As Editor of Wedding Ideas, I love nothing better than going undercover at bridal boutiques around the country. And that’s exactly what I did this weekend! My very handsome brother is marrying his gorgeous fiancée in August which means we had to get our skates on in terms of finding ‘the one’. So before we started, I armed the beautiful b2b with the following advice…

1. Don’t take too many people – it’ll only cloud your judgement.

2. Try everything! Something that looks terrible on the hanger may be ‘the one’ when you actually get it on.

3. Do you hair and make-up.  You should try on dresses feeling relaxed and prepared, not during a shopping session when you’re flustered, sweaty and windswept.

4. Think about it. You don’t have to make a decision then and there, so sleep on it and try a range of boutiques.

5. Tell the assistant your budget from the start. Every bride blows the budget somewhat on her dream dress but you don’t want to fall in love with a style that’s £3,000 when you’ve only got £800 to spend.

Mori Lee
Slinky at the top, full on the botton - we love this Mori Lee style!

Even though it was a Saturday, we weren’t hassled or hurried in either boutique. Both assistants carefully listened to our plans– the theme of the day, the venue, the time of year – and suggested dress styles we might like to try. Only one, however, offered us a drink – and as you will discover, trying on dresses is thirsty work!

The mix of gowns was brilliant in both retailers although one kept their dresses in see-through  bags. Not the most attractive way to display gowns but it does keep them relatively free from make-up and self-tan stains when they’re being tried on day after day.

Maggie Sottero
We tried on several dresses from Maggie Sottero… not me you understand, just the b2b (maybe!)

So it was off with the all-over lace (too restrictive and old-fashioned it was decided) and on with the slinky strapless number. Although perfect for a civil ceremony maybe a little too sexy… and unforgiving in the tummy department. We tried on gowns from Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero, Benjamin Roberts, Alexia Designs… I pointed her towards all my faves!

But then, after about 15 different gowns, there it was. The perfect fit. The perfect style. The perfect bridal feeling. The tears started to appear…

And so, now the gorgeous gown is hanging in my spare room away from a noisy h2b, and I haven’t even tried it on… promise!

What about your dress-buying experience so far? Let me know about great service and where you found ‘the one’.

To see more gorgeous gowns, take a look at our exclusive collections here!

And watch out bridal boutiques, I could be visiting you soon!




  1. I’ll never forget when you secret shopped a certain bridal retailer and when they found out, they were mortified! But it’s a good thing, and really helped the boutique owner to get things right. They were so grateful for your feedback. Great blog, Rach x


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