With all those styles to choose from and the pressure to look jaw-droppingly fabulous, wedding dress shopping has all the ingredients for a bridal meltdown.

In fact, you’re probably ready to throw up your hands and collapse in a heap of tulle. But don’t despair – we’ve chatted with an expert and come up with five dress shopping don’ts to help minimise your wedding dress stress

what-not-do-do-when-dress-shoppingDon’t worry if you’re not getting that “it’s the one” moment

Not everyone ends up sobbing in the arms of the sales assistant when they find their gown!

“Some brides have that moment, some don’t. It all depends on your personality,” reassures Clare Hardy from Bespoke Brides in Chester. “In fact, the bridal shopping experience can be so overwhelming that you may just be relieved to have found a dress you love!”

Don’t be a people-pleaser

If you hate lace there’s no point trying on a dozen lace dresses (no matter how much your mum wants you to look like the Duchess of Cambridge).

If you feel beautiful in your gown it will show, but it will also show if you’re uncomfortable,” Clare says.

Family and friends will have their own (sometimes very strong) opinions about what they’d like to see you in on the big day, but you won’t regret staying true to your personal style. “This is your wedding, so choose the gown you love”, emphasises Clare. “Remember, it’s you who has to wear the dress (and look at the photos forever!).”

Don’t bring an entourage

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If you’ve stepped out of the changing room feeling totally fab, an audience who have mixed feelings about the dress can really shake your confidence!

As Clare points out, more people equals more opinions, so when it comes to who to bring along, less is definitely more. Bring a small group of people that you trust to give you their honest opinion, and who have your best interests at heart, she advises.

Don’t rush your decision

If you’ve hit a wall when it comes to finding the dress, it’s time to call a bridal time out.

“Sit down and work out why you aren’t finding the one,” suggests Clare. “Think about the advice that the bridal shop owners have given you, she says (after all, they do this every day!). If nothing else, having a break from dress hunting will allow you time to mentally regroup before tackling the shops again. Above all, don’t settle for second best.”

Don’t try on dresses without primping first

It’s hard to picture the overall look of a gown when you’re wearing yesterday’s eyeliner and your hair is dirty!

Always go bridal shopping when you feel your best,” Clare advises. “Otherwise, you run the risk of finding the dress and discounting it because you feel like rubbish.” A bit of mascara, lippie and freshly washed hair can make the world of difference when it comes to how you feel in a gown. However, go easy on the foundation, Clare warns, or the dresses will end up wearing it, too!

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What should you do?

So after all those don’ts, what are the “dos” when it comes to finding your dream gown?

“Plan, plan, plan,” insists Clare. “Make sure you book your appointments in advance, find out how long you’ll have and only take a small group of close friends and family. Leave the kiddies at home – children running amok among fragile fabrics are a recipe for disaster (not to mention distraction).”

And Clare’s top do for dress shopping? “Enjoy it!”

Our thanks to Karen Rose for these top tips

Karen lives in Sydney, Australia with her super gorgeous (ask him – he knows it!) husband and two outrageously naughty cats. Karen’s writing nook is so tiny that once she’s in her chair there’s no room for anyone else, including husbands (although she only has one) or cats (although they do try).

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