The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress: Part 2

This is the 2nd part of the Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress, where I list out some tips that will hopefully be helpful to you when attending your bridal boutique appointments, and how you’ll know when you’ve found the perfect wedding dress for you.

Part 2: Bridal Boutique Appointments and How Do You Know If You’ve Found Your Wedding Dress

While some bridal boutiques will charge you a fee for an appointment (may be redeemable against the purchase of a wedding dress), there are many others that do not.

Appointments are usually an hour long, so there may be a limit to the number of dresses you can try on. As wedding dresses can be heavy, a bridal consultant will be there to help you get in and out of the wedding dress.

As wedding dress shopping can be an overwhelming experience, here are some do’s and don’ts that I’ve gathered:

  • Don’t buy the first dress you see. Try as many dresses as permissible and a variation of styles including ones that you won’t normally wear and have an open mind about it.

  • Don’t let a pushy sales assistant (or your mom for that matter) bully you into buying a wedding dress you don’t feel 100% about. Remember that they’re supposed to be there to help you.

  • Don’t bring too many people with you dress shopping. 1 or 2 people is fine. Too many opinions will confuse you.

  • Take into consideration things like where you’re going to have your wedding, the time of the year it will be held, and whether you’ll be travelling with the dress, to help narrow down the wedding dresses that you think will be THE ONE. Travelling with your wedding dress can be a nightmare if you are getting a cinderalla-esque wedding dress, with layers and layers of tulle and petticoat, in materials that crease easily.

  • Don’t get too dressed up for your appointment at the boutique because you’ll be stripped to your underwear once you’ve made your selection of wedding dress to try. As for your choice of underwear, wear a good strapless bra (or one with detachable straps), and nice knickers (nothing frilly) that you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in as the bridal consultant will be in the changing room with you, helping you into the wedding dresses. Alternatively, you could don a pair of your trusted shapewear pants if you feel too self conscious.

  • Although most shops will usually have this, bring a hair clip or some hair grips with you so that you can put your hair up or down when you’re trying on the wedding dresses as it’ll help you visualise the complete look. You might also want to bring a pair of high heeled shoes, although they may also be provided for by the bridal boutiques.

  • Don’t be shy to ask your bridal consultant for advice! Ask them to recommend slimming wear and bras to wear under the wedding dress as well as accessories that they would recommend to complete your bridal look.

  • Most bridal boutiques do not allow photographs to be taken while you’re still in the selection stage, so don’t bother with a camera.

  • If you think you have found “the one”, stop and breathe. I encourage you to walk away and leave the store without the dress, so you have time to thinks things through and make up your mind. You can always go back to get the dress, when you’re certain you’ve found “the one”.

  • Ask yourself, “Will I regret wearing this wedding dress in 10 years time?”. Try not to get a dress that it too on-trend, as it will look dated in 10 – 20 years time (hello, pouffy sleeves of the 80s).

  • Lastly, enjoy yourself!

How Do You Know If You’ve Found Your Wedding Dress

Final Decision

You may or may not cry when you finally decide on THE wedding dress. I didn’t cry when I found my wedding dress.

Personally, I feel that the “OH MY GOD” moment that you hear about so often when you find your wedding dress is overrated.  I felt beautiful in so many of the wedding dresses that I tried on that it started getting confusing. I’d have moments where I’d think I found my wedding dress, only to find something even more beautiful and to my liking on my next bridal appointment or sample sale visit.

In the end, after falling in love with so many dresses, the deciding factor for me was the cost of the dress, and it’s availability. After months of searching, I finally took the plunge and bought my wedding dress at a  Pronovias sample sale.

I had tried the dress on a week prior when I had an appointment with them, and it was one of my favourite wedding dresses. When I saw it at the sample sale a week later (even though it was current season), I snapped it up without even trying it on again, as it was being worn by a mannequin at the display window. I remember feeling really giddy and excited while I waited for them to remove the wedding dress from the mannequin.

I think finding your wedding dress is a process and it’s not the “OMG-THIS-IS-IT!!!!” experience a lot of people make it out to be. So don’t freak out and start doubting yourself if you don’t create a scene after you’ve found your wedding dress. Just trust yourself to know, when you’ve found the one.

The Purchase

Assuming that you’re buying a brand new wedding dress, once you’ve made your decision, the bridal boutique will normally order in the wedding dress for you in the size closest to yours, which will then be altered to fit you.

To order your wedding dress, you would normally be expected to pay a 50% deposit, with the remainder paid at your first fitting, or in several installments. Every bridal boutique will have their own payment plan. If you’re buying a sample wedding dress, you’ll have to pay the sale price in full on the spot, but you’ll get to take the wedding dress home with you on that very day.

Before you sign the dotted line, make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of the sale, and ask any questions you may have regarding the purchase of the wedding dress, e.g.  can you get a refund of your deposit if you change your mind about the dress and what is the penalty if you ask for a refund or change your order to a different wedding dress.

Avoiding dress regret

Once you find the dress and paid for your wedding dress (or put down a deposit), stop searching. Just stop. Stop looking at wedding blogs for wedding dress inspirations. Don’t go to a forum asking for validation if it’s the right wedding dress for you. Trust yourself when you KNOW you’ve found THE wedding dress for you.

That being said, If you’re having doubts, you could go to the boutique and try the wedding dress again to remind yourself why you fell in love with it in the first place.

However, if you decide to get a different wedding dress, ask the boutique if they will transfer your deposit to the new wedding dress of your choice. You may be charged a penalty fee, so be certain that you’re willing to pay the extra fee to change your mind.

Alternatively, you could list the original wedding dress for sale on a preowned wedding dress website.

Admittedly, while I’m glad I’ve already bought my wedding dress and that part of the process is over, there’s still this nagging worry in my head that with a whole new collection of gowns coming out next year, I’ll find some other dress I love and end up having dress regret. So to counter that, I’ve stopped looking at wedding dresses, even though I continue to read wedding blogs.

As for buying a sample wedding dress so far in advance of the wedding date, there’s the issue of space. As those living in small London flats would know, space is scarce. I didn’t have space for it in my cupboard, so my poor wedding dress, still stuffed in its garment bag, was left hanging on my cupboard door for months. Also, there’s a chance the material may start to discolour before I wear it on my wedding day and this is more likely to happen to dresses made of lace . These are some of the trade-offs that I was willing to take for buying my wedding dress at a fraction of the original price.

I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of this series and found it helpful, as in Part 3 of the Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress, I’ll be breaking down how much it will cost to alter your wedding dress to fit you and show you why it’s important to factor in those costs when you choose your wedding dress.

If you would like to read Parts 1 and 3, follow the links below:

Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress 

Part 1: How to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress 

Part 3: Altering Your Wedding Dress

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