Shopping for your Wedding Dress: What to Expect

Shopping for your wedding dress should be a magical experience. Read on to find out what to expect..

You’re engaged, you’ve asked your best girls to be your bridesmaids, you’re on the hunt for the perfect wedding venue and now you’re ready for the moment you’ve always dreamed of: choosing your wedding dress! 

This exciting experience comes in a number of different stages; browsing designs, calculating your affordability, trying on numerous styles and eventually falling in love, again! 

This article has been designed to give you a guide on what to expect when you visit bridalwear shops. Having owned and managed the Bijoutique, designer bridalwear shop in Surrey for many years, the Bijou team have plenty of experience when it comes to meeting brides-to-be for the first time and guiding them to hopefully finding their dream wedding dress. However, the most fundamental things to consider when attending a dress appointment and trying on dresses (especially if it is for the first time) are: to feel confident, comfortable and calm. Everyone knows shopping for an important occasion can be stressful at the best of times, let alone for a once in a lifetime event. 

What to Expect at a Typical Wedding Dress Shop Appointment?

Every Bride wants to feel beautiful and special in her dress, so make sure your chosen entourage are supportive and sensitive to your feelings, making you feel like the centre of attention and a Goddess in every dress you put on - don’t let anyone steal the limelight. Honesty is great, but if you love it that’s all that counts!

When arriving, your consultant will show you around and make you feel at home; talking you through the different designers they stock and getting to know what look you’re envisaging for your day. You may be asked about budgets you’re (hoping) to stick within and what styles and designers you generally like, but this will be an informal chat to enable them to start picking dresses you will love. 

At the Bijoutique, we instil our brides with a luxury, intimate, stress free atmosphere. We also offer the Bridal party a glass of bubbly to add to the excitement of the appointment.

By Appointment Only 

It’s normal for a bridalwear shop to see you by appointment only, to ensure that there is a dedicated member of staff there to help and guide you – and so that you feel a sense of privacy when it comes to searching for your dream gown. An hour is given to allow brides to try on several different dresses but not get too overwhelmed by everything and feel rushed; this can be a confusing process! One hour keeps the Bride and the consultant focused on finding ‘The Dress’. 

At the Bijoutique, brides will typically pick on average five dresses from the racks to be taken into the changing room; styles they like, something they wouldn’t normally go for and, of course, something to please Mum. Five is usually plenty as this means the appointment isn’t rushed trying to fit into too many and brides can get long enough to comfortably get acquainted with a certain look. Any more than five dresses and the choice may become overwhelming. 

Guide and Support

Your bridalwear consultant is there to support and guide you around the shop, making a note of what you like and what you don’t. They will be in the changing room with you to make the dress fit to your body. Pins, clips and ribbon will be used to make you feel secure in the dress, so you can strut your stuff out of the changing room onto the boutique floor and WOW your awaiting admirers. 

The bride should feel under no pressure to commit to a dress, when you know, you know. Everyone needs that ‘This is the Dress’ moment.  If your appointment is unsuccessful, relax, take a deep breath and continue the search, there is a dress out there for everyone.  

What Happens Next? 

Some bridalwear shops, like the Bijoutique, will allow you to buy ‘off the rack’ which means that if you love it and it’s a perfect fit, then you can take your wedding dress home with you on the very same day - this is also known as 'ready to wear bridalwear'.  If however, you’re buying a brand new wedding dress then you can expect the following: 

  • Get measured 
  • Pay your deposit (and ask when you need to pay the final balance)
  • Leave your contact details 
  • Shop for accessories (wedding shoes, a veil, wedding hair accessories etc..) 
  • Wait for ‘the call’ to say that your wedding dress has arrived back in store
  • Go for a fitting and speak to a seamstress if you need further adjustments 

Top Tip: You may loose weight during the run up to your wedding, which may mean that your wedding dress might need some adjusting. If you’re buying a ‘ready to wear’ wedding dress, then be sure to try it on several times before your wedding, at home, so that you can see whether or not it may need adjusting a couple of weeks before your wedding. If this is the case, be sure to have a seamstress ready to help!