We’ve made finding your dream gown that little bit easier with our handy wedding dress shopping guide, full of dos and don’ts…
Congrats! You’re newly-engaged and probably the most excited you’ve been in your entire life as you begin to plan your wedding. As exciting as it is daunting, with so many things to think about, there are some things you will be keen to get 100% right, and that most likely includes ‘the’ dress. Dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of the wedding planning process, guaranteed to create memories to last a lifetime with your nearest and dearest. This issue we discuss how to get the best possible shopping experience…
Do your research
No doubt you’re a big ball of excitement right now and may want to get carried away booking every bridal boutique within 100 miles for an appointment, diving straight into shopping, but that doesn’t necessarily make for a great experience. You’re far better off taking the time to research your local boutiques, seeing who they stock and then checking out the designer’s website to see the latest collections before you book an appointment. We recommend booking no more than five bridal boutiques to visit.
You’ve just booked the venue and the big day is set for nearly 18 months away… Loads of time, right? Wrong! By the time you’ve booked your appointments, gone to each one and tried on all the dresses, and maybe even gone back for a second appointment to buy, the time really does eat away. With some designers taking up to 6 months to deliver your dress, and then taking into consideration fittings and alterations afterwards, the shopping experience could be a full year from start to finish.
Shop with a trusted retailer
It’s really important to choose the right places to shop. We recommend only shopping in bricks and mortar bridal boutiques, especially those who are RBA accredited so you know that they can be trusted. Unfortunately, believing that they could get their dream dress at a bargain price, some brides have made the decision to buy online, which nearly always ends in heartache. There are hundreds of scammers online that promote different designer dresses on their website (with stolen images from the actual designer’s website) claiming that they have them in stock for a fifth of the price. Usually these dresses never arrive, or if they do, they are super-cheap fakes made with awful materials and that barely resemble the dress you’ve set your heart on. The worst thing is that these scammers close and set up websites regularly to prevent being caught, so the chances of getting a refund or any justice are very slim. You then have to go to a trusted retailer to buy your dream dress and end up spending more than you would’ve if you’d gone to them direct in the first place, so please don’t fall for this scam! If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is…
You’ll have heard stories of finding ‘the one’ and your family and bridesmaids burst into tears as you walk out of the boutique’s dressing room in your dream dress. Everyone will say ‘that’s it, you look so beautiful’ and you’ll know you’ve found ‘the one’. Well, this might well happen, and we hope it does, but in truth, there’s usually a lot of back and forth with dress shopping, as opposed to that ‘eureka’ moment. You may be stuck between two or three designs and struggle to decide. Your family may be torn between which one they prefer (or dislike the one you love the most!). Ultimately, it’s about following your gut, and also whichever gown makes you feel comfortable and the best version of yourself. If you manage to tick those boxes then that’s all you need to know!
Take people you trust
You’ll want honest but respectful people with you as you try on the dresses. If something really looks awful, you’ll want to know. However, if you feel drawn to one dress in particular, comments from Aunt Jessie telling you it’s just not what she thought you’d choose isn’t really going to help. You need people who can help you reach your decision, and not try to sway you to choose the dress they want for you.
Keep an open mind
If you speak to any bride, the chances are she’ll tell you that she ended up buying a dress that was the complete opposite of what she thought she would choose. So, although you have your heart set on a slinky lace dress with long sleeves, don’t restrict yourself by only trying on gowns that fit that mould, because you could be missing out on a dress that is absolutely perfect for you when you try it on. Listen to the boutique’s team, they will often pick something out for you that you turn your nose up at, until you try it on…
Wear the right underwear
You’re wearing a stunning strapless dress and look amazing, apart from the big black bra straps! To envision yourself on the day, you need to wear underwear that won’t distract from any dress. So, stick to a nude strapless bra and matching knickers.
Have a budget
There’s really no point in going into the shopping experience without a budget because you might just fall head over heels for a dress that you simply can’t afford. Heartache that no bride needs! Go in and tell the shop about your budget beforehand and they can steer you in the direction of all the collections that will match your budget.
Think about your venue and the time of year you’re getting married when browsing dresses. There’s no point in looking at big layered gowns with sleeves if you’re getting married in high summer. Or slinky lightweight gowns for your winter wedding. If you’re getting married in a grand hall then perhaps a princess skirt is fitting, and your outdoor party would be more suited to a boho slim-fit design?
Go with your gut
Ultimately it’s only you that is going to wear this dress on one of the most important days of your life. You’ll want to feel comfortable and like the best version of you all day. Confident and beautiful! If your gut is telling you something isn’t quite right, then listen to it. Likewise, if your heart skips a beat every time you look at the very first dress you tried on, then that’s the one you should go for. Listen to the advice of others, but at the end of the day it has to be your choice. Enjoy every moment; you will only get this experience once!
See all the latest bridal fashion features and collections here!