Top 8 (and a half) Tips For Wedding Dress Shopping

wedding dresses in shop

How hard can it really be?  Surely you just try on dresses (hopefully with a glass of  Prosecco in hand), like one, buy it…

… I mean, in your “real-life” (life before you started wedding dress shopping) you probably rated yourself as a pretty darn good shopper.  Someone who knows exactly want suits them; has a good sense of your personal style and knows the best places to go.

But when it comes to wedding dress shopping, things get a bit more complicated.  Suddenly a whole world of dress options that you’ve never been privy to before becomes available to you; you start to visit boutiques you’ve never set foot in before; you can be overwhelmed with options of lace, tulle, silk, satin…. You start to question the look you want to channel.  Are you more Kate Middleton (long-sleeved, Grace Kelly inspired) or Kate Moss (unpolished elegance)?…

At W&B we really believe dress shopping should be fun, and it totally will be.  It just helps to follow a few simple tricks.

1. Have a venue…

…It’s highly likely that your best friends will drag you out (who are we kidding, you’ll go more than willingly)  to try on dresses before you’ve even secured a venue.  However when you get serious about dress shopping it really helps to know the setting of your wedding.  A full on ballgown with chapel-length train for example,  is not necessarily going to work if you’re having your wedding on a farm. HOWEVER, if you want to do that, then do it.  It’s your day and you can damn well do as you please!  (just don’t get stroppy when the train gets saturated in mud…)

2. Do a bit of research…

…Now you have a ring on your finger you can finally feel “safe” enough to buy the bridal magazines you’ve always eyed up in the newsagents without fear of judgement.  Grab a cup of tea and spend some time flicking through these and looking on blogs to get a feel for what sort of dresses appeal to you most.  We really recommend pining your faves to a Pinterest board (Cue a shameless plug to follow W+B on Pinterest!, or even going old-school and sticking pics to a mood board.

Once you’ve got a collection of dresses have a really good look at them.  What do they have in common? Are there certain shapes that you’re drawn to? What sort of materials are used?  By doing this you can begin to notice which dresses are naturally appealing to you.

3. Narrow down some designers…

…Once you know what you like, have a look to see which designers focus on those types of designs.  Some designers will have a lot of tulle in their collections; some will focus on lace detailing; some will carry a larger collection of coloured-gowns… Once you have an idea as to the designers you think appeal most to you, find your nearest stockist and pay them a visit.

3.5 Find some Bridal Shops…

…We’re putting this as “3.5” as it goes hand-in-hand with point 3.  Yes, track down boutiques which carry designers that you like – but don’t limit yourself.  If there’s a boutique who’s window display you’ve lusted after for ages; or a friend highly recommends a particular shop; then go there too!

4. Be open to suggestions…

…Bridal Consultants (on the whole) know what they are doing.  A good consultant knows their stock inside out, they know the designers they work with and they know how dresses could be customised. They also spend their days dressing women of all shapes and sizes and have a good idea of what will suit your body type. If they make a suggestion try it, what’s the worse that can happen? The best that can happen is that you may discover the dress of your dreams.

5. Take a trusted few…

… We would recommend sticking to a maximum of four people to take with you.  And take with you people who really know you, understand your style and will be honest.  You need people who know that your choice is never going to be their idea of a perfect dress, but they respect that it’s your perfect pick and that you’re totally going to rock it!

6. Stay true to yourself…

… You could find that you try on different styles and designs and everything looks good.  This can be both a blessing and a curse.  If everything seems to work you are at risk of becoming confused and loosing sight of what appealed to you in the first place (see 2).  We’re huge believers in gut-feels and instinct at W&B. I myself always pictured myself in a fishtail shape, but throughout the dress shopping process my dresses were getting bigger and bigger.  They were all beautiful, but just “not me”. I had to remind myself of what I loved in the first place and it’s crazy how similar my chosen dress was to some of the very first styles I was drawn to.

7. Wear good underwear…

…Getting into a wedding dress can be complicated and more often than not, you’ll need help stepping in and out of them from the consultant.  If you’re not going to be comfortable wearing a skimpy g-sting in front of a virtual stranger, then don’t.  We recommend some flesh coloured no VPL knickers (enough coverage to protect modesty but perfect colour and style not to interfere with the dress).  Bra? Depends.  You might have some dresses where you don’t need a bra due to the corsetry – We say play it safe and go for a nude bra with straps you can pull down, or better yet, go straples.

8. Have fun!…

…Seriously – make a day of it.  Meet your friends and family for brunch first, have a nice lunch after to discuss what you’ve tried on; except the glass of fizz from the boutique and enjoy the experience.  A good boutique will ensure that wedding dress shopping becomes the most amazing VIP personal shopping experience you’ve ever had!

We’d love to know your top tips for dressing shopping?  What did you like most about the experience? What didn’t you like?  Let us know

Whisper and Blush
xxx