Jo and Claire are sisters and founders of Belle Bridal. Their small bridal boutique in North London offers discount wedding dresses and a personal experience. They share their advice on how to make wedding dress shopping as exciting and painless as possible.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
No bride wants to be rushing to find her wedding dress a few weeks before the big day. Of course, this might not always be possible if you have a short engagement. It’s a good idea to start shopping for your dress about a year before the wedding day.
There are a few reasons to give yourself this time. Dress alterations may take a number of months, Your figure might also change over time and, if you buy a dress as soon as you’re engaged without having a date in mind, you could gain or lose weight before the big day. Finally, you might decide that you want a different dress style. You might originally set your sights on a lavish princess-style dress, but then opt for a small registry office wedding — where you might not feel entirely comfortable in a large gown.
Organise Your Day and Book Appointments
Most bridal boutiques will require you to book an appointment. Do this within plenty of time so that you can plan your day. You don’t want to book too many appointments, as this could confuse you and cause you to rush around.
Have a light breakfast and lunch so that you don’t feel bloated while trying on dresses. If you’re heading to high street shops, or shops that don’t require an appointment, plan your day so that you can spend plenty of time in each.
Stick to Your Budget
One of the first things all couples should do before planning their wedding day is set a budget. Budgeting allows you to plan how much you can afford to spend on each aspect of your wedding. Create a realistic budget for your wedding dress. If you know that you want a designer wedding dress, do some research and make sure you set a reasonable amount aside — it will save you heartbreak later down the line when you realise you can’t afford your dream dress.
Thankfully, due to sample sales and discount wedding dresses, there is an array of fantastic dresses available to suit all budgets.
Pick Your Party
Bringing people shopping with you is a good idea: They can make suggestions, be (brutally!) honest and help you find your ideal dress. However, it’s important to carefully select who and how many people you bring. Take too many and you’ll receive conflicting ideas and opinions. When deciding who to take dress shopping with you, you want people whose thoughts you trust. One or two people is ideal.
Bring Appropriate Attire
Although you are shopping for your wedding dress, you need to think about what else you will be wearing on the day. While you may not have your wedding shoes picked out yet, you should consider how high they will be. Bring a pair of heels along that are a similar height to your ideal wedding shoes.
The same can be said for accessories. If you already have a veil, bring it with you — you want to make sure it complements your dress. As for underwear, a strapless bra and seamless pants will work for a variety of wedding dress styles.
Research wedding dresses beforehand — Wedding dress shopping is easier when you’ve had a chance to familiarise yourself with different dress styles and designers. While it’s always a good idea to try on a number of styles (you might be surprised at what suits you!), having some ideas in mind before you shop will make finding a dress easier.
Listen to the bridal shop staff
— The staff at the bridal boutique will ask you questions and offer advice. They have years of experience and it’s their job to make sure you find the right dress for you — their input can be invaluable.
Go easy on the wedding makeup
— Makeup and strong-smelling perfume can damage dresses. Don’t overdo it when you’re getting ready in the morning.
Finding a dress that is both gorgeous and comfortable may take a while. Don’t be disheartened if it takes two or three shopping trips to find the right one. Most of all, remember to enjoy yourself when shopping — it’s exciting to find the perfect dress for your special day.
If you’re looking for wedding dress inspiration or support, feel free to visit Belle Bridal, they would be delighted to hear from you!