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…
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!