Do’s & Don’ts Of Wedding Dress Shopping
You’ve got the ring on your finger, now you’re ready to go dress shopping. Piece of cake, right? Here’s what to know before you go.
If you’re like many brides, you’ve been envisioning what you’d wear to your wedding since before you bought your first bra. Then again, maybe you’ve never thought about it at all.
Either way, a lot of pressure can accompany dress shopping. After all, the gown you put on for your walk down the aisle will be the real centerpiece of the day. This one article of clothing is probably going to be the most expensive and talked about thing you’ll ever wear.
To assist you on the quest for your dream wedding dress, we’ve got answers to your most pressing questions. When should you start? Where should you go? And what can you expect once you get there? For the lowdown, read on!
Let Your Stylist Select The Dresses
When you first walk into a store full of beautiful gowns, its tempting to want to start pulling them off the racks to try them on. Resist the temptation! Bridal stores are full of dresses, and stylists need to keep them organized. Instead, trust your stylist to find the dress that matches your tastes, and dont start browsing yourself unless invited.
Have A List Of Questions Ready For Your Stylist
Bring along a list of questions only your bridal stylist can answer, including how long it takes to make the gown you love, whether or not they alter dresses in-house or suggest expert tailors, whether they ship the gown to you or if you pick up in shop, the best way to travel with your gown and if steaming the dress day-of is the best strategy.
When youve chosen your dress, have your stylist show you and your ladies exactly how to bustle the dress . Make sure someone in your bride tribe totally understands so you can delegate the task on the day of your wedding.
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Can I Just Pop In And Browse Anytime
At each appointment, we offer an in-depth personal styling and advice service, as well as helping brides to dress into the gowns. Therefore, by-appointment is paramount to ensure that all our brides are given full undivided attention.
If you would like to browse before booking a full appointment, simply send us an email or give us a call, we can discuss your needs with you and arrange a suitable time.
Use Social Media To Find & Save Gowns
and are brilliant for discovering the endless gowns on the market these days. Follow your favorite blogs, designers and bridal salons to discover new collections, see your favorite gowns on real brides, find out about surprise sample sales and hear about nearby trunk shows. Save your faves on your wedding dress boards, and Instagram archives to bring with you to your appointments.
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Bring Your Camera Wedding Dress Shopping
Embrace your inner Cher Horowitz and photograph your dress possibilities instead of putting all your trust in the mirror. “Mirrors are used to sell dressesâcameras don’t lie,” says Richard O’Malley, owner of the O’Malley Project, a company that offers consulting services for event planners.
“Because you’ll be looking at the photos of this dress for years to come, know how it photographs from all angles. One potential hiccup: Some boutiques don’t allow dress photography. Call ahead to see if you can take a few snaps for decision-making purposes only.
Who Are You Taking With You
Rebecca Baddeley, owner of award-winning bridal shop TDR Bridal Birmingham, explains why its so important to think carefully about who comes with you: Ask yourself, do you trust them to be honest with you but kind and sensitive too, towards your feelings?
Its lovely to have advice from family or friends but if you have the slightest doubt that the people you choose to share this occasion with, will not listen to YOU and what YOU want or wont take your feelings into consideration when being brutally honest then they are not the people you should choose to share your buying experience with.
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Dont Be Afraid To Say Yes To The First Dress You Love
Bridal stylists are super smart, and if they can tell you have a serious favorite during your salon walkthrough, theyll likely put it on you first. Our experts say often brides think they are being too quick to decide, but then they come back to buy the first gown they loved anyway.
When I went shopping I had been waiting months to try on one particular dress from my favorite designer. My stylist put it on me first, and I immediately knew it was the one. We kept our other appointments but the whole time I was ready to go back and buy the first dress
What Do I Do With My Dress When It Arrives
14 days after receiving notification you will be required to pay the balance owing and do an inspection. If you are not doing alterations through our store you will be required to take it home with you at this time. However if you decide to use our in-house professional alteration service we will be more than happy to safely store your dress for you.
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Will I Need Alterations
Hard yes every bride needs nips and tucks! When ordering, your personal stylist, will guide you through choosing a size thats closest to you setting you up for the best starting point possible for alterations.
Remember that a stress free timeline for alterations is 2-3 months. If you are working on a short timeline, your stylist can refer you to third-party tailors that can accommodate you!
What Other Choice Do We Have
Peta recognises that the system is anything but perfect. “We have to remember that bridal boutique owners are trying to run businesses and most want to offer the best possible service they can”, she says. “Maybe there needs to be a different type of appointment structure set up going forward.
“Instead of charging for the first appointment perhaps boutiques could have a browsing time where brides can see the dresses, have a chat and ear mark the ones they would be interested in trying on later. Then, at the proper appointment they could try on their selection.”
However the industry decides to move things forward, I do think change is needed before brides turn their attentions to the cheaper and more relaxed realm of the high street.
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Bride Furious As Sister
A bride-to-be has been branded a ‘bridezilla’ after kicking off about her soon-to-be teen sister-in-law buying her Sweet 16 birthday gown at her wedding dress appointment
Going to pick a wedding dress is often one of the most special days of a bride’s life and arguably an event in itself.
Many brides bring along their mums, grandmothers, bridesmaids and often their future in-laws along to enjoy the experience as they say yes to the dress.
But, while choosing a wedding dress is indisputably a day which should be all about the bride, one woman has been left feeling disappointed after her future sister-in-law decided to take the opportunity to buy a gown for herself.
“I invited my soon-to-be mother-in-law wedding dress shopping as an olive branch because we don’t have the best relationship,” the bride-to-be explained on Reddit. The mother-in-law asked if she could bring her 15-year-old stepdaughter Emily along and she agreed.
The bride explained, however, that the teen’s parents are currently going through a divorce, which has meant that both sets of parents have found themselves buying Emily lavish gifts in a bid to keep her affection during the ongoing legal proceedings.
An example of this is that the teen will soon be having an over-the-top formal Sweet 16 party, as well as going to Disney and having celebrations with just her mum.
What Hairstyle And Makeup Will You Have
If you hate having your hair up, and you know you want long, loose waves on your wedding day, consider that when dress shopping – you dont want an overly embellished neckline your hair will tangle in. If you want a chic wedding updo, look at dresses with lots of detail to show off!
If you know you want vintage-inspired wedding makeup, with a bold red lip and sleek winged eyeliner, look at dresses inspired by the same era so your dress wont look at odds with your makeup.
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You Might Fall In Love With The First One You Try
As Rebecca says, most brides find their wedding dress in the first shop they visit! Theres something magical about the first wedding dress you try on – its what transforms you into a bride!
So many brides are amazed when they see their dress at the first shop they visit, but why?, asks Rebecca. For instance, if you are going to Jimmy Choo London to buy a pair of shoes, why would you be surprised to find them at Jimmy Choo?
Dont question it too much if you fall in love with one straight away – you went out to find a wedding dress that you love, and you found it!
Why Do Bridal Boutiques Charge For Appointments
Let’s talk money. I know – we’re British, it’s a sensitive subject. I also know that brides-to-be quite often wonder why some bridal boutiques charge for appointments.
Like other bridal boutiques, here at Rock The Frock, we started charging for appointments back in 2015, after having always offered them free before. Why? Simply because bridal boutiques do not operate like other shops. It’s not the same as breezing in and out of any other high street shop. During your appointment, you have a personal stylist with you at all times. You are guaranteed one-to-one attention, the exclusive use of an area of the boutique and refreshments for you & your party.
Now, imagine it’s a busy Saturday, with several brides booked in. Our sales assistants all excitedly turn up to work to help our customers and what happens? No shows.
Sadly, as much as we’d like to believe that people would phone ahead to cancel an appointment or let us know they no longer need it, many don’t. I’ve lost count of the number of times I would drive to work, sit around for half an hour waiting for a bride, just for them not to turn up.
Charging for appointments wasn’t a route we wanted to go down but does mean we can ensure our times is paid for. We don’t feel that it’s an unreasonable request – that for 60 or 90 minutes of undivided attention, assistance and advice brides pay a deposit. The £10 or £20 paid is then redeemable against any dress purchased, meaning the appointment fee is taken off the total cost.
Always Make An Appointment
Its one thing to step into a bridal boutique just to take a look a quick look around in order to decide whether you want to come back later. But showing up and expecting to try on dresses without an appointment is a major lapse in etiquette. Trying on wedding dresses requires the full attention of a bridal stylist, and if theyre all busy helping other brides, they wont be able to give you the attention you need.
If its a slow period , they may still be willing to slip you in, if they arent already booked. But theres no guarantee theyll have a space, and in any case, setting an appointment is far more considerate.
What Can I Expect During My Bridal Styling Appointment
A whole lot of fun! Bridal shopping should be transparent, stress-free, and uncomplicatedso dont stress it! Your personal stylist is here for you. We will get to know you and the styles you think you may love then help you select from our showroom. We believe just like shopping for everyday clothing, YOU should have the option to pick out what speaks to you, we are here to help you if you get stuck! Every O& O stylist had years of extensive knowledge so we will help guide you to your perfect bridal look that embraces YOUR One & Only style, all while having tons of fun. Our brides become our friends so we will celebrate with you all the way through your wedding day and beyond!
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Will I Be Charged For An Appointment
Appointments are free between Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. For evenings and weekends, a fee of £30 will be charged and redeemable on your purchase. We operate a 72-hour cancellation policy to ensure we can offer the appointment to our waiting list. There is a charge of £30 for failure to cancel on time.
How Far In Advance Should I Purchase All Of The Items For My Wedding
For a stress-free timeline, plan on ordering your dress 9 to 12 months prior to your wedding date. Dresses are made to order, and can take up to 5 to 7 months to produce, plus 2 to 3 months for tailoring.
There are rush options for weddings under 6 months, but rush fees do apply and vary based on designer and timeline. Your personal stylist can better guide you through pricing per designer during your appointment.
Here is our recommended timeline:
- Bridal Gown 9-12 months in advance of your wedding
- Bridesmaids 5 months in advance of the wedding
- Accessories 2-3 months in advance of you wedding
- Veil 2-3 months in advance of the wedding
Better yet, purchase them all the day of your bridal appointment so you can see the completed look all together.
Call Ahead If You Want A Specific Dress
Similar to Rebeccas point above, lots of wedding dress brands bring out a huge number of different dresses every year, so just because youre visiting a stockist of one, it doesnt mean theyll carry all their designs. If youre fixated on a particular one, make sure the shop your visiting stocks that actual design, or can at least call it in.
Welcome To The Bride Files
Earlier this week I wrote about how some bridal shops are now charging for appointments. You have to pay 30 to attend an appointment, but that fee can be offset against a dress you buy from that shop.
It was met with a mixed reaction brides are annoyed by the change and shop owners are welcoming it.
I reached out to one shop owner in Limerick, from Áibhéil of Adare. She only just introduced the charge at the beginning of the year. I wanted to get both sides of the story and understand from her side.
This is her response:
What do you get for your 30 Saturday fee?
- 1 hour and 15-minute appointment with a one-to-one personal assistant.
- Choosing from a wide selection of gowns from high-quality designers.
- The gowns are well presented and pristine.
- They also have a large selection of sample gowns available to buy off the rail for last minute brides, also in excellent condition.
- Their website is always up to date, so can be viewed prior to deciding on making an appointment with them.
If you have any other advice or if you have a product/company you want to feature on The Bride Files you can get in touch with me through email, [email protected], or on Twitter .
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