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Advice and tips on shopping for your wedding dress

Of all of the things on your wedding to do list, shopping for your wedding dress might be the most exciting. It might also be something that makes you feel nervous, confused, worried or even just a little bit overwhelmed. To help make this shopping experience one you’ll love, we’ve put together this little guide to give you confidence when you start your search for ‘the one’…

We won’t beat about the bush. Shopping for a wedding dress is a BIG thing. Not only do the gowns tend to cost quite a lot of money, but the whole purchase is so wrapped up with emotions and hopes and the odd little insecurity or two. Let’s just say here and now that the best bridal boutiques want to help you. They want to make you comfortable and they want the whole process to be memorable and enjoyable and they want your wedding gown to be just perfect for you. If you don’t feel happy in a boutique, it’s not the right one for you. Remember that this should be something to really enjoy.

 

Choosing a bridal boutique

This is obviously where it all starts so do take a little time to research boutiques. If there’s a designer that you’re keen on, visit their website to find your nearest stockist. Otherwise, visit some of the wedding blogs and directories to find boutiques in your area or check out the credits of real weddings in magazines. Visit the boutique’s website, find out what designers they stock and, if everything looks good, book yourself an appointment!  We recently shared one of our fave wedding dress boutiques on the blogHeart Aflutter Bridal.

 

Heart Aflutter wedding dress, gold sequin wedding dress, London wedding photographer Amanda Karen Photography

 

Your wedding dress appointment

Now this is where it starts to get really exciting! Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your boutique appointment:

  • Take time to talk to your bridal stylist at the start of the appointment. This will help them suggest the best gowns for you to try on.
  • Be open to new ideas and try on a whole range of different style gowns. Some dresses only come to life when they’re worn so don’t discount one just because it doesn’t look great on the hanger.
  • Limit the number of people that you bring to your appointment. One or two trust friends or family members will be enough. More people equals more ‘helpful’ comments and that definitely leads to more confusion!
  • Please don’t worry about your stylist seeing you in your underwear! They absolutely don’t judge and they really will have seen everything before.
  • Don’t expect to be able to take photos at your appointment and in fact, it can be a good idea not to. It’s highly unlikely that the gown you try on will be a perfect fit and any photos you do take won’t really be a proper representation of what you’ll look like on the day.
  • If you find the gown you want to order, remember that most boutiques will require a deposit (usually around 50% of the total cost of the dress) when you order. This figure won’t include the cost of any alterations that the dress might need so it can be a good idea to ask about these.
  • Check with your boutique how long it might be before your gown arrives or, if you’re on a super short timescale, let them know this before your appointment. Some designers can work with ‘rush orders’ but there might be an extra cost involved.
  • Before you leave your boutique, find out what happens next. How long might it be before your dress arrives, when’s the best time to have your dress altered, what accessories will you need to bring to your fitting? Make sure that all your questions are answered so that you can relax.

 

Jewelled wedding dress, London wedding photographer, Amanda Karen Photography

 

Sample sales and trunk shows

If you’re looking for a bridal bargain then a sample sale could be perfect. These sales take place when a boutique is looking to sell off excess stock or sample gowns and the prices are usually greatly reduced. Obviously, the dresses will only be available in certain sizes and you might have to take the gown away then and there and pay in full at that time but if you’re a serious shopper, sample sales are brilliant. Most boutiques will advertise them on their websites or on wedding blogs and you’ll still need to book an appointment so be sure to get in quick!

Trunk shows are a little different but they do give you the chance to see every gown from a designer’s collection rather than the edit that’s usually stocked by the boutique. Again, these are advertised widely online by boutiques and designers and most boutiques will give you a small discount (usually 10%) if you order a dress at a designer’s trunk show.

 

Wedding dress hanging from stairwell, London wedding photagrapher Amanda Karen Photography

 

One of the great things about photographing bridal prep is the chance to take great images of your wedding dress.  There is often a real hidden gem where you are getting ready for me to hang your dress and take beautiful photos of it.  It is after all part of your wedding story.

Until next time,

Amanda x

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