Wedding Dresses: Finding the One

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

It's never too soon to start trying on wedding dresses. We've even heard that some girls know what dress they are going to wear before their future husband has popped the question! 
However, if you would like to stick to tradition, as soon as you've announced your engagement, you can start to get your serious wedding dress shop on.

How to Find Bridalwear Shops?

  • Ask your married friends for recommendations
  • Flick through Magazines
  • Browse online wedding directories and narrow your search down by postcode, town or county
  • Check out your local high street

As soon as possible, start to make appointments to try on dresses. There are so many styles and designs around that finding 'the one' could take longer than you think.  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.

Finding your Dream Wedding Dress

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 designer 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 bespoke 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 when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress:

  • 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 how much deposit you need to put down if you decide to buy on the day - and when the final balance would be due. 
  • Ask about cost of alterations.
  • Ask about accessories (veils, jewellery etc) so that you can get an idea of the ‘finished look’.
  • Ask how far in advance of your wedding you will have your final alterations and if you will be given a dust bag to protect your dress from that date until your wedding in terms of transporting it.
  • 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 wedding TimeLine and start to think about shoes, underwear etc.

Need a Wedding Dress in a Hurry?

Don't ever worry about finding a wedding dress in a hurry. If you've booked a last-minute wedding, you'll still have plenty of time to find and buy your dream wedding dress. Firstly, search for wedding dress shops that offer you the chance to buy off the rack. Not only will you be able to take the dress home with you on the day, but you might find that wedding dresses off the rack may be priced slightly lower than a dress that needs ordering and then altering at the shop. Popular high street shops and department stores may also have a collection of ready to wear wedding dresses that you may be interested in, if you're shopping in a hurry.