Wedding Gown Shopping Tips and Advice!

Happy Wednesday!

Following on from our fabulous feature Wedding Gown Trends for 2015, we have some tips and advice for shopping for your wedding perfect Wedding Gown! So let’s get down to the nitty gritty!! I am not about to tell you that this will be easy, that you will definitely love every moment of the experience, because I can not promise you that! My own experience was far from perfect, I had to deal with unfriendly sales people, rushed appointments, grubby dresses to try on and really unhelpful service before I found my dream gown and I really do not want you to go through any of that! I was expecting to be treated like a princess and be handed a glass of Champagne, after all I was intending on spending a month’s wage on a dress!! How many times do you hear of a bride that buys a dress or even orders a bespoke dress to be made and then finds something else that she absolutely must have ? Lets use our learnings from my mistakes and the experiences of those around us and make this experience a great one!

So here are some tips and good advice to make your Wedding Gown shopping experience fabulous, fun and pleasurable!

Set Your Budget

As with everything in regards to your wedding you need to set a budget. If you know you’re not going to spend £4,000 on your dress, don’t waste your time trying on gowns out of your price range. You’re much better off focusing on your realistic price point so you can spend more time collating the options you can actually buy. The average dress will cost between £800 and £1,800. Some of the more accessible brands, such as Maggie Sottero and Essense of Australia have enormous collections which often take their inspiration from the leading designers. If you’re looking for something at a more affordable price with stylish details, look no further. Other options are buying store samples, seek out wedding dress sale days. Keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in the cost of alterations, taxes and potentially shipping fees, plus your veil, shoes, lingerie and jewelry, which can add up to £250 or more altogether.

Get a Head Start

This is one of the things that surprises everyone. You really need at least six to eight months to get your gown and that’s if you’re a good decision maker. If you’re fussy or you just don’t really know what you want, start looking eight to 10 months before your wedding day. Give yourself plenty of time; if you put it off for too long, your selection of dresses could be limited or you might make a quick decision you may regret later. Once you’ve found your perfect wedding gown, give yourself at least eight weeks to have any alterations made. Custom gowns take six to eight months to tailor on average, and heavily-embellished ones can take up to a year.

Attire Guidelines

You may need to consider religious restrictions when shopping for your gown. If your ceremony is in a house of worship, find out whether there are any attire guidelines you’re required to follow, such as covering your shoulders.

Choose Your Ideal Style

Think about your venue, the country, the season and the time of day you’re getting married at to help narrow down your dress style. Rule out fabrics and silhouettes that won’t work (a heavy ball gown is probably not the best fit for a midday beach affair) and consider what styles will flatter your body shape. To help you search, use magazines, Pinterest, the Wedding Blog sites and stay on top of the new collection launches (usually March to April). Create some Pinterest Board of your favourite designs, make a tear sheet of your favourite dresses from the magazines and start to see what styles you love. Categorise them and take notes of the designers. If you love a particular designer, find out if they’re having a bridal design day or trunk show in your area, you’ll see a larger range of their collection and you might even get a discount. If their collection prices are hugely out of your price range then any good bridal store will be able to advise you of a designer with a similar style, so do not despair! Try to stick to three designers is you can and don’t confuse yourself with too many options! Don’t forget to refer back to our feature on Wedding Gown Trends for 2015 for style inspiration!

Where to Shop

The best way to find your perfect Wedding Dress Boutique is by recommendations, ask your friends and also search on Rock My Weddings-Love Lust List. If you want your something old to be your dress? Try  Vintage by Charlie Brear and Fur Coat No Knickers. You may need to travel to find the dress you want so do call ahead. Just because a store carries your favorite designer doesn’t mean they will have the exact dress you’re dying to try. If you phone and request a specific style, the store should be able to call in a sample of that gown especially for you. Many Boutiques do require you to book an appointment in advance to try on their gowns, so you will definitely want to call ahead. The last option would be to have a dress made bespoke. Make sure if you are getting something made that you are either familiar with the shape and style you are asking for or that you have tried the dress style on yourself. It’s all to easy to ask for a dress to be made that you are not so familiar with and find once it’s made that it’s not what you envisaged or is not a style that suits you. A word of warning about buying online, there are no guarantees that the fabric, stitch quality, fit or style will be what it is in the photo- be very sure before you go down this route. You could be wasting both time and money!

Take Advice From the Professionals

If you love the feel of the Boutique you’ve booked to try on your dresses and connect with the sales staff then do trust in them as professionals. The wedding boutique assists thousands of brides each year. Don’t eliminate anything at first glance. If the salesperson brings you something she says you should try, try it, even if you don’t initially love it or think it’s totally “you.” It is possible and more often than not that a bride will buy a wedding gown she didn’t think she’d ever like or want and in actual fact it ends up being ‘The One’! But equally don’t be bullied by anyone to buy a dress that you are really not sure about. It should feel and look perfect!

Make Time to Shop

Be aware that Saturday afternoons are the most popular times, you may not get the attention or assistance you have been dreaming about. Unless the store is by appointment only, try to target those slower times. Consultants are fresher earlier in the day and can give you more of their attention. A morning mid-week will be the perfect time. A calm store means a more personalized shopping experience. Don’t bring an entourage with you. It may be tempting to include all your friends in this experience, but any more than one or two means too many clashing opinions and this is a decision you need to make for yourself. You have to love the dress!

Buy a Dress That Fits You Now

Even if you’re planning on dropping 5 kilos before your wedding, your body type isn’t going to completely change. Besides, it’s a lot easier (not to mention less expensive) to take a gown in than to try and make a too-small dress work.

Read the Small Print

When you order your gown from a salon, it’s important to triple-check the contract. Read it carefully, so you don’t end up with the wrong size or color, and get the designer, style number, measurements, delivery date, the price of the gown and number of fittings, as well as the deposit amount, all in writing.

The Be Prepared Bit!

While most boutiques will have shoes on hand for you to try on with your gown, you should still come prepared with a nude bra and underwear for the fittings. Bring shoes with a similar height to what you plan on wearing at the wedding, so you can see how the dress falls with your heels. Take the opportunity to try on your other day-of accessories too (if you have them), like your veil, this will give you an idea of how your whole look will come together. Freshly done hair and make-up will also make you see more clearly how things will look on the day!

Trust Yourself!

If you feel amazing, look beautiful, can’t stop yourself from shedding a tear then you have no doubt found ‘the one’!!  If you have to be reassured that the dress looks great on you, it’s probably not “the one.” If you can’t see yourself walking down the aisle in it, move on. When you find the right dress, you’ll know, you won’t want to put on anything else!

Good luck in your search and if you have any questions then please do get in touch! We would be more than happy offer you advice! We hope you find your perfect wedding gown soon!

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Love Lucy x