It could be the most exciting part of your wedding planning, when it’s time to find the dress. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing and buying your wedding dress, from styles and stockists to where to look and when to order.
Choosing a wedding dress
It’s a rite of passage for every bride-to-be and there are no rules when it comes to what style or colour of bridal gown you choose to wear. Wearing white on your wedding day has only been fashionable since Queen Victoria chose to do so, before that brides just wore their Sunday best.
If you love vintage and are planning a vintage style wedding, then it follows that a vintage gown and accessories will be a perfect fit. You might choose a ballgown to accentuate your waist and disguise wide hips, an empire-line dress to skim over your tummy, or a funky mini-dress to show off your legs.
It’s more important to choose a dress that suits your own particular body shape rather than being a slave to fashion. Choosing the most flattering shade for your colouring will also ensure you look your absolute best.
Be true to your personal style. If you never wear dresses and feel more comfortable in jeans and trainers then you might want to consider wearing a two-piece or a trouser-suit with flat shoes or boots. It’s more important that you feel good on your wedding day than wearing white to keep your granny happy. If you want to wear black – wear black!
It will save you time if you look at dresses online before going to bridal boutiques to look through styles. Having a clear idea of the dresses you want to try on and finding out where you can do so is a great way to do it. Phone the stockists to arrange an appointment and make a day of it for you and your bridesmaids or your sister and your mum. Just don’t let your groom see the dress until the wedding as it’s considered bad luck to do so. You’ll want to see the look on his face when he sees you at last in all your finery!
Buying your wedding dress
It’s a wonderful day out going to try on wedding dresses and sometimes you can start off with one style in mind and realise that something very different looks and feels better.
Costs vary greatly when it comes to wedding dresses, depending on where and when you buy. Pre-loved (second hand) gowns and off-the-peg dresses from your high street can be found at lower prices than latest season designer dresses and couture gowns that are made to measure. There are now bridal ranges in most department stores and this year fashion retailer H &M has introduced a low cost wedding dress collection with prices starting at under £100. If you’re more of a ‘Second-Hand Rose’ then peruse your local charity shops as you never know what you might find. Be careful when buying online as you will need to get your measurements accurate, won’t be able to try before you buy and may find you have no comeback should there be any problems with your order.
If you know you want a designer gown but can’t afford the price tag it’s well worth visiting designer dress sample sales and wedding shows and fayres which often feature last season’s collections at lower prices.
As a general guide you should allow at least four months for designer dress orders and six months for a couture gown to be specially made. Allow six weeks for alterations as often dresses will need to be taken in so they fit like a glove.
For brides planning to travel abroad with a wedding dress, it’s a good idea to choose a gown that won’t crease too badly with travel. Arrange to carry it onto the plane in a cover and don’t worry if it creases a little as you can arrange to have it pressed when you land. For some fabrics simply hanging it in a steamy bathroom will help any slight creases to drop.
Whether you’re looking for a ballgown or a mini dress, in classic ivory or an unusual midnight blue, in duchess satin or antique lace, you’ll find it in Wedding Dresses and Fashion. Read my expert advice on How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress for your Body Shape for more inspiration.