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Rochester Wedding Gowns

When buying a wedding gown, you are not just buying the gown, you are buying the entire ensemble - including the gown, the headpiece, jewelry, undergarments, and shoes. Make sure that all the different pieces work well together!

Be Prepared

  • Browse's selection of Rochester area Bridal Shops for the latest bridal fashions!
  • Register for Rochester's best Bridal Shows and enjoy the latest fashions displayed on stage!
  • Look through bridal magazines for ideas. Most manufacturers list shops where the dress can be found locally.
  • Don’t fall in love with the first dress you try on. You might like the look of yourself as a bride better than the actual gown. It’s easy to be swept away by the first gown! Try on a couple more, and then go back to the first one. You may still love it best, or you may find it isn’t as fantastic as you had thought.
  • Bring shoes the height you want to wear at the wedding with you when you shop. This will give you a good idea of how the gown will actually fall on you. Also - wear a strapless bra so that you can get a good idea of how the dress will look.
  • Bring only one person with you on your first few trips, someone you can trust to tell you the truth about how the gown looks on you.
  • You may want to take some attendants with you, once you have narrowed down your choices. That way you can get different opinions of how the gowns look on you. Of course, you get to make the final choice!
  • Be well rested. If you are tired and less than patient, the shopping trip is guaranteed not to be a success.
  • Have a list of the following for your bridal consultant: the date and time of the wedding, the formality, the theme, and the location of ceremony and reception. Also, you should have already asked your officiant about dress restrictions.
  • Allow several weeks or even months to visit shops and try on dresses. If you try on too many dresses at one time, you’ll get tired, and may wind up getting something just to be done with it.
  • Try on different types and styles of gowns. Some may not be as impressive on the hanger as they are once you get them on. You’ll always know when you have found the perfect gown!
  • Ask if the gown can be customized. Perhaps you love everything but the sleeves — can they be changed? Remember, this may involve additional costs.
  • Before you buy — Beware! Has the shop been in business for a while? Does it seem well taken care of, the people who work there professional?
  • Keep in mind that during the ceremony, your guests will mainly see the back of your gown, so be sure you like that as well as the front!
  • Know your budget before you tart looking. That will give the consultant a place to start.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once. Shop for the gown first, and when that decision has been made, look for the accessories.

When To Shop

This is one of the first details you’ll want to attend to — because it’s so much fun! As soon as you know what season your wedding will be you can start to look. You should make sure you start looking at least seven months before your wedding, to allow enough time for everything that needs to be done.

Bridal Consultant

Many bridal shops offer the services of a bridal consultant, who assists you in trying on gowns, helps you choose accessories, and takes care of ordering your gown for you. She can be a very valuable help to you, so make sure to ask her a lot of questions and for her advice. She has a lot of experience in helping brides look their best.

Make An Appointment

Making an appointment assures you that there will be a salesperson to attend to your every need. Start off by telling her your budget. That way you won’t see a lot of dresses you can’t afford. You will be in a large dressing room, with plenty of mirrors. The salesperson will bring you many different gowns to try on. Try to have an idea of what you want, and talk to her about it. If you want lots of lace and sequins, she won’t bring you the less ornate dresses. You may also want to take this time to look for your attendants’ dress, just to get an idea of what type of dress will compliment your gown.

Setting A Budget

Usually the first question the bridal consultant will ask is how much you want to spend. To give you some idea, wedding gowns can cost from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. An average price in Rochester would be from about five hundred dollars to fifteen hundred dollars. The bridal gown is traditionally paid for by the bride’s parents, or by the bride herself.


This will depend upon the intricacy of the design, the type of material, and the number of alternations you want made. If you find the dress you love is out of your price range, you may also ask about buying the sample dress. If cost is a large factor, you may look for one that had been canceled, or at the end of the season when the dresses are on sale. You may also want to see if having your dress made by a seamstress is more economical, although you may not find a great deal of difference in price.
Looking for bargains? This can be a triumph or a headache. Remember, you usually get what you pay for. If it seems an unbelievable bargain, it probably is. Make sure that the quality of material and workmanship are the same as the higher-priced gowns. Also, make sure the shop is reputable, that you will actually have your gown, and on time.

Figure Types

Women come in many different shapes and sizes. Keep your figure in mind when shopping for a dress. Here are some tips to get you thinking! If you are:
Short: Look at dresses where the lines run up and down. An empire waist, a high neckline or trim at the neckline will also help. Stay away from extremely ornate gowns, they will make you look shorter. An elongated waistline will help to add height.
Tall: Choose a skirt with many flounces or tiers. A low neckline can minimize height. Off-the-shoulder gowns will also flatter you.
Thin: A very full dress, especially with full sleeves, will help round you out. Materials that drape a lot will look good on you. Horizontal detail will also serve to add shaping.
Stick figure: If your hips and bust are the same size, and you don’t have a waist, your dress should help create your shape. You would look best in gowns with oversized shoulders, a bateau neckline, or very detailed sleeves. You should look for a more billowy skirt.
Full figure: A flowing material, such as chiffon, will help hide extra pounds. Look at your good points and emphasize these and try to detract attention from your bad points. If you have a heavy waist, choose a dress with a higher waistline.
Top heavy: You can help balance your figure by lengthening the upper body and drawing attention downward. Billowing skirts or a lot of ornamentation on the skirt will balance your figure.
Pear shape: You should look for a gown with more ornamentation or texture on the bodice. Try to find a dress that gives you broader, squarer shoulders. Your skirt should have a defined waistline, then not be extremely full beneath.
Wide hips: A flared skirt, or an A-line dress will look best on you. A fuller skirt will minimize heavy hips or legs. The wider hemline can be balanced on top by puffed sleeves or a hat. A dramatic neckline will also draw attention upwards.
Hourglass: Your dress should balance your proportions above and below your waist. Classic styles will look best on you. Look for a dress that will emphasize your waistline.


There are a full range of fashions available for women 5’ 4” and under. Ask if bridal shops carry these. The best thing to keep in mind is that all details of the gowns should be scaled to your smaller size. Sleeves should be slightly less full, and you should keep flounces and ruffles to a minimum. Straighter, simpler gowns will look better on you. Heavy ornamentation can be overwhelming on a petite woman.


There are dresses specially available for full-figured women. The proportions of your figure will determine which style of gown will be most flattering on you. Ask your bridal consultant for suggestions, and follow her recommendations. Some women with fuller figures look best in a simple gown, with little ornamentation. Some may even look best in a form-fitting sheath style. In general, the most flattering gowns will have less ornamentation and detail near the face. A long drop or Basque waistline usually the most flattering, as it lengthens the torso for a better proportion. If you have a heavier bust, consider the undergarments you need to look your best. A strapless or off-the-shoulder gown may not be a good choice for you. Your headpiece and hair style should also be in proportion to your size - they can be fuller and more ornate.


There are many different options for you to choose — should you get machine-made lace, or opt for handmade imported lace? There will be a large difference in the cost of these two. It is up to you to decide if there is also a large difference in how they look. You should carefully check the quality of the manufacturing. Check seams, buttons, and how laces and sequins are attached. Gowns will be less expensive with laces and beads glued on, rather than sewn. Since you only wear the gown for one day, both should stay on equally well.

Style Tips

  • A sleek bodice will enhance a fuller or more ornamented skirt.
  • A strapless gown should be covered by a bolero or jacket during the wedding ceremony.
  • A wider neckline will enhance your shoulders.
  • A fitted waist enhances your shape.
  • A simpler bodice will minimize your upper body.
  • If you are very curvy, use detailing either on the top or bottom of the gown, but not on both.
  • A deep neckline will show off your bustline, but that shouldn’t be the only thing noticeable about your gown.
  • If your legs are your best feature, choose a short dress, a sheath with a slit, or an angled hemline.
  • A long, graceful neck is best show off with a high-neck cutout neckline.
  • Want to be a little daring without showing too much? Wear a dress with a plunging back or a backless gown.
  • Choose a shade that best flatters your skin. Try the gowns on in different lights if you are unsure.
  • Never order a gown you haven’t tried on. It may look wonderful in the photo, and a disaster on you.


The fabric is determined by what you like, and by the season. For Fall or Winter weddings, heavier fabric is usually chosen. For Spring and Summer weddings, a lighter fabric is appropriate.


Wedding gowns usually have a lot of ornamentation. This gives you a romantic look. If there is a lot of lace, ask about how to properly clean and care for it. Don’t be surprised if the lace, sequins and pearls are glued on. This is fairly common with wedding gowns which are designed to only be worn once. This is one way of cutting down on the cost of the gown, without sacrificing the looks.


White, ivory, and pastels are the predominant colors for wedding gowns, though white is the traditional color. Make sure the color looks good on you. Be careful with ivory, it can make some complexions wash out, or look sallow. If you have your heart set on white, but feel that it doesn’t flatter you, choose a neckline style with is farther from your face, to lessen the effect.


The season of your wedding will very much impact the shades and fabrics you can choose from.
Spring and Fall: Year-round fabrics are best, such as Brocade, textured Cotton, Shantung, Taffeta, or Tulle. You may opt for long or short sleeves, depending on exactly when your wedding falls, but you may also want to be prepared with a jacket. Spring’s colors are more pastel shades, while Fall’s are more brilliant. These colors, the colors of your attendants’ gowns, play a part on your color choice. All colors in your wedding should work well together.
Summer: For hot summer days, the lightest fabrics will be the most comfortable. These include: Chiffon, Lace, Linen, Organza, or Voile. Again, keep your overall wedding colors in mind when choosing your gown’s color.
Winter: You will wear the heavier fabrics, such as Satin or Velvet. One option you might choose is an all-white wedding, or snowball wedding. If you do choose this, make sure that none of the whites (your gown or your attendantts’) are an ivory tone, which would look soiled next to pure white.



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