Wedding dress shopping isn’t as straight forward as your usual retail therapy experience and if you’ve never been before there are a few things you may not be aware of. Here we run through a few pointers that you should know before you choose your wedding dress to ensure you are ready for and make the most of your bridal gown shopping experience!
Most bridal boutiques will require you to make an appointment
Always call up and make an appointment when you visit a wedding dress shop, especially on a Saturday when it will be at it’s busiest. Making an appointment will ensure your journey is not wasted and the sales assistant can offer you the best possible service.
Find out the price range of a wedding dress shop before you go
The last thing you want to do is spend an hour trying on dresses and falling in love with one, only to find out it is way out of your price range. To avoid disappointment, call up and ask for a rough guide line to dress prices before you even make an appointment.
Find out how long your appointment will be
Finding out how long your appointment is will ensure you make the most of your time at the shop. Don’t be afraid to book another appointment if you feel you need more time to try the dresses you want.
Wear the right undies!
To get the best idea of how a dress will look on your big day, we recommend you wear flesh coloured seamless pants and a flesh coloured strapless bra. We know it’s not particularly sexy and may not be the underwear you wear on the big day, but there is nothing more off putting and distracting than colourful straps or unattractive knicker lines!
Wedding dress boutiques usually only stock each style in one size
As you’ll be aware, wedding dresses are not cheap, so most designer bridal boutiques will only carry each style in one size. The size they stock in store will depend on the size of their average bride and the style of dress. Dresses that are too large can be held in with clips to get a better idea or in some cases, bridal boutiques may be able to borrow the dress in another size that is closer to the size you need.
You might not fall in love with the style of dress you thought you would
You’ve found the dress of your dreams on Pinterest and have been swooning over it for months. Finally you find a shop that stocks it so you go to try it on….but it’s nothing like you imagined it to be. This can be very disappointing for a bride, but you shouldn’t let it ruin your experience. There will be a dress for you, it just might not be the one you initially had in mind. Let it go and move on.
The best approach is to be open minded
Following on from the previous point, be open minded. If I had a penny for every time a bride chose a dress that was completely different to what she had in mind originally! Even if you are convinced you only want a fish tail, be open to trying on a few different styles before completely ruling everything else out. Wedding dresses are not like your average party dress and you may be surprised which style suits you best!
Always try on wedding dresses in the heel height you will wear on the day
Most brides will find that the full length wedding dresses are too long for them, so if you are planning on wearing heels, pop them on when you’re trying dresses on – the dress will look a lot more flattering and will give you a better idea of what it would look like.
Don’t do too many wedding dress shops in one day on the first trip
With all the different wedding dress options to consider, bridal gown shopping can be confusing and overwhelming especially at your first appointment. Stick to one or two appointments on the first day and to let it all sink in before booking more appointments for another weekend.
Too many guests can be overwhelming
It’s only natural to want your mum, bridesmaids or best friends at your bridal appointment for a second opinion but bear in mind that too many opinions can be confusing especially if they are all conflicting. Stick to two or three of your most diplomatic and supportive friends or family.
You may never have that teary, ‘It’s the one’ moment
I hate to break this to you, but not every bride has that ‘It’s the one!’ moment when they find their wedding dress and you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t. Don’t get hung up on that fairy tale wedding dress shopping experience you read about. The most important thing is that you find a dress you feel comfortable and beautiful in and that you are marrying the love of your life!
Wedding dresses on average need to be ordered at least 6 months in advance
If you are purchasing a designer wedding dress from a bridal boutique, do not underestimate how long it takes a wedding dress to arrive after an order has been placed. On average you want to order your wedding dress at least 6 months in advance, giving you plenty of time for it to arrive and then to have alterations.
The high street also do great wedding dresses
High street wedding dresses are a perfect option for brides who don’t have much time to find a dress, as you buy them off the peg and they are usually a lot more affordable than dresses from bridal boutiques. This is because they tend to use a lot less fabric and are less complex in design, making them a great option for brides wanting a more low key bridal gown style. So don’t forget to check out the high street for your wedding dress too!
(Left to right) Images courtesy of Phase Eight | Monsoon
Catering for voluptuous, curvy women, Eternity Bridal's Cara Mia Woman collection offers stunning plus size bridal wear. With gowns from size 14 to 28, they are specifically designed to flatter full figured…
Lucy Leaper is our inspiration and bridalwear specialist! She has a degree in fashion design and 12 years experience in the fashion industry, including 3 and a half years as the manager of a bridal boutique. Lucy loves to hear every little detail about a bride's wedding plans and it is no surprise that the first thing she wants to know is what they're wearing!