Choosing a wedding dress has to be one of the most incredible and memorable experiences of your life! But in all that excitement, it’s easy to forget some of the more practical issues. We asked three of the UK’s top bridal retailers for their insider tips for finding the perfect gown…
“Think about your venue or destination when choosing a gown,” says Andrew from Wedding Ideas award-winning retailer Creatiques. “If you’re marrying in a hot climate think about a lighter gown that will travel well. Also think about fabric – a vintage lace gown would not look right next to a tropical-style bouquet.”
“One of the biggest mistakes girls make when choosing their gown is to bring too many people with them,” continues Rob from Creatiques. “Dress shopping should be a great experience but it can also be a bit stressful if you have too many opinions. Take a trusted friend or mum that will give honest feedback.”
“Also be very choosy about purchasing off the internet,” warns Andrew. “We have had many instances when we have been dressing bridesmaids on the day and have had to hand-stitch flowers back on to a dress bought from the internet as it’s such poor quality.”
Top UK retailer Ellie Sanderson agrees: “Do not buy a dress online,” she warns. “I get endless calls from girls who tried to save money and bought a second hand dress or a Chinese import and need some kind of help to fix the mess they got themselves into. Buy from a reputable retailer who is a registered stockist of your favourite designer and better still buy from a retailer who is credited with the RBA (Retail Bridal Assocation) seal of approval.”
Past Wedding Ideas award winner Ellie stocks top names like Suzanne Neville and Sassi Holford in her elegant Buckinghamshire and Oxford boutiques. “Make sure you go to a great shop that offers a one-to-one styling appointment,” says advises. “That way you will have expert advice on shapes and fabrics that are great for your figure. Secondly, cut out pictures of your five favourite dresses as this will help focus you and enable your stylist to know exactly what’s in your mind.”
She also suggests stepping outside your comfort zone. “Try things that you would never dream of trying,” adds Ellie. “Most girls buy the exact opposite of what they thought they would choose in the first place.”
Ellie echoes the boys from Creatiques when it comes to choosing friends to take to appointments. “Taking too many friends with you is probably the biggest mistake,” she says. “Some brides arrive with five people who all offer different opinions, which makes it impossible for you to focus on what you think!”
Trying to be too different or quirky is also something she warns against. “You don’t want to look like a fashion victim on your wedding day. You should aim to look like a more fabulous and glamorous version of yourself.”
Here are some more top tips to remember when buying your dream dress…
Set your budget
The average Wedding Ideas bride spends between £800 and £1,000 on her wedding gown according to our recent survey. Work out what you can afford and allow yourself a £200 emergency fund just in case you spot something amazing that’s just out of your price range. It’s easy to cut back in other areas such as stationery or decorations in order to get the dress of your dreams.
Think about logistics
“There’s no point in getting a massive full-skirted gown if your venue only has a small aisle,” says Alfred Angelo’s Richard Lill. “Equally there’s no point getting a tight fishtail dress if you’ve got a large staircase to negotiate. Think about your venue and which type of dress will work in your setting.”
Leave accessories until last
“Don’t buy accessories or your bridesmaid dresses before your gown,” says Lisa from Serendipity Brides. “Your dress will give you so much inspiration for planning everything else, plus you may find a dress that is completely opposite in style or colour to what you first thought.
Get to know your gown
If your gown has a difficult zip or tricky buttons, make sure you know how to tackle them before you leave the boutique. “You will need assistance adjusting the dress and veil during the service laying the dress out in photos and looping it up in the evening,” says bridal designer Suzanne Neville.
To see more dream dresses in action, take a look at the gorgeous brides in our Real-Life Wedding section now!