So you’re engaged, congratulations! You’ve been thrust into a world of colour schemes, guest lists, canapes and favours, all of which are overwhelming. But none quite so much as wedding dresses. You’re faced with questions of what kind of bride you want to be, what style you want to emulate, what will suit your venue… and you just don’t know where to start. So grab a cuppa and take a few minutes to read through our top tips for an enjoyable, stress free wedding dress shopping experience (yes it does exist!).
This one for us is key. Who you bring with you (or don’t!) will have such an impact on your wedding dress shopping experience. These guests need to be those that bring out the best in you; that make you feel incredible, that are honest (but not brutal), have empathy, and awareness. When thinking about your bride tribe, think respect. Do they respect you enough to hold fire on their strong opinions when they can see you falling in love with a dress? Do they respect your body not to say things like ‘I think your bum looked better in the other one’, when they can see your eyes have lit up in a way they hadn’t with any other dresses? And is the respect mutual? Do you genuinely respect their opinions? You want to have a great atmosphere during your appointment, so think about who is going to bring that energy for you! Let’s also not forget that you can come by yourself. This is becoming more popular now as bride’s feel empowered to make their own decisions and find their dress by themselves without the noise of everyone else’s thoughts and feelings. Recently a bride told me their sister bought their second favourite dress because everyone else loved the other one and they felt pressured into it. So also consider your own personality too, are you likely to be put under pressure and make the wrong decision for you? If so, coming by yourself with a clear mind in a tranquil environment might suit you much better.
Choosing boutiques to visit is hard, so make sure you do your research! We recommend starting your wedding dress search around 12-18 months before the big day, including the research stage. Search online for designers, styles and trends and see what, or who, you are drawn to. Then search for local boutiques and see if they have the kind of dresses or designers that you’ve been looking at. Follow them on social media, go through their website thoroughly, and see if you get a good vibe that suits you. There are many boutiques out there, but some are more suited to a certain bride, it needs to be right for you. So make sure you are loving the dresses, wedding dress designers, veils, accessories and even owners (they’re often visible on Instagram!) and then book yourself in.
3. Don’t Over Do It!
It can be tempting to cram 4 wedding dress appointments into a Saturday, as this will kill four birds with one stone and you won’t have to ask your friends or family to take up another Saturday… but you might want to reconsider. Wedding dress shopping is exhausting! You are standing up almost constantly all day, you’re in and out of the dresses, and you’re chatting to everyone throughout. It’s a lot! Most of the time the family and friends say they’re tired after it all, and they’ve just been sitting and observing whilst sipping champagne, so imagine how the bride feels! Stick to one or two appointments initially, this will allow you to enjoy the process a bit more, you won’t feel overwhelmed and by the end of the day the chances are you’ll actually be able to remember some of the dresses you’ve tried on, rather than them all being a blur! You can always split the appointments across two weekends and ask different people to come with you to different appointments if you’re worried about taking up too much time (that’s if you’re bringing guests after point 2!).
4. Be Open Minded
Have you ever heard someone say ‘Oh I went in thinking I wanted one style of dress and came out with something completely different’? We hear this a lot from family and friends who visit with our brides, and yes this can sometimes be true. We would always recommend, particularly if it is a bride’s first appointment, to come in with an open mind. To try different styles, shapes, even colours, and see what it is that they are feeling their very best in, and what they can imagine themselves getting married in. This is sometimes something completely different to what they initially thought, and this is just another part of your wedding story. It means you’ll catch everyone by surprise, and take their breath away! That said, sometimes brides just know what they like, what they feel confident in, and what they want to look like on their wedding day, and whilst they try different shapes and styles on, they come back to their original preferences, which is also ok! This is your day, your dress, your wedding story so just stick to what you feel amazing in.
5. Be Prepared to Find The One
Sometimes brides can put certain expectations on their wedding dress shopping…. They think they can’t possibly find their dress at their first appointment, that they should shop around, that it should take them trying on 100 dresses first, and that it can’t be that easy… but it absolutely can! What I often ask my brides to think about is what their wedding dress shopping goal is, and I think we would all agree that the most important thing is to find a dress that you feel incredible in. A dress that you don’t want to take off, a dress that makes you even more excited to get married, a dress that you love the way you look in, that makes you smile just at the thought of it. So if you find a wedding dress that does all of this for you, then you can say yes to this dress knowing that you are going to look and feel beautiful. It’s all about the feels!
We hope our top tips help you navigate your wedding dress journey and give you the confidence to make the right decisions for you throughout the process. Remember there is no right or wrong, just do what makes for a stress-free experience – you’ll thank yourself afterwards!
Ultimately, wedding dress shopping is a personal and individual experience, so everyone’s journey will look different, and at Your Story we know and appreciate this more than anything. We embrace that you are all unique and want different things from your wedding dress shopping, and we tailor your experience to reflect that. We make your appointments very personal, and add little touches along the way to make the memories of your wedding dress journey even more special.