In the past, the dress a bride wore on her wedding day was simply her best dress. Then, in the 1800s, Queen Victoria popularised the white lace wedding dress that…
Written by Lucy Leaper Last updated: February 13, 2016
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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’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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!