Wedding season has started! Or rather, engagement season has started…which means gown shopping! Be it a big white Cinderella dress or a demure saree, the excitement is still the same!
Follow some of our shopping tips to make sure you not only get your dream dress, but to make sure you have as much fun as possible! It only happens once!!
1. A Wisely Chosen Entourage
‘I’ll come dress shopping with you!’ Will be something you hear a LOT during your time as an engaged lady and you’ll probably say yes to all of these requests. However choose wisely because as nice as it is to hear the ‘oohs’, ‘aahs’ and ‘oh my god you look fabulous!!’, it might better to hear a real opinion. You want to take the people who will be brutally honest with you. Your mum, your sister your bridesmaids…these are the people you want to take.
2. Give Yourself Enough Time
When to start dress shopping is crucial as you don’t want to start too early whereby seasons change and you like something new, but early enough to give yourself time. 8-10 months before your wedding should encompass both of these.
With a bespoke designer you have a little more flexibility. If you are getting your dress designed ask your designer how much time they need and factor this in.
3. Know Your Seasons
Know when the retail industry will go on sale. Do your research and you could save yourself a lot of money. The high street goes into markdown almost every 5-6 weeks, so take this into consideration. You don’t want to buy your dream dress only for it to go on sale the week after.
4. Remember New Collections
Not impressed by what’s out there? Don’t panic. As above, if you know your seasons, you know when the new collections come in, so it is ok, to go back to a store more than once to see if they have anything new. (Checking when this will be with the managers wouldn’t harm)
There are SO many exhibitions, sample sales, shows, warehouse sales etc, that you could potentially find yourself busy every weekend. However you could potentially knock hundreds if not thousands off your dress. If you can handle the crowds, this could potentially be for you.
6. Weekday Appointments
Saturdays are the single most busy day in any bridal boutique. If you want in quickly, go for a weekday appointment. You’re likely to get better service and more focussed staff.
7. Be Inspired
If you are like me, you know exactly what you want and have done since you were 5. If you aren’t part of this craziness then start getting inspired. Get magazines, look at catwalks, get on Pinterest! Get a feel for what’s out there.
8. Be Open to Change
Like me you may know exactly what you want and have done since you were 5…but what if it doesn’t suit you. Be open to let your ideas go if they don’t work for you. Go in with an open mind and come out with a dress!
9. Take a Quick Terminology Lesson
Do you know your A-lines from your trumpets? If so well done! But seriously pattern talk is another language..brush up to make your life easier. (I’ll be writing a post on terminology next to help!)
10. Search Your Wardrobe
Take out your best dresses, your best and skirts..they’re your favourites for a reason. Try and decipher similarities in shape/ fabric/ colour to know what you like. You’re already one step ahead in this than you think.
11. Bring Your Knickers
If you’re planning on wearing a specific type of underwear, Spanx or otherwise, bring it with you to make sure you get the full picture.
12. Full Primp
Do your hair fully and face lightly, to the best of your ability for this. It will help you gain a better idea of what you will look like. You don’t want to realise you hate the straps of your dress on your wedding morning when your stylist puts your hair up!
13. Own Your Experience
There will be a lot of ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that’ and whilst some of it may be helpful you want to create your own experience with your own ideas. Hold your ground and remember its alllll about you!
14. Take a Seat
I say this in every fit session to every client…sit down in your outfit. It may be the perfect waist cinching corset dress whilst you stand up…but when you sit down it crushes your lungs, all the seams are coming undone and you can’t breathe. Probably not what you were going for..
15. Buy Now, Alter Later
If it fits you now..buy it! Every bride has weight loss plans and most brides lose weight without even trying, but as every boutique, designer, seamstress will tell you, it is easier to take a dress in than to take it out.
16. Size Does Not Matter
Bridal attire is always smaller than your average clothing. So don’t be offended if they hand you a size or two bigger than you are…and who cares about the size?! If it looks good then why worry! (and you could always cut the label out..)
17. Chatter, Chatter, Chatter
What you want and what your mouth thinks you want, may be two completely different things. You may say you want something simple and elegant..but actually you want a tulle filled giant princess ballgown. The best way for a designer to be able to give you dresses you’ll like is for them to get to know you, so go ahead…gossip to your heart’s content!
18. Take Some Music
Dancing is just as important as sitting down, take your best songs and dance to them in your dress. (It helps if your entourage do it with you..maybe even a few moves from a slow dance to check you won’t trip on your trails)
19. Take Photos
Pretty self explanatory here…take lots of photos. You probably won’t get to take the dress home with you because of alterations, cleaning etc..so you’ll need to lots of photos to continue the rest of your shopping. (And to remind you just how beautiful it is!)
20. You May Not Cry
Your dress is not unlike your future husband…did you burst into the tears the minute you saw him because you knew he was the one? Probably not. In the same way you probably won’t burst into tears because you’ve found the dress and it may take you a few tries but you will know it is the one for you. (But if you’re anything like me you’ll probably be crying before even entering the boutique…potentially even tearing up thinking about dresses.)
21. Try Everything On
Ask your consultant or designer to give you a few props; heels, veil, tiara etc. It may just seal the deal for you.
Be very clear and up front about your budget. It will help your designer make sure you are getting the very best of what you want and ensure your dress has all of the main design aspects you need. It also helps you not get too carried away.
23. Take Snacks
These appointments can and will take some time. Take stomach reinforcements…you do not want to be making these kind of decisions on an empty stomach..(remember what happens when you go to the supermarket hungry…)
24. Return Policy
If you reeeeealllly can’t make the decision but you cannot part with the dress, find out the return policy, spend some time with your potential dress and then make the decision.
25. Back Up
Always plan a back up. Always.
Your dress may not arrive in time, the package could be detained by customs, the dog shredded the train, you spilt coffee on it….I could go on…but in the interest of perhaps not stressing you out, I won’t. The point remains that anything could happen to your dress so just make sure there is an alternative.
26. It is Just a Dress
I can’t believe I am saying this, but it is just a dress. Just clothing to get you through the most important day of your life; the day you marry the man you love (although if and when he utters these words to you himself, you may reconsider the future alliance).
27. There’s No Magic Number
You could try one dress, you could try 50 dresses, there is no perfect number…keep going until you find it or get it custom made.
28. Try it On
Even if you are getting your dress designed specially for you, try on something similar elsewhere – take all the best ideas and give them to your designer. This will help them create your perfect outfit.
29. Corsets are Quick
If you are short on time, go for a corset. They don’t need altering and look amazing! (you can also wear these more in life than you could a wedding dress)
30. Have Fun!
Its your wedding day, you’re shopping for it…could there be anything in the world more fun?! (rhetorical question)