Your wedding dress is one of the most important parts of your wedding day and choosing 'the one' can be difficult but the appointments shouldn't be! Here are ten top tips straight from the wedding industry to ensure you have get the best out of your appointments every time! 1. Time
This is the biggest factor. I cannot stress enough that buying a wedding dress is not like buying a normal dress. Designers make your dress to order in a standard size '12' for example and then ship the dress out to your store. This usually takes 16-20 weeks at the least. Alterations are almost always needed and the average time your seamstress takes to do this is around two months.
Altogether ladies this means you need to be buying a dress at least six months before your wedding to allow you some breathing space.
Top tip: August brides have the busiest season so we'd recommend buying eight months in advance if you can.
Walking into an appointment with a vague idea of a style you like will banish so much wasted time and help the sales assistant suggest dresses that you may have over looked or not thought of. Researching online is the best way to gain ideas.
You know your body best;
- think about what you want to show off and what you're not so confident about
- think about the style of dresses you usually wear, what do they all have in common? What do you like about them?
- think about your venue; is it formal? informal? will a large train fit in?
- think about season; is it warm? do you need coverage or thin materials?
These factors and more apply when picking out the perfect style, make a list and take it into all the shops you go in. It might work out that everything you thought you wanted in a dress turns out to be completely different but taking the time to gather information first will guarantee you're not wasting precious time in your appointments.
3. Finding a store
When you've thought of a style try typing the key words into Google such as 'sweetheart neckline wedding dress' you will get thousands of images your way and soon you may be able to narrow it down to a designer. Try adding words to include your local area 'wedding dress shops in Nottingham' or even more precise 'wedding dress shops in Chilwell, Nottingham'. Browse a few websites that pop up and do the same on facebook, ask friends and family too.
Are you getting married in an alternate location to where you live? Have a look at bridal shops near there if it's not too out of the way as they will more than likely have had experience with your venue before and know what dresses work with it. Try looking at bridal shops near your parents house too, your mum will want to come a long to appointments and having one local to her will mean that she feels more involved.
Always book an appointment via phone or email it means your store will be focusing on you even if other people pop in whilst your appointment is going ahead and please let a store know if you're not going to make it, you don't have to have a reason but it's polite and saves them so much hassle!!
Top tip: Try not to book more than three appointments in one day because believe me girls, you will be frazzled by the end of it!
4. Choosing your audience
Initially you will probably want to take everyone you can to your dress appointments but have a good think about it. The people you take are ones you have to be comfortable with, who you can trust to tell you if your bum does look big and who will look out for your best interests?
- Your best friends - they will know what styles you like and what will wow all your other friends
- Your mum - if she loves it you know you're half way there to making the choice and you never know she might help with the costs too!
- His mum - she will love to feel involved and be flattered that you value her opinion
- Bridesmaids - all part of the wedding experience and it will be great to have a girly day
- His sisters/close friends - they can give you a great insight into what your hubby might think
- Try taking a mixture of your 'chosen audience' to your appointments to get different views and opinions.
Top tip: Most shops don't allow pictures to be taken so bring a small notepad and pen to your appointments so your friends/family can make notes of all your favourite dresses with possible marks out of five, what features you liked and which shop it was at so you can remember weeks later.
5. Hair and make-up
Trying on the most beautiful dress in the world would be a waste if you're not satisfied with how you look at the time. Although your hair and make-up will probably be determined later on, try and have a think about what style you're going for and casually re-create it to get a better idea of how this will work with a wedding dress.
Think details; If you're going with your hair down to an appointment always take a bobble and clip to get that alternate look. If you're going for those big red lips on the day try applying a very faint shade and making sure the dresses stay away from your face - you don't want to smudge!
6. Being prepared Do's and Don'ts
Do wear comfortable clothing that's easy to remove Do carry around spray deodorant -just in case Do ask for a glass of water or cup of tea when you arrive, it will calm you down Don't wear the shoes that make your feet sticky and smelly Don't rush around all day and stress yourself out Don't be nervous! Do enjoy it!
Although underwear may be the last thing on your mind this is one of the most important parts of a wedding dress appointment. Remember; a stranger is dressing you! Choose comfortable undies that work well with dresses. 'Shorts' are always a winner as you stay covered but be aware of VPL on a slim fitting dress. Wearing a strapless bra is ideal as they work with almost all dresses nude colours are even better, but don't rush out to buy one, tucking your straps in on a normal bra has the same effect.
There's nothing worse than holding back your feelings about a wedding dress. If you leave the dressing room, look into the mirror and hate what you're wearing, say it! Don't be rude just be honest. Describe what you don't like about the dress and why, then try finding something that you do like about it. This will help the assistant leaps and bounds and trust me they will not be offended, they'll just be happy they can understand why you're not into it and try to find you something that you will love!
When you've found your favourite dress from the appointment, put it back on to finish with and ask to experiment. Get an idea of what it looks like with a belt, bolero, tiara, veil, shoes, bracelet, earrings, necklaces the list goes on! Ask the assistant what accessories they would recommend, think what would bring your personality out through the dress. I will never forget the bride that added a black petticoat and sash to her dress to put on in the evening, she looked like such a rock star! It conveyed the style she loved perfectly and looked fantastic. No one wants to be forgotten on their wedding day, so stand out from the crowd and add your own personal twist.
10. Getting the 411
When you do decide on 'the one' make sure you get all the details of the dress. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of girls who have no idea who designed their dress. It's useful to know the facts. Before committing to buy ask the shop about their terms and conditions, make sure you're aware of what is expected of you and what to expect of your shop. Most shops require a deposit before they order. If you want to spread out the costs make sure you are able to do this, never just assume. It all sounds boring but you'll be thankful for checking out the details in case the worst should happen.
And there you have it, ten top tips that will hopefully help you out for your wedding dress appointments. Have you had any disasters? Had the best appointment ever? or have you got any tips of your own? Leave us a comment below and share your stories!