Are you just starting the search for your dream wedding dress? Wedding Ideas caught up with Jessica from top Bristol bridal boutique Allison Jayne to find out a little bit more about the dress-buying process, what a bride-to-be can expect and what’s hot in the world of wedding fashion right now…

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How many dresses would you advise a bride-to-be to try on?

On average, brides-to-be try on about 10 wedding dresses, although for some ladies it can be the first one or go up a lot higher. The most someone has tried on is 25 in one go! Occasionally people try this number on over a period of a few visits, but we aim to help you find the perfect gown on your first visit.

Do most b2bs have a clear idea of what they want?

About 80% of customers come in thinking they know what they want or have a clear idea of what they are looking for – but often they change their minds! I get really into the process and show them many other dress types, which they would never have considered before. Many brides surprise themselves with the dress they end up with!

behind-the-scenes-at-a-bridal-boutique-whats-hot-whats-not-justinWhat about modifications?

Most people only want to change or add small details to their chosen dress, such as more sparkles or a zip instead of lace. We have such a great range of gowns from Maggie Sottero, Justin Alexander, Ellis Bridals and more, not many brides want to change the original styles.

Are veils still in fashion?

I love veils, they are so romantic. Long veils are fashionable right now for traditional weddings, while more contemporary brides are going for the birdcage option, with netting worn to one side. Many brides discount veils before coming into the boutique but when they try on their gown, a veil just lifts the gown from ‘beautiful’ to ‘bridal’.

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Which styles are hot right now?

At the moment the most popular bridal styles include lace, fishtails, high necks and sleeves. High necks regained popularity after Kate Middleton wore her wedding dress. It was an absolute classic and she looked incredible – many brides still want to look like her. When it comes to bridesmaids, brides are mixing up colours, giving their girls different shades to suit their skin tones.

Have any men accompanied their b2b on an appointment?

We have had some men – mostly the father of the bride – though occasionally you get the odd fiancé also coming in, too. Fiancés want to be involved and the bride-to-be wants to know that they like the dress! More often, though, it will be the mums, sisters and daughters that come in to help. We would always advise bringing someone whose opinion you trust.

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What’s the most popular colour for a wedding dress?

The most popular colour is diamond white. It is an off-set of white because white itself looks too stark. Other popular wedding dress colours right now are ivory and champagne. Ian Stuart does lots of different colours in his collection – he’s one of my personal favourites as his designs are so fresh and dramatic.

What are brides-to-be most worried about?

Naturally, they are normally most worried about the fit of the dress. But we say, trust the professionals – you have got to trust the person fitting you in a bridal boutique because they have been expertly trained. Something that you cannot guarantee when buying a dress online.

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If brides are dieting, when should they aim to buy their gown?

If b2bs are dieting before the wedding, we still suggest that they buy the dress at the size they currently are as it is easier to take the dress in later, rather than the other way round – it is always harder to make something bigger. This helps to take the pressure off with dieting plans. We always say, that if you love the dress now you will love it even more later! People tend to lose weight naturally during the few weeks prior to the wedding due to the stress anyway.

What’s the hardest thing about running a bridal boutique?

Having to chase things up under time pressure. Some clients only come in a few weeks before the wedding day and leave things until the last minute. So dealing with close deadlines is stressful. It is a lot of responsibility because this isn’t just any old dress, it’s their wedding gown.

And what’s the best part?

Helping real brides find the dress of their dreams is definitely the best part of running a bridal boutique. In this business, you are always dealing with happy brides. Developing the customer’s trust is also hugely rewarding and that’s something that we strive to do.

Many thanks to Helen Cobby for this handy Q&A. We’ve got lots more advice about the dress buying experience as well as essential questions you should ask your bridal boutique before you choose ‘the one’.

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