Shopping For The Perfect Dress…

Dress Shopping

Shopping for any dress can be quite the task but when it comes to shopping for the most memorable dress you’ll probably ever wear it’s a whole new ball game girls! Having worked with hundreds of brides over the years and booked many (many) appointments, it’s safe to say I’m well aware of how exciting it can be for any blushing bride out browsing for her gorgeous gown. Yet in the midst of all the eager emotions it’s deceptively easy for things to get a little overwhelming. To keep things cool, calm and collected here’s a few of my tips when preparing to shop for that show stopping frock…

The budget
Okay ladies, it’s not all fun and games so let’s get the boring bit out of the way first – budget! It’s absolutely ESSENTIAL you do the maths before running riot in your local boutique. Wedding dresses can range from a few hundred pounds right up to thousands, and falling in love with a fancy frock before you’ve ascertained what your purse strings can stretch to is undoubtedly playing with fire. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than nursing a broken hearted bride on a budget! If your funds are limited let the consultant know in advance so she’s not under the assumption you have an open cheque book, otherwise it wastes both your time & hers… especially if you’re playing dress up in gowns you can’t afford to commit to rather than trying on the ones you can!

Get In Touch 
Believe it or not but here in the UK January-March is one of the busiest times for bridal boutiques so it’s only natural that diaries fill up fast. If you’re eager to secure a Saturday or late night appointment it’s vital you get in touch ASAP to avoid disappointment. However before you make plans on where to book always do your research by contacting the shop first to ask if they carry your size, confirm if they have any specific dress styles you’re on the hunt for and also what their price range is… there’s no point in making the effort to visit somewhere that doesn’t cater for your shopping needs!
Don’t solely rely on what their website states either as it may not have been updated in quite a while. I know a few retailers who aren’t sensational at keeping their websites or on-line presence updated, which only leads to disappointed and agitated customers.
When I was shopping for my dress (quite a few years ago *gasp*) I found a good way to test the customer service of a shop was by emailing a query. If they got back to me pronto and professionally I felt pretty confident the customer care was going to be positive, however if I received a late response without justification, or worse still none at all, it made me think long and hard about whether I wanted to spend a significant amount of money with a store that doesn’t seem to be making much effort with me.

Battling Body Confidence
If you’re quivering at the mere idea of trying on all those gorgeous gowns in front of a shop full of strangers, it’s probably best you opt for some of the smaller boutiques and/or those that offer one-on-one appointments instead of multiple bookings. That way you can bring along your nearest and dearest without the worry of having to feel too uncomfortable in a shop full of unfamiliar faces and other browsing brides. I’ve found many of the girls I’ve worked with in the past actually much prefer solitary appointments so they have time to look & try in complete privacy before choosing ‘the one’.
Quite a common yet personal issue that many brides face is often feeling conscious about stepping in and out of the gowns in front of the consultants. Just keep in mind they’re professionals that have worked with a small army of women who own an eclectic range of boobs, bums and tums! However, if you’d still prefer to step in and out of the dresses without assistance don’t be afraid to say so. Some brides are terrified at touching the gowns let alone putting them on single-handedly, whereas others are much more confident when left to their own devices and simply only want help to zip or lace them up.

A good way to help boost body confidence is by donning support wear that offers more coverage than just your undies… even something simple as a pair of tights can make you feel less exposed during those quick gown change overs!

Taking Shape
Even if you’ve spent hours flicking through your favourite glossy magazines and top wedding websites it’s safe to say that many girls who fall in love with a dress on paper may find it surprisingly disappointing when they eventually try the shop sample on. However those gorgeous images you’re swooning over are indeed air-brushed, digitally perfected and the models chosen because of their seemingly appealing height & body shape – yes even the curvy girls!
However in the real world we come in a wonderful range of shapes and sizes. As beautiful as your favourite dress may look in the advertisement you need to be realistic that the sample may not look quite as amazing on you… a harsh pill to swallow but unfortunately it happens to us all *sigh*
Instead lean on the experience of your consultant – with any luck she will have worked with enough brides to advise on what materials, tones, shapes and silhouettes are going to compliment you best. Remember it’s her job to make you feel and look amazing!

No Pressure 
This is your day, and like every other bride out there you’ll want it to be uniquely perfect. Never conform or agree to buying a gown you’re not 100% sure about, regardless of how much others try to convince you otherwise. A good bridal consultant will never make you feel cornered, pressured or uncomfortable – instead they’ll give you time to mull your decision over and respect that you may want to explore other options elsewhere.
The same applies when it comes to choosing who accompanies you on your dress shopping trip. Whatever you do don’t bring a whole bus load of onlookers as it will only add mass confusion to your shopping experience, particularly if you’re easily dented by others opinions!

I’ve witnessed quite a few brides fall in love with a gown only to be shattered when one of their many on-lookers blurts out ‘yeah, it’s amazing – but just not what I would personally pick.’ Arrrrghh! This often made my blood boil… it’s such a rude and pointless remark that unnecessarily scars judgement and could be very hurtful for a bride in love with the dress she’s standing in.
Those few simple words can break hearts and cause mass confusion, so if you’re bringing along additional friends or family for support keep it to a maximum of 2 people who have similar tastes, are open minded and fully understand what you want… not a self obsessed bridesmaid that only has eyes for herself or half a dozen huffy aunts that have very distinct tastes and no room for yours! Having positive leading ladies around you will make for a much more relaxed & productive experience for everyone involved.

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Have you made your trip down the aisle yet? If so how was your shopping experience… did you love or loathe it? Have you any tips of your own to share? Or, if you’re yet to make the trip down the aisle are you looking forward to shopping for your perfect gown?

As always I’d love to read your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, whatever your relationship status!

Cheerio Chums…

Karen signature

45 thoughts on “Shopping For The Perfect Dress…

  1. Great tips Karen. I went dress shopping for my bestie last year and it was the most fun experience ever!
    Just curious (and I hope you don’t mind me asking): what did you wear down the aisle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Anne for your lovely comment as always!! I love dress shopping too – I guess having been a bridal retailer I’ve gotten so used to all the fun lol
      I actually wore a simple white a-line gown with beaded bodice (I desperately wanted Ivory but it was awful against my skin tone oddly enough) with a sheer chiffon bolero to cover the tops of my arms (a place I’m super conscious about) and a satin trimmed veil to match my dress. I must gather some of my wedding photo’s and pop them on a post for fun sometime so you can see them for yourself!! 😀 X

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a lovely post!
    I have not reached that infamous experience yet, but I was bridesmaid last year – and I loved that time! I was so giddy going dress shopping, looking for make-up to suit the Bride [as I did her make-up], it was wonderful!
    Natalie Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Natalie – such a super kind comment!! I often find that bridesmaids actually enjoy the shopping experience more than the bride at times because they get to savour it all without the same levels of nerves and anxiousness lol It is such a fab experience and glad to hear you had so much fun!!! Oh wow – are you a trained make-up artist or something you’re just blooming marvellous at? 🙂 X

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah absolutely!! I won’t be that calm when I shop for my dress [one day!]
        Sadly I’m not a make-up artist, I just love doing it! I had an interview at Benefiy Cosmetics a couple of years back and was offered a job! But it was only part-time, so I couldn’t accept it 😦
        Natalie Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Awh, don’t worry you’ll not be the only girl that finds shopping for a bridal dress a bit of a stress 🙂
        That’s fabulous that you are doing it for fun, well done you! Such a shame about the Benefit job, would have been a great opportunity if it was full time! Obviously there’s something even better lined up for you in the future huni 😀 Xo

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    • Awwwh, that is such an encouraging message that has made me smile from ear to ear Carys!!! So utterly chuffed at your kind comment and glad you enjoyed the body confidence section – as a plus size girl I know only too well how nerve wrecking it can be, having said that girls of all shapes and sizes can be equally as self-conscious!! Thank you for commenting lovely 🙂 X

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  3. These are some great tips Karen! Thanks for sharing! I think the only 2 people I would bring with me dress shopping is my Mom who is like a best friend to me as well and my actual best friend. They’re both so encouraging and really know me and what I like. My boyfriend and I will have been together for 3 years this coming January. So I am hoping him and I will tie the knot in a couple of years at least! lol. 🙂 xo

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    • They sound the perfect candidates Katie – you are sooo utterly blessed to have the perfect crew 😀 When I got married I lived in Scotland and with all my family back in Ireland I had to do it alone 😦 Although thankfully I had a great friend who was a wedding planner (funnily enough) so her help was amazing! It makes such a massive difference having a great support system who aren’t blinded by their own preferences 🙂 Oooh, you never know when wedding bells will be chiming for you huni – sounds like it’s not all that far away hehe Thanks as always for your lovely comment Xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re always welcome Karen 🙂 Yeah it does make a huge difference in having a support system for any situation really. I live in Las Vegas right now and have no family or friends here. Luckily we’re moving back to Michigan in less than a year and I will get to be close with family and friends again. I’d be so lonely without my blogging friends though! lol. 🙂 The connections I have made here mean so much to me! ❤ xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Awh Katie I remember you mentioning that & really do feel for you as I’ve been in a very similar situation huni! It’s not nice being away from close friends and family, but thankfully going home is something you can look forward too 🙂 Blogging buddies are a great source of support – I’m certainly glad I’ve found such an amazing community, it’s people like you that really do make it an extra special experience Xo

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved this post and such great tips. I got married over 4 years ago and I couldn’t agree more with all your suggestions. My mom and bestie accompanied me dress shopping and we had a blast!

    Liked by 1 person

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