Ask the Expert: How do I start wedding dress shopping?

30 Jan 2017

Here to solve all your wedding woes and worries, Marie Haverly of Isabella Weddings Planning and Consultancy is back for 2017 with a brand new blog designed to guide and advise brides-to-be

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As a bride-to-be you will have so many burning questions to ask the experts, but knowing who to ask is half the battle. Marie Haverly, wedding planner-turned-agony-aunt, will answer a question each month that many couples ask her, in turn helping even more couples to plan their perfect day stress-free. Here, is Marie's first instalment - How do I start dress shopping?

Q: I got engaged at Christmas and I’m so excited to start looking for 'the dress', but I have no idea where to start. Help!

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The one exciting chapter that starts every wedding journey story is finding your perfect dress. However some brides are worried about how to actually start the process: do you just call the first shop you see on the high street? Do you need to make an appointment? How much is too much? When do you start? Have you left it too late?

My first piece of advice would be to say that less is more; do your research and ask around for recommendations for good bridal shops. Visit one or two, then stop and think before you visit more. Don’t book lots of appointments or you’ll become overwhelmed and confused. Once you think you’ve found 'the one' then stop, make a decision and stick with it – don’t keep trying on lots of other dresses as this won’t help in the long run and isn’t fair on the shop either.

Do go to your appointments with a budget in mind. A good shop will help you to choose a dress within your budget, they don’t judge you – it’s more so that you have a fair and realistic shopping experience.

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Keep underwear plain and natural and take your wedding shoes (or an idea of the type of heel you might choose) so that you can see how the dress might fall. Do also ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to write the answers down if you need to. Take your time and make sure you are entirely happy with the purchase process before committing. Don’t go to a shop with the intention of just gathering ideas from them and then buying online as this isn’t fair on the shop.

Start early but only when you are in a position to potentially make a purchase, so you are not wasting anyone’s time, including your own. Be realistic about any weight loss you are aiming for and ensure you know what to expect from the boutique/designer before making that purchase – for example, when the deposit is due and how much you will have to pay, when your fitting appointments might be and how long you need to allow for alterations.

Lastly, I’d suggest you always take someone with you; an honest friend or relative that can be critical but supportive and help to keep you focused ,as well as enjoy the process with you. 

So start soon, but only when you know what your budget is and you are in a position to make a decision. Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to say no. Enjoy!

With help from Blades Bridal