Give yourself plenty of time

If you’re having a wedding dress made for you, the dress shop may need up to 12 months from the time the order is placed until the day you pick it up. Don’t worry about it being too early, go and choose that dress!

Wedding dress shopping is such a special experience. So preparing for it using these simple wedding dress shopping hints and tips is a great way to be sure you'll be ready when you find 'the one'. Don't take too many people with you (limit to maid of honour or mother of the bride), know your wedding dress budget and trust the advice of the store assistant, all ways to ensure you make a great decision.  Be prepared to try on lots of different styles of wedding dresses and be sure to take these things with you too...

Have a rough idea of your budget

And be confident in discussing this when you get to your appointment. There is no point trying on wedding dresses way over budget that will only cause heartbreak if you fall in love with them. Let the assistant know your budget so that you can work together on choosing your dream dress that is affordable to you. Also consider alterations, this can add several £100s to the overall cost of your dress.

Don’t buy your wedding dress online

It’s easy to be tempted by all the stunning wedding dresses online, especially when they are so cheap! But they don’t work out so cheap when you have to buy another one because it’s nothing like you expected! The  horror stories are real. Don’t risk your money and pay for a knock-off designer dress. If your budget is restricting, visit a local warehouse ‘off-the-rack’ store, or consider buying second hand (be sure to try it and be happy with it first). At least then, you can try your dress on and know exactly what you’re paying for with no surprises down the line.

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Just take a couple of close friends/relatives

Trying on wedding dresses for the first time is a special experience. If you’ve got 10 girls with you, all shouting up with different opinions, yours may be lost. You may find yourself being influenced against what you believe to be ‘the one’ and end up choosing a gown based on the majority vote. By just taking a close relative or friend (your mum or maid of honour) you can listen to opinions that truly matter to you, as well as being able to voice and hear your own.

Don’t try by size

Wedding dress sizes can alter tremendously. Don’t be shocked or upset if you find yourself going up 2-3 dress sizes. This is very normal in the wedding dress world.

Take the time to do your hair and make up

It’s a day when you’ll want to feel amazing. If you’ve taken the time to do your hair and make-up, the extra confidence that you’ll have will make a big difference to how you feel in a wedding dress. It’s definitely not the kind of shopping trip that you rush out of the door for wearing last night’s mascara and a messy pony-tail.

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Take the advice of an experienced bridal dress store owner

They do this day in and day out. They know how to make a girl feel gorgeous in a dress. Trust their opinion. If they advise trying a style that you’d not considered, give it a go. You may find that you are pleasantly surprised by the results. If not, you’ve not lost anything.

Try lots of different styles

Similar to the last point, be open to different styles. You may have a clear idea of what you’re looking for before you step foot inside the shop. But, so many brides say they opted for something completely different after trying different styles. You have nothing to lose by trying on lots of different dresses and it may alleviate the after-purchase ‘did I buy the right one?’ if you were happy that other dresses didn’t give you that same ‘wow’ feeling when you tried it on.

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Wear pretty underwear

You may find that you need help trying on a wedding dress. The assistants will be very used to helping with this and have seen it all before. But, no one wants to be caught in their Bridget-Jones style, waist high granny pants do they? Wear or take a strapless bra with you too. This will give you a better idea of how a strapless wedding dress looks. Alternatively, if you’d be more comfortable trying on wedding dresses in body-shape wear, that’s fine too!

Try sitting down in your dress

A figure-hugging lace gown may look stunning, but if you can’t step forward or sit down in it, you won’t be comfortable on your wedding day. Sitting down to eat and toilet breaks are unavoidable so be sensible when choosing our gown. Comfort is important too.

Take some heels

If you’re planning on wearing heels on your wedding day, you’ll need to know how your dress looks with that extra height. Have a pair in your bag if you don’t want to wear them all day.

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Don’t write off one bad experience

It’s rare that you’ll hear of a ‘bad experience’ when wedding dress shopping, but it does happen. One store might not have had dresses that flattered your shape, or perhaps the assistant was having a bad day and was very unhelpful. Remember, it was a one off. Try another wedding dress shop and let them make you feel like a princess after the first shop failed.

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