Whether you’ve had a clear idea of your dream dress since you were 5 years old or haven’t ever really thought about it, the idea of shopping for the most important dress of your life can seem so overwhelming and more frantic than fun. Fear not, your Fairy Clothes Mother is here to help!
I have seen a big increase in the number of expectant brides contacting me to help with the style stakes on their special day. Long gone are the days when I was brought in to help with the Mother of the Bride or Groom, now it’s the full bridal party!
Hence why I thought I should write this, my simple but ultimate guide to wedding dress shopping…
First Things First… Location, Location, Location
Before I even speak to the bride about her dress I will make sure she has her date and venue sorted. The dress hunting cannot begin before this is finalised. You need to give your look for the big day some context, so decide first whether you’re getting married in spring, summer, autumn or winter. Are you looking at somewhere abroad or at home? This will give me a clue into your taste and style of the wedding, whether you pick a stately home or a beach, bridal wear experts will use this as guidance.
Think Outside The Box
It’s easy to go with the grain and head straight to the most high-profile bridal stores, but it pays to do your research. You might have slightly quirky taste or your shape is a touch more awkward, you may find heading to a specialised store is a more valuable use of your time. Put it out there what you are looking for and go with good recommendations.
Don’t Stress If You’re Not Sure What You Want
If you don’t know what you’re after, start at a bridal boutique that stocks a lot of brands. Their knowledge is second to none and they can talk you through different designers and collections, and which suit which figure and budget. I personally suggest my clients to get themselves on Pinterest, they have thousands upon thousands of images so you can narrow done especially if you know you’re after a particular look. Start creating a mood board, I love using this as inspiration.
Set A Budget
Whether you’ll be splashing a few thousand pounds on a dress or are after something a little more modest, having a budget in mind when shopping is crucial. This narrows down what we can look at and means you won’t be disappointed by trying on a dream style that is ultimately out of reach. The same applies if you’re bargain hunting, you can be lured by great prices but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a good deal. Be careful not to just go cheap, you’ll have those photos for years to come!.
Ignore The Trends
Unless you have the body of a supermodel, chances are you’re not going to opt for the more contemporary styles, which can feature cut outs and plunging necklines. But don’t forget that what you choose is always going to be outdated and upgraded at some point. The best way to approach it is to just be true to yourself, your taste and style. Unfortunately no wedding dress can ever be truly timeless.
No Time? No Problem
There’s a common misconception that you need at least a year to find the perfect dress. But whether it’s a short engagement or you simply can’t decide, don’t fret. So many of you contact me in a panic, the truth is, designers and manufacturers have responded to changing consumer demands, so good retailers can turn around a dress in any time frame. Stop sweating!
Consider Going High Street
Multiple high street retailers are now creating affordable bridal wear. The likes of like Needle and Thread, Whistles, Coast, Monsoon and ASOS all have designs for under £1,000. They are definitely worth checking out if you’re trying to be thrifty. These have also been fantastic for sourcing bridesmaid dresses for those on a budget or multiple bridesmaids of all shapes, sizes and ages.
Stick To Quality
The corset structure from a designers such as Suzanne Neville, Amanda Wakeley or Vera Wang have been honed over decades. Independent designers can’t match this level of quality and access to resources, so aim for the highest quality you can afford.
Look To Sample Sales
If you are on a budget then Sample sales could be for you. Just be warned you need to be a size 10-12 for it to work, but you can find some guaranteed bargains. Alternatively, head to a good once worn dress shop, where you can pay up to 50% less for dresses still in perfect condition. Just remember that most of these dresses will have been altered to fit the bride so it’s not always easy to find something this way. You might be the same size but rarely the same shape.
Expect To Cough Up For Alterations
Quality bridal stores make all dresses to measure, so despite numerous fittings you shouldn’t expect to pay extra for the craftsmanship involved. But if final tweaks are necessary, you lose a few pounds, for example. It is not unusual to have to pay a little bit more. Couture seamstresses are incredibly skilled and highly paid, so any further work they may have to do to your dress is chargeable and well worth it.
If you need any help you know where to find me,
Your Fairy Clothes Mother xx