10 Steps to Help You Find the Perfect Wedding Dress
Whether you have been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were five and know exactly what you want down to the last ruffle or you’ve never even thought about it – I’ve got you covered!
Finding a wedding dress – can be a stressful part of the process, after all you’ve probably never tried one on before!
Then there’s also all of this new language to completely decode – tulle, a line, organza, sheath, not mention deciding on whether you would like a veil, what petticoat or undergarments you’ll need. It’s easy to see why some brides can feel overwhelmed when it comes to thinking about their wedding dress.
No matter your style or budget these tips should help you when it comes to choosing your wedding dress.
1. Do your research
Explore Pinterest, look through wedding magazines, look on Instagram, check out celebrity weddings to start to get an idea of what kind of look you like.
Look for any recurring themes that start to come up, do they all have long trains? Perhaps they have illusion necklines, or you are leaning towards lace. This will help you start to have ideas of what you are drawn to by your first appointment.
Research local bridal shops since you’ll be wasting your time if you book appointments that don’t have any dresses you like or that are totally out of budget. Word of mouth referrals are great but checking out reviews online will give you a good idea of the shops that have amazing customer service and a solid reputation.
2. Be open to new ideas
Trust that your bridal consultant on the day knows what they are talking about. Whilst you may have a few ideas of what you would like to try on, be open to trying something you may not have considered.
Bridal consultants will often tell you that brides have fallen in love with a dress they wouldn’t have ever thought of trying on. Keep an open mind when trying on your dress – you may just fall in love with something you’d never considered before. When I was due to get married, having modelled wedding dresses in my youth on the cat walk I knew exactly what I wanted and I couldn't have picked a dress that was any more polar opposite
3. Ignore the sizing
Brace yourself for the confusing world of bridal sizing and learn to ignore it! Bridal designers will often work off their own sizing charts and it’s more common than you may think to have to size up. Just ignore it, it’s just a number and you don’t need to share it with anyone!
4. Shop Early
Most bridal shops will have a lead-time on their bridal gowns of between 4 and 9 months. This is the time it takes for your dress to arrive after you have chosen and ordered it. Once it arrives you’ll also want to factor in some time for alterations. Start looking for your dress in plenty of time.
5. Set a Budget
Have a clear idea of your budget before you go shopping and remember to add on a couple of hundred pounds in the reserve for any alterations.
Yes it can be a difficult subject to talk about numbers but before you go shopping it’s best to know who is paying for your dress and how much you have to spend. There is no point falling in love with a dress you can't afford.
If you are going to want to accessorise your gown with a veil remember to consider some budget for that too Keep a bit of money aside for cleaning your gown after the wedding.
6. Make appointments
In most bridal stores, you’ll need an appointment. They may have restrictions on the amount of people you can bring so it’s best to check. If you are planning on hitting a few shops on the same day it’s also an idea to find out how long your appointment is likely to be.
You will usually be paired with a consultant who will listen to what you like (and don’t like) and will make suggestions and will help you get in and out of the dresses. Time to remove any potential body shyness, they have seen a gazillion bodies and your's will just be another!
7. Being selective with who you bring
Of course you love your mum, mother in law, five bridesmaids, sister, sister in law, best friend and your two flower girls and the dog, BUT managing all of those opinions can become extremely overwhelming. Plus trying to organise a time and date where everyone will be available is likely to be a nightmare on its own.
Narrow your group down to the three or four people at the very max who mean the most to you and importantly whose opinion you trust the most and save the rest for when you’ve chosen your dress and are having a fitting.
8. Bring the right underwear
It is always a good idea to wear (or pack) a strapless bra and to wear nude underwear on the day. That way your bright red bra straps won’t distract you from the perfect dress. Think about smoothing underwear like Spanx, which will give you a nice silhouette under more fitted gowns.
9. Hit sample sales
There are usually discounts of up to 50% to be made in sample sales. This is where bridal shops sell of their old inventory usually at heavily discounted prices. Bear in mind that most stores will be getting rid of the gowns in sample sizes, which are usually around a size 12/14.
10. Relax and enjoy the moment
Enjoy your appointments! Revel in being the centre of attention and allow yourself to enjoy playing dress up. Once you’ve found the right dress and you know deep down it’s the right one then your hunt to find ‘the one’ has finished. Your dress is great – just relax and look forward to wearing it on your wedding day.
Try on each style of dress on your first shop and you will instinctively know what style you prefer
Don't be forced into the sales talk to buy there on the spot. If it is discounted that day, its likely there is room to negotiate later anyway. It's a big decision and one that must not be rushed for a discount.
If you are either a budget savvy bride OR you may want to consider a more sustainable wedding then look to hire a dress over buying one. You could rent a dress that you never be able to afford for £50 that retails at £3,000 AND you wont have the costly dry cleaning bill at the end. Here are some places to check out for hire.
If you would like to have a downloadable that I have created giving you a range of bridal shops throughout London that tells you their style and thier price range, then drop your comment below with a YES PLEASE