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How to Plan a Wedding

        Money | Financial Planning

Wedding Attire

Everything that surrounds the bride as she walks down the aisle should represent nothing less than warmth, love, and beauty. Her gown, her attendants, and both of your family and friends standing

near -- they all embody decades of dreams, centuries of tradition, and a few fleeting moments of utter joy.

Choosing the bride's gown and groom's attire, and the apparel for the rest of the wedding party, can be a long process. Just remember to use the clothes to reinforce the style of the rest of the wedding. In other words, if the wedding is a formal evening affair in an elaborate setting, don't put the groomsmen in casual sports coats and trousers. As we walk you both through the process of selecting the appropriate wedding attire, remember that you can click on the links for worksheets to help you with each step.

The Wedding Gown

Before the bride begins shopping for her gown, she should take a look inside her closet and pull out the dresses that make her feel absolutely gorgeous. Study their basic shapes and cuts.

Next, buy an armful of bride magazines. Tear out pages with fashions that catch her eye. Have a pen handy, so she can circle any neckline and sleeve treatments she likes.

She'll probably be trying on dozens of dresses, so create a log of what she likes and didn't like about her top gown possibilities. Once she has made her selection, keep track of all of her ordering information in one place to make it easy to make any follow-up phone calls to the boutique.

The Veil and the Headpiece

There are many styles of veils and headpieces. First and foremost, the bride should choose headwear that coordinates with her dress. However, most headwear can be adapted to coordinate with any gown style.

Her only other concern is deciding what sort of veil and headpiece she feels comfortable in. Her comfort level depends on how she likes to wear her hair and whether she wants to wear all or part of the headpiece during the reception. On the subject of hair, she'll probably want to make a general decision about her wedding day hairstyle before buying the headpiece.

The Bridesmaids' Attire

Once the subject of ridicule and scorn, bridesmaid dresses now have a world of options.Bridesmaids don't even have to dress alike anymore. The bride can choose to have the wedding party all dress in the same color or fabric. Just remember that the bridesmaids will be paying for these dresses; try to choose one within their budgets.

As the bride did with her wedding dress, she should keep track of the likes and dislikes of her bridesmaids' gown possibilities. Then create a detailed worksheet about the bridesmaid gowns she has selected, including all of her attendant's measurements.

The Groom's Apparel

As with the modern bride, the modern groom no longer absolutely has to wear a traditional black tux. A nice-looking suit and tie has become popular, and this option allows the groom to wear the suit for other special occasions.

If he wants to stick with the rental route, be sure to check out a few rental apparel possibilities to make sure he gets the style he likes at the price you both like. Then keep track of all the groom's ordering information, including dates for the fittings.

Groomsmen's Attire

The groomsmen's apparel should match (or at least reflect) the style of the groom's attire. The groomsmen will sometimes wear a less formal or less colorful version of what the groom is wearing. The best man will often match the groom. It's a good idea to have a list of all the groomsmen's measurements in case you run into any problems with the rental company.

Phew! You both made it through the wedding planning. That's it, right? Well, not quite. You can't forget about the honeymoon, post-wedding parties, and gift registry. While all of these are pleasant distractions, they do take planning nonetheless. Check out the last page for information on the gifts, parties, and honeymoon details.