The sound of wedding bells is like a siren or wolf call for some. The second the word ‘Wedding’ is mentioned, the price sky rockets.
When you shop for a wedding dress, it’s no surprise that the sales assistants are lurking, the dresses are “limited stock” and only conveniently can be slightly discounted just for you because you’re their favourite bride currently standing in front of them. Swoon, wedding dress shopping! Now that we’re through that, if you’re like me and want something fantastic without all the b.s., follow my pointed toe pumps towards the shimmering light.
Wedding dress shopping doesn’t need to be a stressful, pressuring or overly expensive experience. It can be completely uplifting, suitably priced and surprising. You just need to learn how to navigate the stores like a pro and luckily, I’ve been finding a few dream dresses for some of my clients lately. So let me tell you my first tip:
MAKE APPOINTMENTS, AND A FEW MORE: One of my recent clients contacted me to find her a wedding dress for her big day in a few months time and without the help of a Stylist, and connections, this can be a fairly difficult task on short notice. Be aware that majority of Bridal houses are booked out a month in advance and weekends fill out the fastest.
RESEARCH ONLINE: There are so many different types of dresses out there, it’s great to get some images together and work out what styles you like on paper. Look at prices, read reviews on off-the-rack dresses and try to hunt down pictures of real brides in the dresses you like by searching for the wedding dress designer on Instagram, majority of the time a bride will tag the dress designer in her images so you’ll be able to see what it looks like in action.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE IN FOR: As the wedding industry thrives on one time customers, sometimes there are aspects of it that can rip us off without us realising until it’s too late. It’s a smart move to research the bridal boutique or brand you’re making appointments with, read reviews from multiple websites, if one continues to have bad reviews you’ll know to leave that one behind. Also, give the boutique a call and ask them what their contract policy is. I know of a Bride who put down a deposit on a dress in a Sydney boutique and half an hour later found the dress of her dreams, she went straight back to the store within the hour and they wouldn’t return her money even though they hadn’t even filed the paper work. It pays to know where you stand.
BE HONEST WITH THE BRIDAL CONSULTANT: She’s there to sell a dress and she probably works on commission and if she’s good at her job she probably sells some gorgeous pieces, but at the end of the day, she’s there to sell you something. Don’t go in there and let her pressure you into making a decision, this is a dress you’ll always remember, not a seasonal, flash-in-the-pan garment. If you don’t fall head over heels for it, don’t make any commitments.
TAKE YOUR MOST SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS: This is definitely not the time to take that cousin that secretly pisses you off to your dress appointments. It’s not an opportunity to win over future in-laws. This session is all about you and that’s entirely expected. Your most supportive loved ones will be there to help, not to criticise or tell you what they would choose. It’s your day and your dress.
KNOW YOUR TIME FRAME: The average dress takes months to make and the average time frame to make a dress is around eight months. If you want something custom, expect to give a minimum of six months notice unless you know someone in the industry. Off the rack dresses are a different story, they’re pre-made and available in store, however, they’ll likely need some alterations so leave a few hundred in your budget for that and beware that tulle shortening takes a specialist, not a regular alterations professional.
BE PREPARED FOR THE APPOINTMENT: Bring shoes you could imagine yourself standing in for a few hours that are a height you like, wear a great bra and decent underwear because trust me, you’re not the only one who will see them that day!
KNOW THAT WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU’D GET IS OFTEN NOT WHAT YOU END UP WITH: So many brides start off with an idea of what they want and end up with something completely different, because, like true love, we don’t really pick it, it’s fate. To cross paths with your dream dress, you’ll only know it when you try it on, so make sure you try as many dresses on as you can. It’s all about options and in the wedding industry, there’s a lot of those – so don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
LOOK FOR THE REST OF THE WEDDING STYLIST – 5 PART SERIES?
- The Wedding Stylist
- How To Dress Your Bridesmaids
- What Groomsmen Should Wear
- What To Know Before Buying Your Wedding Dress
- What To Wear As Mother Of The Bride