Wedding dress shopping is something that so many girls have dreamt about since they were little – I know I definitely did. But when it comes to finding your dream dress IRL, it can also be really daunting. Especially when there are so many incredible wedding dresses out there. When I first got engaged I started a Pinterest board of wedding dresses, and given the various styles I’d put on there, I could probably have a wedding with hourly outfit changes and still not wear every dress I would want. But, having now done the job and got the dress (yay!), I thought I would share a few of my tips for other bride-to-bes who are starting to look for their perfect wedding dress.
1. Research dress styles – but remember to be open-minded.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who spent hours scouring dreamy wedding dress pictures on Pinterest before actually being engaged. And even if you haven’t (yeah, yeah), once you’re engaged, there’s no doubt you’ll end up poring through wedding magazines/websites and working out the type of wedding dresses you really love. However, when it comes to actually trying dresses on, an open mind is pretty important. That dress you loved on the website might not look as nice when you try it on, and a dress you’d never have looked at online could look amazing. This is why most shops will recommend trying on a few different styles on your first trip, so that you know what styles actually suit you. Having modelled wedding dresses numerous times for a friend’s mum’s wedding dress shop, I thought I would know EXACTLY what would suit me, but I tried on different styles and ended up being totally (pleasantly) surprised by ones that I wouldn’t have looked twice at on the rack.
2. Choose wisely who you want to come with you. Trying on wedding dresses can be super exciting, and your family and friends will no doubt want to be involved, but be wary of who you invite to come along. Think about the people who’s opinions you really trust, and who will make those trips to wedding dress shops a really fun, enjoyable experience. Most shops are happy to have you bring a few people, but any more than 3 people sharing their views might feel a bit overwhelming.
3. Work out your budget.
When I got engaged, I immediately found my ‘dream dress’ online and then felt completely rubbish when I found out it was way above my budget. If you find a designer or shop whose dresses or styles you like, make sure you check out approx. costs before you go ahead and fall in love with a dress you can’t afford. If you try on ‘the one’ and then find out it’s too pricey, you’re going to end up forking out more than you wanted, or going for something else and always comparing to that one dress. Or…
4. Think outside the box.
So, having tried on quite a number of dresses (and even buying one!), I couldn’t stop thinking about that one dress I had fallen for in the beginning. It was outside of my price range, so I knew buying it new wasn’t an option. But when I heard someone talking about buying their dress secondhand, I thought I would have a look and ended up finding the dress being sold secondhand in my exact size. I now have that designer dress that I loved, at a fraction of the cost brand new. There are quite a few websites where people advertise their secondhand dresses – sellmyweddingdress.co.uk and stillwhite.co.uk were two that I found really useful.
Another option I looked at were sample sales, which are another great way to get dresses at a discount because they’ve been used as shop samples. Lots of big designers and shops do sample sales every year, so if you’ve fallen in love with a dress that is outside your budget, it’s worth keeping an eye out.
5. Don’t feel pressured.
Not 100% sure if you’ve found the dress for you, but time running out? Don’t stress. Most shops will say you need to order at least 6 months before your wedding, and for some that might be true. But there are just as many who can order with much less notice, or who will be able to do your order quicker for a ‘rush fee’. Equally, lots of shops will sell dresses ‘Off the rack’, which means you can take it away there and then. So if you have the time to order with months to spare, then that’s great, but what I’m saying is, don’t feel stressed or pressured to order a dress you’re not sure about. Get in touch with some local shops and see what their minimum order time is and think about other options like off-the-rack dresses, samples, or secondhand dresses.
6. Go with your gut instinct.
Truthfully, not everyone gets that moment when they try on a dress and everyone starts crying because it’s ‘the one’. That said, don’t settle for a dress that you don’t love just because other people like it, or because it’s better than others you’ve tried. If you can’t see yourself walking down the aisle in it or if there’s something about it that you’re not too sure on, then keep looking. Similarly, if you keep comparing dresses to one dress in particular, then chances are, that’s the dress for you.
I hope these tips are helpful for anybody out there who’s looking for their dream wedding dress. And if you’re planning your wedding then let me know if there are any topics you’d love me to cover on here – I’d love to hear your thoughts.