Buying a wedding dress – glamorous boutique visits, bubbly with your favourite people, and dresses that exceed your wildest dreams…
We don’t want to burst your bubble of excitement, because all of these things do come part and parcel of buying your wedding dress, but there’s a caveat. It’s rarely this easy. While a few lucky brides find the one with their first dress or boutique visit, there’s no shame in trying 100 before you make your mind up or feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options, prices and styles available.
That’s where this A-Z of buying your wedding dress comes in. Armed with these tried and trusted tips, helpful ideas and honest realities, you’ll have a happy experience however long it takes.
A – Always go with an open mind. You’d be surprised how many of our featured brides discover that their dream dress is exactly the opposite of what they were expecting!
B – Backless. Be that with illusion panels, lace inserts, sparkly embellishments, or a deep plunging V, there is a backless dress for every bride’s style. And the new dress collections for 2017 prove this design is trendier than ever, with these dresses really bringing sexy back…
C – Corsets. Whether you will be slipping one on beneath your gown or will have a corset back to your dress, the lace up design will help you to feel secure.
D – Don’t rush. Even if you love the first dress you’ve tried on, don’t risk an impulse purchase only to regret it later. Try on a few more dresses and soak up the experience at the boutique, then if you’re still sure, you will know you’ve made the right decision.
E – Emergencies. They happen, and not always to the bride. Remember your mothers, bridesmaids and guests will all be sporting glamorous attire too. While we’d never wish an outfit hiccup on anyone, it’s still pays to be prepared. Fill a quick fix kit with safety pins, sewing essentials and plasters for starters. Make sure someone close to you keeps it with them on the day.
F – Floor-length isn’t the only option when it comes to wedding dresses. Fun loving brides will love tea-length designs that finish by the knee, perfect for dancing!
G – Go, go, go! To boutiques, trunk shows, wedding fairs, boutique designer days, flagship stores… Your dream dress awaits and there are a lot of stunning styles and labels to sift through if you want to find it!
H – Have fun. There’s a lot of pressure to find the one, but try to enjoy the experience. Sip Champagne with your chosen guests and twirl to your heart’s content. If you make finding your dress feel as fabulous as wearing it will be on your wedding day, you’ll come away with memories to cherish.
I – Is it on budget? The easiest way to avoid getting carried away is to begin your boutique visit by telling them your budget or, even better, let them know before you even arrive when you book your appointment. That way you can choose to only try on dresses you can actually have if you want to.
J – Jumpsuits. Because bridal fashion isn’t just limited to dresses, you know. For the alternative, style-savvy, modern bride, a jumpsuit might just be the way to go. Make your first appointment with House of Ollichon, who set the standard when it comes to this bridal style.
K – Your kiss the bride moment. Can you imagine it happening in the dress you’ve just tried on? Visualising yourself getting married in your dress will make it feel more real and help you to ascertain whether the dress you’re trying on is more than just a pretty gown (it should be!).
L – Lace. We love it. Scalloped, eyelash, edging, embellished with Swarovski crystals and beading… there’s a reason so many brides love it too! This fabric perfectly bridges modern and traditional, bohemian and formal. Little wonder that it is the must-have for many a bride’s big day look.
M – More, more, more! Try on as many dresses as you can to be sure you find the best style for you. And if after a whole lot of searching you still can’t find a style you like, why not have your wedding dress made for you by a dressmaker instead?
N – Not the one… the price brides pay for finding ‘the one’ is potentially having to find many that aren’t first. Don’t be disheartened. It’s normal for your search to involve a lot of dresses. Our featured bride Laura from issue 170 tried on 40 dresses before she found the perfect one, but she did find it and ultimately that’s what matters. It will be all the more amazing in comparison when you finally put on the dress that is utterly you.
O – Options! For more of them, why not try the many stunning collections of bridal separates? From crop tops to sleeves, capes to tops and skirts to trousers, you can create your unique aisle style by mixing and matching different elements.
P – Perfume. Remember to wear your chosen big day fragrance for your dress fittings too and the scent will become a signature of the entire process of getting married. If you’ve chosen a new one for the occasion, wearing it for bridal occasions beforehand will also help it to feel more natural when the day comes.
Q – Quiet. It’s the moment every bride dreams of, when she steps out from the dressing room in a gorgeous gown that takes her mother’s breath away and brings tears to everyone’s eyes. And then it happens again as the doors open for you to walk down the aisle as your groom and guests see you for the first time, but times ten.
R – Remember the details. While the romantic qualities of your gown are important, you also need to come back down to earth and think about the practicalities. Will your dress work with the time of year? The weather? Your venue and reception theme?
S – Spare a thought for alterations. Seamstresses will be able to adjust your gown for the perfect fit and for the perfect design. You might first try your dress on with long sleeves, but these are often easily adapted or removed. Equally, we often see brides adding sleeves, jackets, decorative panels and embellishments, and even some taking some of the details away. Feel free to customise your dress until it feels completely you – your boutique will have their own seamstress or be able to recommend one to you.
T – Trains. There’s more choice here than you might expect. You can keep things short and sweet with a brush train; go for a wow-factor touch that is still very wearable with a puddle train, or turn things up a notch with a chapel or even cathedral-length train. And again, the choice is yours when it comes to lace appliqués, crystals and embellishments…
U – Understand that it isn’t always easy. Contrary to popular belief, not every bride loves dress shopping. Trust us though it will be worth it. You will love the dress you get at the end of it. It helps to take the right people with you – you want a group of people who will make you feel confident, be supportive and give an honest opinion, but also respect that your opinion and decision is the final one.
V – Veils. Even if you really don’t think you want one, we recommend that you try at least one on with your dress. You might just be surprised – they’re the accessory we hear make people feel like a real bride the most often. Available in many lengths, from chic birdcages to floor-length extravaganzas, with all kinds of crystal, bead and lace embellishments, there’s a whole world waiting to be unveiled.
W – White isn’t the only option. Antique, ivory, champagne, blush, blue, grey and floral prints are all options in dress design. While tradition makes you think of a pure white, off-white shades are actually particularly popular because they tend to sit more softly against your natural skin colour.
X – Extremely beautiful – you’re going to look it, just ask your groom.
Y – You! Your dress needs to make you feel like the best version of yourself. Keep this in mind and you’re already on the path to success.
Z – Zzzzz. If you’re not sure, sleep on it. Unless your wedding is next week, there really is no rush to make a snap decision. You want to minimise the possibility of having second thoughts or doubts after buying your dress. Make sure it really is the dress you dream about before you buy it.