Finding the perfect wedding gown can be a daunting task but new apps can help women narrow the options by helping them find and virtually try hundreds of designs.
Brides spent on average $1,281 dollars on their wedding gowns in 2013, according to wedding website TheKnot, which surveyed 13,000 couples who were married last year.
With the new augmented reality iPad app called Wedding Dress Studio, women can see how they would look in more than 300 gowns with different silhouettes, necklines, details and fabrics.
“There are so many styles available today, and walking into that blindly, brides need all the help they can get,” said Hillary Sica, executive director at Toronto-based Wedding Reality Inc, which created the app.
“Our goal is to help give the bride-to-be an idea of what will look good on her so that she's not trying on dresses that won't work when she gets to the boutique,” she said.
With the app, women upload a body image of themselves wearing tight-fitting clothing that does not interfere with the contours of their bodies, and mark their shoulders, hips, and waist. The app overlays gowns, based on the details requested, on the image.
The app uses patented fabric-remapping technology to mimic how fabric flows and stretches around the contours of the body, according to Sica.
But she added it is only the first step toward finding the perfect dress.
“It's not meant to replace the experience of going to a store and having that moment but we're hoping it's a stepping stone in the process,” she said.
The company plans to partner with local boutiques in the future to make their dresses available through the app, which is free and available worldwide.
Another app for iPhone and Android, called Wedding LookBook, created by TheKnot, also helps women find gowns. They can browse more than 5,000 gowns that can be filtered by designer, shape, price and style. The app also shows nearby stores where they can try it on or purchase it.
Leslie DeAngelo, a co-host of the reality TV show I Found the Gown, and president and owner of the wedding dress website Bridepower based in Massachusetts, said shopping for a bridal gown can be a very emotional experience.
Apps can also be especially helpful for women who do not live near bridal shops, she added.
“We've heard some people say they haven't tried anything on because they're 300 miles away from the nearest bridal shop. Not everyone lives in a metropolitan area, so many brides browse websites and order that way,” DeAngelo explained.
She suggests brides-to-be keep an open mind and try different silhouettes.
“You don't know what will look good. It's not like shopping for jeans,” she added.