You’re about to purchase possibly the most important dress you’ll ever wear and it’s important you get your bridal boutique experience right. You’ll want the right setting when choosing your dress, but you’ll also want to think beyond that.

Wedding Dress Shopping: 10 Questions To Ask Your Bridal Boutique
© Jennifer Sinclair Photography

What happens after you’ve chosen your dress and paid your deposit? Read this expert wedding dress shopping guide to ensure you have the best bridal experience possible.

10 Questions To Ask Your Bridal Boutique

1. Will you be the only bride in the boutique?

Do you want an exclusive, special experience or would you prefer a slightly more ‘high street’ approach? If there is more than one bride-to-be trying dresses, will you get to see the entire range?

The experience that you have will be quite different from shop to shop. Some boutiques are small and only have one bride at a time out of necessity. Others have ample space but to offer the entire boutique exclusively to just one bride at a time.

Then there are others that can have two or more brides-to-be in at the same time choosing their wedding dress. Consider the kind of experience that you want.

2. What is the boutique and its location like?

Is the location private for you to try on dresses without being disturbed by prying eyes or passers-by? Like a lot of brides, you’ll want to keep your chosen dress a secret until the big day!

What kind of mirror do they have, will you be able to see yourself from all angles? With such pretty backs on some dresses, are you going to be able to see the detail when you are trying them on?  Always consider the size, facilities and location of your chosen boutique.

3. Does it have good online reviews?

Don’t just look at the ‘star’ rating invest time and have a read of what the real brides say. If a boutique gives a really exceptional experience their brides will go out of their way to let others know and that boutique will have a lot of favourable reviews.

You will spend quite a few hours with your dress shop, choosing and then having your dress fitted, so devote a little time to reading the reviews. It’s probably the only truly impartial view that you will get from a cross-section of brides that have been through every step of the journey. It should give you a realistic idea of what you can expect and it will help you choose the bridal boutiques that you would like to visit.

4. Is there a large and varied range?

What’s your budget? Does the boutique stock a range of dresses from designers that are within your budget?

What’s your style? From boho bride to city chic and pretty princess, does your chosen boutique have dresses that match your style?

5. Is there parking available?

If you choose a busy city centre boutique, leave enough time and take enough change for parking. Also, think about when the time comes to pick up your dress. Will you be able to get parked nearby? What if it is raining and you need to dash to the car with your wedding dress?

6. Can in-house alterations be done at the boutique?

Does the boutique offer a seamstress service in-house or do you have to take your dress elsewhere?

What does the seamstress charge? Ask to see a price list. Even with a made-to-measure dress, it’s likely some alterations will be needed. This may just include a bustle to enable you to tuck your train up so you can dance the night away.

Where are the alterations done? In the boutique, the main mirror or in the main dressing room? Will the bridal consultant who sold you the dress be involved in your fittings to ensure continuity? Does the boutique add a % onto the seamstress’s costs or do they charge the seamstress to work with them?

7. Does the boutique offer to store your dress for you?

What happens when your dress arrives? Imagine taking it home and your groom stumbling across it! IF you are shopping for your dress months ahead of your big day, you may need to consider storage. Does the boutique offer this service and if so do they charge for it?

8. Does the boutique charge for any extras?

Will you be given a dress bag and a sturdy hanger when you pick up your dress? Does the boutique charge for steaming your dress? It’s wise to check these things so there are no surprise charges for you.

9. Can accessories and bridesmaid’s dresses be bought at the boutique too?

Does the boutique stock a wide range of accessories such as veils, hair accessories, shoes and earrings? They all go together to build up your complete look for your big day and it’s helpful to be able to try various options with your dress and experiment a little.

Think about your girls too, will you be able to get bridesmaid’s dresses and flower girl dresses from your chosen shop? This can make fittings easier for you all, and also a lot of fun!

10. Does the boutique get paid for recommending other suppliers?

Word of mouth is really important in the wedding industry and lots of brides will ask for recommendations. It might be a good idea to ask if suppliers are recommending other suppliers. Therefore, if they think they are really brilliant at their job, or they are getting a fee for every booking, they will only want to suggest trusted suppliers.

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