These are some of our top tips for coming out Wedding Dress shopping.
Research, Research, Research - this is one of the biggies, primarily we recommend this so you can see for yourself that there are dresses you love at the boutiques you are planning on visiting, or have heard good things about. There is no point in going to a boutique if you don't think there is a good chance your dream dress is waiting there for you!
Spending a bit of time going through boutique's websites, seeing their dress imagery, getting a feel for the designers they stock, and getting a general vibe for the boutique and how they work is a great first start. Following or going through a store's social media is also a good way to go, these mediums are a great way to see more informal pictures and video of the stores dress collections and the boutique itself.
Its's also good to make sure any special requirements you have can be met before you book an appointment, if you are getting married with a short-timescale, a little research will let you know if the boutique does off-the-rail bridalwear (i.e. there are dresses available to take away straightaway). Or, if you are a curvy or petite bride it's good to check the boutique's you are researching have collections and samples in stock in sizes that will suit your size, and mean you are trying dresses in the right size group for you.
Looking at wedding dress ideas before you come in is a really good shout, whether you end up with a Pinterest board of ideas you like, or built a Wishlist through our website of the dresses you love the look or features of - it can be really useful for us to have visuals to refer to when we are chatting through gown ideas - being able to see dress features, fabrics and vibes that you love the idea of, is a really good starting point for us.
Now this isn't to say you need to have decided exactly what you want before you come in, all our brides are different, and we tailor and personalise our appointments to you. Some of our brides know exactly what they are looking for before they come in, others have a good idea when they arrive in and it's a case of refining our selection to find the one.
Some lovelies just aren't sure what type or style of dress will give them that amazing feeling, and be the dress they can't wait to wear on their wedding day. No matter where you are at - we are here to help.
Book, Book, Book - next you need to book your appointment/s. Now personally we think this is really important, some bridal shops do take walk-ins, but the feedback we get from our brides is that popping into a bridal shop for a "look" rather than a proper appointment is that they haven't got very far... it can be very difficult for staff to split attention between various customers who have popped in and their pre-booked appointments.
You are trying to find something as important as your wedding dress, which is such a highly personalised, once-in-a-lifetime thing to choose. Set yourself up for success, and make sure you are booking appointments with the boutique/s you love, so you and your bridal consultant can give the process of finding your dress the proper time and attention.
We operate exclusively by appointment, which means we can really devote our time to you. Appointments are two hours long, and we have a locked door policy - you and your party will be the only customers in the shop. We aren't dividing our attention between you and another bride, and you can pick out of our full dress selection (no-one has your dress in their changing room!)
We start off the appointment with a proper sit down chat, and we learn about you, your wedding and any ideas of what you want or don't want from your dress, this really helps us to help you with finding the dress you are going to love.
From there we go to picking dresses to try and we can can make sure we are including dress features you love from the get go.... once we are on that journey, we can continue to give friendly advice, make dress suggestions as needed.
Once we get a feel for the style of dresses you are falling in love with, our expertise really comes in to its own, and before you know it each dress you try is topping the previous one, until you find your one.
Mindset - now this is a biggie!
I have never been to a wedding and seen a bride walking down the aisle in a bin bag... and honestly, I don't think you have either - so to be clear - you are going to find your dream dress, it's just a case of when.
The road to finding your dress may be short or it may be long, we have found that the ladies who struggle with the journey the most and end up visiting multiple boutiques across the region, perhaps weren't open to finding their dress at the beginning of their journey.
If you are unconvinced or unenthusiastic about finding the dress from the get go, it can take a quite a few appointments to warm up into dress shopping, which then, because its taking some time - can in itself cause frustration and disappointment, because you then keep having to walk out of appointments, not having found the one.
Then you are in the perfect storm of needing to go to more stores and appointments, and there gets to a point where you have tried so very, very many dresses on, your utterly confused about what you want and have liked/loved in a myriad of different stores. The frustration and disappointment sets in further, and dress shopping is starting to feel like a bit of a nightmare.
One of our Bride's came to us after trying 79 dresses in 10 dress shops across Devon and Cornwall. We found the one for her, but she had been through such a stressful journey to get to us that we made a complete fresh start with her, because by this point this poor lovely had tried so many dresses on, she was totally confused about what she liked and didn't.
She freely said she just hadn't been expecting to find a dress in the first couple of shops she went to, and really was just "looking" to start with.
But then, it started feeling stressful after the first couple of shops, nothing was jumping out at her - from there it just snowballed, much like we have described above. From chatting to this lady, I know she wishes she had been in a better frame of mind when she started dress shopping. Don't start your dress journey being negative about finding a dress!
So having the right mindset for your appointments is key:
Remember every appointment is a genuine opportunity to find the one.
You did your research before you booked - you know you like the dresses/ethos/vibe of this wedding dress shop - why wouldn't you find your dress today?
Yes, brides DO find their dress on their first day of appointments. That IS an actual thing! You are coming to try a collection of handpicked, beautiful dresses, which are designed and structured to make you feel comfortable and amazing. You have an expert on hand, who knows every dress in their boutique, who is listening to what you love or don't, to help you find the style, vibe and dress that's perfect for YOUR big day. You are coming to the perfect environment to find your dress - keep your mind open and don't be afraid to fall in love.
Trust us, we are here to work with you to find the dress. We are only interested in helping you feel like you won the jackpot, because your dress really is that good.
We will be honest (but kind!) If there is a reason a dress you like won't work for you because of your venue, an activity you are taking part in on the day, or because an element of the gown doesn't suit you for some reason - we will tell you, and we will find a dress that tops that one for you.
Don't "Look" - you are on your journey to FIND the one.
Finding her - sometimes it actually is the first dress in the first shop.
If you simply love, love, love the dress and it makes you feel amazing - it's the one.
If you feel disinclined to try more dresses on, it's the one.
If you don't feel like going to your next appointment - it's the one.
If you don't want to take the dress off - it's the one.
If you can't stop touching the dress - it's the one.
If you have goose bumps up your back and feel spontaneously emotional when you see yourself in this dress - it's the one.
If you compare every other dress to this dress - its the one.
Whether its dress one in shop one, or dress five in shop three, if you love it, you love it.
We aren't saying you shouldn't shop around, BUT you also shouldn't overthink it.
Some brides see their Say Yes moment float away, because they didn't feel they SHOULD Say Yes to the one, when that magical moment was happening for them.
Perhaps a relative said "well, you should really try some others somewhere else to be sure"
Perhaps you can't quite believe that you found the dress in the first shop
Maybe you weren't expecting it to be easy
Trust in your instincts.
Going to too many shops and trying too many different dresses on can get confusing.
If you know, you know x
It can't possibly be one of the first dresses I try...
This, to be honest, is a misconception.
Picture this, You managed to get an appointment at the shop you liked the most as your first one, because you couldn't wait to come here and from what you have seen or heard about them
You researched before you came in - you know there are dresses in here you love!
You have arrived at the dress shop you have been super excited to come to, and the vibe and feel is exactly how you pictured it ( or even better!)
You sit down and talk through what you like the idea of dress wise, and what you don't. We are listening, and asking you questions about your wedding vibe, practical aspects of your day, looking at your pinterest board of dress images with features you like the idea of.
Our minds are whirling, we are piecing what you describe together with dresses we know we have in our boutique.
We take a tour of the boutique, and YOU pick a first small selection of dresses to try - this means you are actively picking fabric's, patterns and styles you like the look of, we help you if needed, and will pick a couple of extra dresses, if we feel you are missing a dress which fits what you described - when you came in. (Remember dresses look different on the hanger, than they do when they are on you or in a picture!)
Then this bit is not be under estimated - We are excited for you, and when we are in the changing room - we can't help but pick the dress we think most fits the bill of what you described, to be the first dress you try on.
When you think about it like this, is it any surprise that sometimes it actually is the first dress that you try?
When it's not, we have made the strongest start possible and can open up the search to encompass other styles and shapes... you are still a huge step closer to finding the one.
We don't stop at the first dress - even if you love it. As you are trying more dresses, we are listening to your feedback, hearing what you like and don't like about the gown you are in. Checking your body language - what is it about X dress that makes you the most open, the most confident, are you beaming? - that's what we are interested in.
We pick more dresses, based on YOUR feedback so you try more of what you like AND also so we know you are genuinely trying a variety. For our piece of mind, we need to know you have tried different styles and shapes, so you know when you fall in love with your dress - you can be assured of your choice - you haven't missed trying X type of dress .
If the vibe isn't quite there with what you originally described, we will get a wildcard or two to help you go down a different path, sometimes what you originally liked the idea of isn't quite right, once you actually start trying dresses on. We will be with you every step of the way to help you change direction on the dress if you need to.
Remember mindset is key - sometimes the first dress is the one that can't be beaten, sometimes you won't find it on the first day of shopping - the biggest thing is not be afraid to find the one, trust yourself - you know when your in love xx