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TCB Planning 101

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! Now the real fun begins! Your perfect day won’t come together overnight; it takes time and planning! That’s why Terry Costa is here to help you with all things bridal! In our bridal salon we will dress you and your wedding party, help you coordinate colors, and assist you with anything else you may need! See our TCB Planning tips and rest assured that your big day will be just as you imagined it with our Terry Costa team members on your side!

TCB Planning 101 Tips

  1. Always Shop Early! : You didn’t find Mr. Right overnight, right?? The same should be said for your wedding gown! Don’t wait to order your bridal gown- chances are good that your options will be limited if you do. It is important to start your search early- shop bridal magazines, Terry Costa’s website, or visit our bridal salon in-person to be inspired and begin visualizing your ideal bridal style. Have an idea of what you like and don’t like before you start shopping- but keep an open mind once you being trying on gowns. You’ll also want to start thinking about which bridal “white” is right for you. While most brides want to “wear white,” ivory is actually the new white and 90% of brides walking down the aisle are wearing this flattering color. If you have no idea what you want it can make the first time more stressful than it should be!
    • When you’re planning your shopping outing try and limit the amount of people you will bring to every boutique. Too many people equal too many opinions, more possibility for drama, and hurt feelings. You may end up settling for what everyone else likes and not what you know is right for you! Bring a few of your closest family members and friends so that the most important opinions are there to support you!
    • Once you find the dress, don’t wait to order! The biggest mistake we see brides make is waiting to order until it’s too close to the wedding day- especially if they end up needing many alterations or custom changes! Believe it or not, it takes between four to six months to Special Order your bridal gown! Don’t forget you will still need time for alterations and bridal portraits before the wedding too!
  2. Determine a Budget: Although shopping early is Rule #1, determining your bridal gown budget with the person paying for the dress is key! Don’t set your heart on a bridal gown before you know what you’re willing to pay! Remember: the price on the tag is for the dress only- it is no longer the norm to receive free alterations with the purchase of a designer gown.  Make sure you have room in your budget for all the extras including accessories, alterations, tax, and shipping. When placing your order at Terry Costa, we require a 50% deposit including tax and shipping. You’ll pay the remaining balance when your bridal gown arrives and you’re ready to pick up your gown and begin alterations.
  3. Authorized Retailers: Once you’ve found your dress we know you will want to keep your budget intact and find the lowest price possible for your dream dress BUT PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Although we don’t recommend purchasing something as important and irreplaceable as your wedding gown online, it is possible. BUT if the price sounds too good to be true (more than half the in-store ticket price, for example) it probably is! Don’t be one of the dozens of brides we see in our store who have fall victim to a counterfeit website selling knock-off bridal gowns just because the price was right. These brides purchased their gown online and either receive a completely different dress, one with horrible construction and beading, or they DIDN’T RECEIVE IT AT ALL! Don’t let this happen to you on your big day! Make sure the website is an Authorized Retailer and not selling counterfeit and knock-off bridal gowns- advertised photos are easy to copy and paste, and these sites will not ensure that the gown you receive is the exact piece in the photo! The best way to check a websites authenticity is to visit the designer’s website, which will list all their authorized retailers, or visit our No Knockoffs and Buyer Beware pages to better educate yourself on recognizing a counterfeit website! All authorized retailers will have some sort of seal from various manufacturers ensuring their authenticity. Check out ours on our Authorized Retailer page. Beware of any mention of “custom colors,” “cut to measurements,” or deliveries less than a month for any order.  ALL THESE CLAIMS ARE RED FLAGS THAT YOU MAY BE DEALING WITH A COUNTERFEIT SITE!  Ask the customer service reps of these sites directly (if they exist):  “Are you an authorized retailer of the exact gowns in the photographs of your site?  Are you shipping directly from the manufacturer or are these gowns made in the likeness of the images you have posted?”  They’ll have to tell you the truth and chances are you won’t like the answer.
  4. Knowing your body type: Once you start your shopping make sure you’re aware of your “body type.” This will help you determine what style gowns will look best on your figure and will give you more confidence to look and feel your best on your wedding day! It’s helpful to know your body type as you purchase your outfits in the future too! See our body style guide on the right to figure out what body type you are! Also, ask yourself: “When was the last time I felt really fabulous in an outfit?” An experienced consultant can help you take that answer and translate it into a bridal style that will leave your hubby-to-be speechless!
  5. Sizing: Whether ordering online or in-store, always make sure you are ordering based off of your actual measurements, not what you USUALLY wear or what size you to be by your wedding day! The reason for this is most bridal gowns run smaller than your normal clothes! We recommend getting measured by a professional, whether you come in our store or go to a tailor, to ensure the correct areas are being measured! Never order a size because you’re losing weight, order what fits you now! Also, every designer is a little different when it comes to sizing, so be sure to compare your measurements to the size chart of the correct designer before ordering!  For Information about how to get measured check out our About Ordering page.
  6. Availability: Ordering early is always your safest bet.  Try to place your order as soon as you decide on the gown, but if this isn’t an option we can always check future availability of the desired style, size and color, or you can purchase any of our sample gowns right off the rack! Many times a designer will already have your desired size and color in production and we can expect your order sooner than the standard four to six months. Don’t count anything out until you let us exhaust all possible purchasing options for you! Once orders are placed we always confirm ship dates within two business days from the day you pay your deposit!
  7. Accessories: Once you’ve chosen your gown everything else might seem like minor details but those “details” are key elements to complete your bridal look! Veils, tiaras, headpieces and other accessories can take up to three months to order! Try on the accessories while your wearing the gown you have chosen, and make these equally important decisions the same day that pay your dress deposit. This is the best way to ensure you don’t run out of time later- time flies when you’re planning a wedding! This will also give you an opportunity to consult with your hairstylist well in advance and discuss styling details for your big day!
  8. Bridesmaids: Don’t order your bridesmaid dresses until YOU have chosen YOUR gown- you’d be surprised how many times the bridal gown of choice can alter the entire mood of the wedding! Once your gown is ordered then it’s time to focus on your bridesmaids’ style, a look that should compliment your own. Bridesmaids’ orders take an average of three months to ship. Don’t stress about every detail when it comes to your maids- don’t fret if your linen provider doesn’t have the EXACT shade of color you’ve envisioned for your bridesmaids gown (and vice versa!). Bridesmaids, linens, flowers, etc should all compliment each other, not match perfectly! If you’re going to put them in more than one color, then don’t go with more two. Ombre may look nice on Pinterest but it’s extremely difficult to duplicate in real life—never underestimate the power of Photoshop!!!  Be mindful that not every maid will look good in every color or style available to you, so try and find something appropriate and comfortable for everyone. If you allow each maid to choose their own style then make sure at least two of these three elements are the same: the length, the color, and/or the fabrication (satin, chiffon, taffeta, etc)! If you mix fabrics the colors will not look the same, evening the same “color,” because a chiffon gown photographs with less sheen than a satin style, making the color appear muted. Chiffon also represents a more Spring “look” while satin is considered to be a more formal, tailored fabrication. If you choose to order your bridal gown at Terry Costa, be sure to let your bridesmaids know they’ll receive 15% off of their orders placed through Terry Costa! Check out our Become a Terry Costa Bride page for more information.
  9. Mother of the Bride- Don’t forget about the hostess with the mostest! The Mother of the Bride is the most important “guest” at the wedding- make sure her look is set in stone as early as your bridesmaids, if not before! Don’t force her to wear colors that will wash her out or make her uncomfortable just for the sake of “matching: your bridesmaids. Give her an opportunity to stand out in the wedding party crowd and give her some wiggle room when it comes to choosing her gown! Remember – she has experience when it comes to her own style and she may not be comfortable in the confines of your traditional MOB “vision.” This goes double when it comes to your future mother-in-law too!
  10. Hair and Make-up: Once you have chosen your bridal gown and accessories, start thinking about the hairstyle and make-up look you are going for! Make sure your above-the-neck look complements the theme of the wedding and the style of your dress! If your gown has straps or an embellished neckline then you may want to consider an up-do to show off the stunning details of your neckline. Check out our bridal Pinterest boards for bridal hairstyles, inspirations, and make-up tips!
  11. Alterations: All gowns are not created equal to your measurements- your gown will be ordered “according” to your measurements but not cut custom to them! More often than not alterations are necessary- whether it be a hem, taking in the sides, shortening the straps or other nips and tucks. Allow at least a month to six weeks for alterations and keep this lead-time in mind when ordering your bridal gown as well! If you need a hem make sure you have your shoes in-hand when you meet your tailor for all your fittings!
  12. The Wedding is this Weekend!: How time flies! Start gathering everything you need to ensure there are no surprises when the big day finally arrives! If you need another steaming on your bridal gown and/or veil that you purchased from Terry Costa, we offer one free steaming before the wedding after you pick up your gown! Make sure your bridesmaids have completed any necessary alterations on their gowns per your specifications- and make sure at last one of them know how to bustle your train!
  13. Wedding Day!: Your big day is finally here! You have your perfect bridal gown, matching accessories and shoes, and your bridesmaids are there for you to help you get ready! Once you have gotten all dolled-up, it’s time to get dressed! Always start with your dress first! You never want to step into your bridal gown with high heels on or your accessories. If you step on it with heels you could put a hole in it or snag the fabric. Put your dress on first and then your final touches that you way you ensure nothing can cause damage to it! Lastly, take tons of pictures and send them to us so we can show you off on Terry Costa’s Our Brides Page!! Congratulations!