Do I wear a veil? Do I have a train? White, ivory, long, short, and who knew how many blinking necklines there were, I mean, what the hell is a Bateau?! It really is a minefield when it comes to the dress, and it is an aspect of a wedding which is probably one of the most important things for the bride. For that reason, I am going to share my experience and some top tips along the way.
If you have read my previous blog posts, you will know that I got engaged on my 21st birthday (this was in the August) we discussed the 5 top things from my blog Engaged? 5 questions to think about the day after that. We then booked our venue in the September for 21 months later. I got my dress that November- Yes 19 month before I was due to get married.
Top tip 1: don’t go dress shopping too early!
Now these tips are purely from my experience, some brides might have got their dresses 19 months previous and everything be fine, but for me, it wasn’t the case. I knew I wanted to go shopping with a range of people, 1 being my mum, my mother in law to be, and my maid of honour. My logic for early shopping was; I thought it would be stress free as I knew I had loads of time, I could go a few times with a combination of different people, I would have an idea of how I looked and whether I wanted to lose weight, but most importantly I knew it would be lots and lots of fun and I am too impatient to bloody wait! Unfortunately, though it did lead to problems:
- I found my dress on the second shopping trip, and at that point, I was too scared to ever go shopping again because in my mind- that was my dress.
- I lost weight, at my final fitting I had gone down 2 dress sizes so my dress had to be majorly altered.
- The bridal shop relocated, so for safe keeping, I had to bring my dress home and store it for roughly 12 months
- I forgot what it looked like! I had pictures of it but once I started losing the weight, I didn’t know how the dress would look on me thinner.
In a nutshell, start shopping for your dress around the 12 months to go mark.
Top tip 2: find the right bridal shop for you
This may sound like an odd tip but I will explain…
1st shop-I walked in, I was giddy and really excited, and the store owner was incredibly rude to me and wouldn’t allow me to even look so early before my big day- I vowed that I wouldn’t go back.
2nd shop– it was beautiful, it was a boutique, 1 to 1 service, amazing dresses, but every one of them was double my budget!
3rd shop-It was ok at first; it was a bigger store, had lots of brides stood on boxes trying on dresses, so less intimate, but I could cope with that. I was in the changing cubical with the sales assistant, which is difficult in itself, stood in your undies with a complete stranger. But it wasn’t made better when she was tying up the back and said, “this one will make you look 2 sizes smaller!” I thought…who says I want to look 2 sizes smaller! What if I am happy with my average size 14! I walked out of the cubical onto my box where my Mum and maid of honour were waiting, with tears in my eyes… But then, like Goldilocks I found a shop that was just right- I guess you could have called me Goldifrocks! The staff were amazing, I was given the shop exclusively, they were complimentary, they were experienced and knew exactly how to support me in finding the one- they were brilliant.
Top tip 3: think about your underwear etc…
This one is easy, you’re trying on a white/ivory dress (probably) don’t wear bright or black underwear.
Top tip 4: thinks about the venue and the plan of your day
Hopefully, you won’t be like me and find the dress before deciding anything else, so think about any problems you might face by picking a certain dress. For example, a smaller wedding in a small intimate venue might not fit a big Cinderella dress inside! Or, an outside marquee wedding might be difficult with a 10ft train ploughing the land- just have a think about how you can look amazing, feel amazing but be comfortable too.
Top tip 5: budget for the extras
Do you know what a hoop is, in relation to a wedding dress? If you do, well done, because I had no clue! There will be lots of extras that you may not have considered when budgeting for your dress. Think about a veil (you wouldn’t believe the price of them!) a hoop, (is basically a big underskirt with a hoop at the bottom to help your dress keep a shape and so you don’t trip!) Alterations, mine were included in the price but some shops charge extra. Here a few more that you might not have thought of:
- Headdress- tiaras, clips etc
- Underwear- you don’t want a pant line when you’re working the Pippa Middleton look!
- Jewellery- determined a lot by your dress neckline
- Shoes- determined a lot by your dress length
- Shawls- getting married in winter may mean buying a shawl or a fur wrap, you don’t want to borrow Aunt Mildred’s cardigan because you’re starting to look like your something blue!
- Evening outfit- in case you want to change into something else for the reception.
So they’re my tips based on my personal experience of wedding dress shopping, I wish all you brides out there an amazing experience, enjoy it, smile, take your time and find the one!
Final tip: Take your own fizz!
Don’t do what I did, and assume that fizz is complimentary at all bridal shops, it’s not-but it is a necessity!