I’ve done it. I’ve finally done it. After two years of window shopping, Pinterest stalking, trashy telly watching, endless questioning, bridal boutique-hopping… I’ve finally bought my wedding dress. Phew!
I’d love to tell you that I’ve always been one of those nonchalant types, never really thinking about her wedding day or what her dress would
look like. But I’m not. I am definitely not. I’ve always dreamed of that day, in that dress, with whoever I love there with me, surrounded by friends and family. That has never wavered. (Well, actually it has, once, but that’s for a whole different post).
There are various things I wish I’d known before embarking on that final stage – actually setting foot in a wedding dress shop (or a bridal boutique as I now know they are called… fancy!). So, I’m going to tell you all what I wish I was armed with before diving it head first (into the experience and into the dresses!).
- It isn’t always like the movies.
Granted, I did truly have those sharp-intake-of-breath-oh-my-god-why-is-everything-so-amazing-and-probably-bloody-expensive-I’m-in-insta-heaven moments like they have in the films, which was one of my main highlights. These ‘boutiques’ were beyond incredible. Welcomed with prosecco/tea and coffee in the mornings, introduced properly and invited to make ourselves comfortable on the most gorgeous chaise lounge
I’ve ever seen. All the heart-eyed emojis. There was one particular boutique that the moment we entered, I wanted to do an instant U-turn.
Not because the place was awful– the total opposite actually. It was so beautiful, that I didn’t think I’d afford anything, and the slim, attractive lady helping me would laugh at the thought of a curvy girl wanting to even look at one of her flowing gowns that angels made with the thread from cupids bow. But she didn’t, and these pieces of heaven didn’t cost the same as your average car. Amazing. The appointment was incredible, I was the only girl in the shop, giving me complete free reign (hello 25024 dresses in the changing room), the lady helping me was an angel, my mum cried when I donned a dress and the boutique looked like something straight out of the perfect Insta shoot. I would live there if I could and highly recommend to any brides to be. Oh and bridesmaids too, their range was exquisite but we were on a ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ mission, so didn’t have time to swoon in too much detail.
There was another bridal salon that was similar, but you had other girls in the place with you. You had your own space, and the ladies would occasionally walk past you, giving you lovely compliments and reassurance as they glided past, so I didn’t really mind. Something to think about if it is a concern you have for whatever reason.
However, I also tried a bridal salon that was more appropriate if you’re looking for a dress comfortably under the £1000 mark. This was an entirely different experience. The lady working with me was very abrupt, commenting on my shape and saying
‘no!’ to my family that had come with me to share the day with me. She brought in dresses I didn’t want and wouldn’t let me try on the dresses I wanted to, or that my family had picked, until we tried on hers. When she saw my spine surgery scar, she commented on the fact I’d need to cover it up and that ‘I’ll never find the perfect dress’. She also bitched about other brides and their families throughout my appointment, even when they were in the next cubicle. Lovely. I took my ‘really short torso’ and ‘big thighs’ and sassy-walked my way out of there. I’m all for saving money, but not to be treated like that.
- You don’t have to wear nude underwear. Rookie error. I just assumed that because I was wearing mostly white, delicate dresses that nude would be best. Every lady I spoke to said to wear the sort of underwear you might wear on the day (within reason!).
- You might not find ‘the’ dress right away, but you might. My first and only time shopping was purely meant as a window-shop-but-on-your-body type thing. No pressure, just to see what’s out there, what suits me and what a reasonable budget for a dress looks like. I was lucky to find mine so easily, but I believed my relaxed outlook helped me see things clearly and take my time with decision.
- Speaking of which, leave plenty of time. I started my quest a year before our wedding day, giving plenty of time for me to find the dress, budget for it, lose weight for it (personal choice) and for it to be made and delivered in plenty time for alterations. Knowing what your dress looks like also makes shopping for things like bridesmaid dresses, kilts/suits and flowers a lot easier.
- Go for the giggle factor. Try on styles you wouldn’t in a million years usually try on, or think you’ll like! That fishtail you will never be able to walk in, the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding reject or the barely-there-who-am-I-trying-to-kid style and everything in between. Dresses look completely different off the hanger to how they look on. Take the risk. Granted, I’ve gone for the type of dress I thought I would, but I’m so glad that I did try on all sorts. It actually helped with my body confidence as the more fitted dresses suited me far more than I thought they would. A backwards but great thing.
- Wear comfortable clothes that you feel good in. If, like me, looking at yourself in a mirror all day is your idea of Chinese water torture, you need all the help you can get. Shave your legs, put on your favourite perfume and an outfit that is very you – which for me was my go-to ‘jeans and a nice top’ staple outfit – and easy to take off and on quickly. The day itself is great but tiring, so you will need to preserve all your energy for jumping in and out of dream dresses and bracing yourself for the reactions of your loved ones (good and bad). Also, who wants to be faffing with 20 buttons when you could be floating around like a Disney princess? #aintnobodygottimefodat.
- Take lots of photos. You will forget what your favourites look like, trust me. You try on so many gorgeous gowns that they all blend into one chiffon, lace, satin, sleeveless, a-line, fishtail princess blur. Most places let you take photos freely (I was able to facetime my Irish bridesmaid in one of the boutiques, wearing the dress I chose, to get her opinion before I decided either way. She cried. The good kind of cry.
So, ladies and jellymen, that is my tips and tricks when it comes to all things bridal boutique! Remember, don’t feel pressured and trust your gut instinct.
Do you have any stories? Share them below!
‘til next time,