Top Wedding Hacks For Brides-To-Be

Photo: Courtesy of Reformation.
You're a newly engaged, glowing bride-to-be. First off, congrats! Second, if you're already feeling a bit anxious about planning your walk down the aisle, don't be. We're here to help. After all, your "I dos" should be everything you hoped for and then some — preparing for the occasion shouldn't be cause for stress.
So, we're dishing our expert wedding-style hacks — including a few new bridal collections you probably haven't heard of, rad discounts, and the ultimate dance-all-night-long shoe — to get you started. Because, finding "the one" was the tough part, so shopping for the dress is a cake walk in comparison. Ahead, peep wedding gowns, heels, veils, and even bridesmaids offerings that we've paired with tons of clever tips and tricks, too. And, don't let planning for your nuptials get the better of you.
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Something Borrowed

While you may not want to rent your wedding dress (though, who are we to stop you?), there are tons of online resources that let you borrow jewelry, veils, accessories, and then some for your "I dos." Pay a fraction of the retail price, and simply mail everything back when you're done. It'll help you save big without making you feel like you're scrimping. Because, honestly, when are you ever going to wear that Swarovski-crystal tiara again? Unless you're Kate Middleton, the answer is most likely never.

Try Happily Ever Borrowed and Rent the Runway — this editor has had great experiences using the service for past events! — for cost-efficient offerings that will help you sparkle even brighter.

Avant Bride Leigh Comb, $20 (retails for $120), available to rent at Happily Ever Borrowed.
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The Investment Shoe

You might literally have to try on every nude heel in the store before you settle on the one. And, that's okay. A shoe that not only perfectly complements your dress but also has years — heck, decades — worth of wear beyond your wedding day is a truly amazing find.

Meet your match: Prada's strappy, platform sandal. Yes, it's a splurge. But, it's also just the ticket for those few extra inches — and it won't destroy your feet in the process. The textured, metallic leather goes with everything, and the strappy design means it'll stay put all night long. Plus, what girl doesn't want Miuccia on her side for the big day? Or, on that note, always? Wear them out to endless parties and even your friends' weddings, too.

Prada Strappy Platform Sandal, $830, available at Barneys New York.
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The For-Real Comfort Heel

We're not pulling your chain when we say heels can, in fact, be comfortable. And, affordable, too! Maybe you've committed to breaking in a favorite style for the occasion. That's a smart option. But, perhaps you'd rather find something practical, wearable, and stylish from the get-go.

Don't discount comfort-shoe brands like Naturalizer, Aerosoles, and Bandolino. They're stocking plenty of cute heels just right for your nuptials — you simply didn't know to look there! While we love those Prada beauties we mentioned on the previous slide (and totally stand by them), this Naturalizer sandal will pair just as seamlessly with your gown. Get ready to dance the night away!

Naturalizer Danya Heel, $69.99, available at Naturalizer.
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Good Things Come In Threes (Or More!)

Let your bridal party in on the action, too. Try Weddington Way, an online, collaborative boutique that will help you and your bridesmaids stay organized throughout the process. (Side note: It's especially helpful for long-distance bridesmaids!) Not only can everyone shop and coordinate purchases, but the site offers exclusive discounts to parties that order all of their dresses there. And, be sure to scope out Groupon for similar deals.
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Ditch The Gown

While we love a traditional, white wedding dress, we're all for going the alternative route, too — colored gowns and all. So, why not try separates? A pretty, white top and a white ball skirt look like a dress together but can be worn apart after the big day. You can even get two styles of skirt to wear: one for the ceremony and then one to change into for the reception.

Alberta Ferretti Lacy-Trimmed Cady Top, $550, available at Net-A-Porter; Alberta Ferretti Lace-Insert Cady Maxi Skirt, $1,370, available at Net-A-Porter.
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Shop Smart To Save Big

It's easy to get caught up in the hype when shopping for your dress. First it's the gown, then it's the veil, the sash, and so forth. And, suddenly, you've spent way more than you originally intended. Do shop around. Look for cheaper, similar accessories on Etsy. Also, think about having a sash made to match your dress at places like M&J Trimming, which can whip something up at a fraction of what you'll pay at a department store or boutique.

Melinda Rose Design Tulle Wedding Veil, $60, available at Etsy.
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Your Undies Matter (& Not Just For The After-Party)

Let's talk intimately for a moment — about your undies. Yes, we went there. After all, being the bride is a tall order. And, wearing a thong under your gorgeous but not-so-easy-to-maneuver dress may be a poor choice. To put it bluntly: Wedgies, anyone? Instead, we recommend a retro, high-waisted brief that won't bunch up throughout the day and will keep you from sweating the small stuff. Plus, it's still super flirty, and we're positive your newly named spouse will more than agree.

Else Signature Giverny Underwire Long Line Balcony Bra, $92, available at Journelle; Else Signature Giverny Silk & Lace High Waist Brief, $86, available at Journelle.
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Do Your Homework

In recent weeks, scores of retailers have released bridal collections — The Reformation, Bona Drag, and Ruche, to name a few. You'll be missing out if you don't at least peep these brand-new lines.

So, remember to stay open-minded. In addition to local boutiques, high-end department stores like Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue, and well-known wedding shops like David's Bridal, there are tons of unexpected destinations where you can shop for your dress, too. You may even unearth — gasp! — the one.

The Reformation Noelle Dress, $588, available at The Reformation.
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Looking For Something Formerly Loved?

We say it's worth checking out the vast number of vintage options out there. And, sure, your mother's wedding dress was lovely, and she'd happily let you wear it to walk down the aisle. But, maybe her bridal style just isn't you. So, shop oodles more one-of-a-kind options that come with some serious history — Stone Fox Bride, PinkClouds, and Etsy are great places to start.

Stone Fox Bride Luisa Embroidered Cotton Sheath, $1,500, available at Stone Fox Bride.
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Ask The Experts

No need to hire a makeup squad when you can sweep on mascara just as seamlessly as the pros. Sign up for tutorials, and perfect your beauty look way in advance so that you feel totally comfortable applying it for the actual ceremony. Don't want to go alone? Bring your bridesmaids, and make a date of it. Head to your local Sephora or MAC for easy-to-follow tips and tricks. Or, schedule a class at places like Rouge NYC and Make Up For Ever. Our beauty editors tell us that Rouge has an awesome service called Ransacked, where the company spring-cleans your makeup bag and then shows you how to best use the stuff you have. Umm, count us in — wedding or no wedding!
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The Change-Into Reception Dress

You had your princess moment for the official ceremony, and it was spectacular. But, for the reception, what you really want is to party with the rest of your guests. If sticking it out in your ball gown isn’t quite so optimal for dining and dancing, have a standby dress waiting in the wings. A soft, blush cocktail number will be just as beautiful but probably about 10 times more functional for your hosting duties. Not to mention, you’ll be able to don this chic style long after the event, too.

Zimmermann Silk Drape Dress, $395, available at Zimmermann.
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