The Fine Print Of Wedding Dress Shopping

By Katie Stow

Real weddings

The Fine Print of Wedding Dress Shopping


Many of us grow up dreaming of our wedding dress and down to the finest detail our expectations are set, while others may never even consider the prospect of bridal shopping, regardless of the category you find yourself in the reality of wedding dress hopping can be equally as daunting. With years of experience under our belt, we’ve put together a bridal handbook for what to expect throughout the process, from knowing where to shop through to your final fitting, we’ve got you covered.

Finding your perfect wedding dress can be stressful, it is likely the most expensive garment you will ever own, not to mention the entirely new bridal language you will be faced with, fit and flare, organza, sheath and a-line to name a few. Each bride is unique, and so is your journey to the moment of finding ‘the one’, no matter your style, timeline or budget, we’ve got the top tips for finding your dream dress in the most stress free way possible

Preparation is key

Much like the dreaded wed shred, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Before stepping foot inside a bridal boutique, first decipher your bridal style, flick through magazines, start a Pinterest board, do the inevitable Instagram haul. You will undoubtedly recognise key elements, be it simple and modern, voluminous or embellished, save these images and share them with your bridal consultant. Your first appointment will be all about deciphering your favourite shapes, whether you visit a bridal boutique housing a range of designers or a flagship design studio.


Creating a Budget

When commencing dress shopping it is important to set a budget to ensure you don’t fall in love with a gown that you cannot afford. This seems straight forward but there are many things to consider in setting a budget, such as alterations. It is essential to go in with a firm budget that will cover both the dress cost and necessary alterations to avoid going drastically over budget.


Unless you are purchasing a custom gown, majority of bridal gowns will requirealterations to ensure a perfect fit. Alterations can add a significant amount to your dress price if the design is heavily detailed, while some dresses will simply require ahem. We recommend discussing alterations options with your bridal consultant prior to purchasing your gown to avoid surprises.


Booking appointments

While some boutiques allow walk-ins, many bridal stores are strictly appointment only and can book out months in advance. When it comes to custom design gowns some designers have a limited amount of spaces available per year and planning ahead is imperative to ensuring that your custom gown can be produced in time.


Timing is everything

Most designers recommend allowing from 6-9 months for your wedding dress to be made in order to avoid paying additional rush fees, which a shorter lead time will generally incur. Be mindful however not to shop too early, designers release new collections yearly and shopping ahead of time can result in disappointment.


Share your opinion and be open to suggestions

Many brides fail to voice their opinion out of fear of offending the consultant, while the consultant is there purely to assist you in finding the perfect dress for you. Taking a confident approach to voicing what you do and don’t love is key to getting the most out of your bridal appointment. However keep in mind, bridal consultants have great perspective and experience in finding gowns that best suit a particular body type, be careful not to shy away from their suggestions.

Know that you may not be able to try your dream dress in your size

Bridal boutiques house a large variety of sizing, however they may not carry every single size in a particular style, hence you may not have the opportunity to try your chosen dress in your accurate size prior to purchasing. This of course is not the case if you have a custom designed gown, however majority of boutique operate in this manner. Your stylist will have all the tricks of the trade to best represent the dress in your size, in terms of pinning and clamping, to ensure you are happy with the style before committing.


Choose authenticity over trend

Staying true to your individuality and personal style will ensure you love your wedding photos for years to come, many who stringently follow trends tend to look back on their wedding gown as a piece that is somewhat dated. Not sure of your style? Look towards the pieces you most gravitate to in your wardrobe, be it off the shoulder, strapless, figure hugging or v neck, every woman is most comfortable in a particular style, identify this and keep it in mind when dress shopping, these design elements are not reserved for every day clothing.

Dress purchases are final

Choosing the perfect dress is not to be taken lightly, before signing on the dotted line remember dress purchases are final. Given that each dress is generally made to order, you don’t have the luxury to change your mind.


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