Say yes to the dress with our expert tips to getting the most out of your first wedding gown shopping trip
Your wedding dress…
…is likely to be the most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought so you’re bound to expect everything involved to reflect that financial commitment and the importance of the occasion. This isn’t the makeover scene in The Devil Wears Prada, though, so manage your expectations and it will be a memorable experience for all the right reasons.
1 First things first
The dresses you’re about to try on are samples. This means there’s only one or maybe two of them in the shop, they’re often a different size to what you’d normally wear – and quite likely to be a little grubby with the make-up from the dozens of other brides who’ve tried it on before you.
2 Before your appointment
Ensure the sample dresses look great on you by making sure you look great. Before your appointment get a blow-dry, put on some make-up and wear your prettiest lingerie. And bring some heels similar to the height you’ll be wearing on the big day.
3 Do your homework
Check that the dresses you loved in a magazine or online are actually available. A lot of dresses never make it from the catwalk into the showroom and many bridal shops stick with just best-selling styles from selected designers. But they want you to be happy, so if there’s a dress you’re particularly interested in ask when you book your appointment and see what they can do.
4 Set your budget
Your appointment, especially at the weekend, is unlikely to last much more than an hour so, as far as possible, have some idea of the styles you like before you go. And most definitely set a limit on how much you have to spend.
5 Taking friends with you
Two people is enough to take with you on your shopping shop. Too many opinions will get frustrating and, ultimately, the only one that matters is yours.
6 Listen to the experts
The team in the bridal shop are the experts so make the most of their knowledge and listen to their advice. Stay open-minded about trying on shapes that you might previously have dismissed – nothing beats seeing something on.
7 Your first fitting
At your first fitting be prepared for your dress to look and feel a little different to the sample you tried on, and don’t expect it to fit perfectly. Put your faith in the alterations team – your dress is made-to-order, not made-to-measure, and it’s sized to your largest measurement. Pear-shaped girls will probably find the bodice is too big, and if you’ve got a big bust the waist might need to be taken in. They’re also used to dealing with shrinking brides so will schedule your final fittings to take into account any last-minute weight loss.
‘Finding your dream wedding dress is so personal. Take one or two trusted loved ones that you know will support your choice with you to your appointments. You wouldn’t take a group of people with you to help you choose your wedding day hairstyle, so the same should apply to your dress.’ Russell Blackburn, Blackburn Bridal Couture
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