Finding THE dress - an introduction

A step-by-step process of how to shop for the perfect wedding dress 

If you're looking at a designer wedding dress, book well in advance

As soon as possible, start to make appointments to try on dresses (squeal!) If you're looking for a particular designer, take a look at their stockist pages and locate the nearest one to you.

Don't forget to try on bridal accessories whilst you're there and take the shoes you're planning to wear as the heel height makes a difference to the final appearance of your chosen dress.

Made-to-measure dresses will need at least a six-month lead time, so it's best to start the search early on. Also, keep a look out for Designer Days for regional stockists of your favourite designers - this is when the year's entire collection is available for you to see and try on. 

When looking for a dress, allow plenty of time if you are looking for either a designer gown or a bespoke design from a seamstress.
The process –

Find a shop or a dressmaker that you can easily visit who offers the range of dresses that you are interested in.
Decide whether you are looking for:

  • A ‘label’ dress that will be made to your measurements to match the sample you have tried on at the shop.
  • An off-the-peg dress that you will take as it stands (with alterations as necessary).
  • A custom design option that you will personally specify/design with the dressmaker. (Beware the Internet option – if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.)

Top Tips:

  • Dress designers list local stockists on their website.
  • Find a shop that you feel offers good advice and not just good salesmanship.
  • Make an appointment for a consultation.
  • Ask about the number of fittings and delivery.
  • Ask about cost of alterations.
  • Ask about accessories (veils, jewellery etc) so that you can get an idea of the ‘finished look’.
  • Ask if there is a ‘delivery to venue’ service (steaming your dress after a journey in a car is not something you want to have to worry about on the morning of your wedding)
  • Once you have chosen your dress or design put the dates of the fittings on your TimeLine and start to think about shoes, underwear etc.