trends of the moment include ruffles, flowers and bows. Shorter tea-length dresses are also becoming more popular, DeBoer said, especially for brides planning a destination wedding.
"When they're having a destination wedding, brides tend to go with a dress that's less traditional and has less fabric," she said. "They're looking for something flowy that will travel well. They don't want something with a long train, for example."
For other brides looking to go a more nontraditional route, one option is to ditch the white dress entirely in favor of something with color. It's not uncommon for brides to choose silver or light pink dresses, DeBoer said. At her store, brides can also order their white dress to include color detailing - anything from navy to hot pink.
"Adding that extra pop of color can really make the dress," DeBoer said. "A lot of brides also choose to add a colored sash or a belt with a flower, especially if it's a plain gown. That's very popular right now."
For brides just beginning their search, DeBoer has plenty of advice she's learned from years of helping women find their perfect dress.
"Do try on different styles, even if you don't think you will like them," she said. "If you're trying on dresses with a lot of family and friends, trust your gut. Your opinion is the only one that matters. Most importantly, don't settle. Find the dress you love."
Finding that special dress can be overwhelming at times, but DeBoer said it's always worth it when the big day arrives.
"It's so important for brides to find a dress that they're happy with and that makes them feel wonderful," DeBoer said. "A wedding dress is something that every girl thinks of her entire life - it's what she dreams about as a young girl."
"Well, besides the guy," she adds with a smile. "He's important too, of course."