The REAL Truth About Wedding Dress Shopping

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When it comes to buying your wedding dress by the time you set foot in your first shop there’s a high chance well meaning friends and family have built you up to expect some sort of Cinderella Fairy God Mother moment.

Singing birds and sparkles….well, the sparkles might be right if there’s a glass of champers on the go.

Be assured when you finally walk down the aisle and see your loved one’s face as they catch the first glimpse of you gliding towards them you WILL get that magical moment. Until then, expect a rollercoaster of emotion that, if you’re not careful, will see you transform into Bridezilla without you even noticing.

Your expectations will be high, your friends and family will annoy the life out of you and at some point you will decide it’s better to go in your jeans than put on another dress. But, by being prepared, knowing what you’re in for and getting your bridal battle plan in action it is possible to eradicate any wedding dress shopping stress.

Wedding Dress Shopping

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Not everyone is a fairy godmother

There’s this thing about humans…we’re not all the same and no matter how much you want every sales agent in a wedding dress shop to be bright and bubbly and excited about your dress, it won’t always happen.
It’s not that they’re bad at what they do but there will be some people you just won’t gel with. Either they won’t understand the style you want or someone could be having an off day. If this happens don’t persevere out of politeness, be honest, tell the shop owner/assistant that you’re just not feeling the dresses at all and ask whether you can come back another day.

2. Timing is everything

Most people will gasp at the idea of this but don’t go dress shopping just after a big lunch with the girls…are you trying to give yourself a breakdown?
What about your time of the month, don’t be daft and try to fit wedding dress shopping around a time when you may be likely to just want to lie on the sofa eating crisps and watching rom coms.
Try not to have to rush somewhere else afterwards, you need time to think and make decisions, otherwise you could end up saying “no” to the perfect dress or worse saying “yes” to the wrong dress.

Wedding Dress SHopping 4

3. Moderation is key

No one is trying to deny you a glass of bubbly, but really, will you feel the same at shop 4 as you did at shop 1 if you’ve had a few glasses of bubbly in between? Check who’s offering a refreshment and space out the trips.

4. Saying “no” is ok !

So many women have a complete meltdown when they can’t find something they like in a particular shop. Maybe their best friend got the dress of their dreams at that particular shop or it’s the one you were looking forward to visiting. Thing is these people are used to people leaving without having made a decision. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to think about it or making another appointment.

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5. Decisions, decisions

There is nothing worse than your friends and family sitting on the fence. But you can be sure it will happen. If you’re lucky you will have one person who will be very vocal when something looks hideous on you, but the best that you can hope for is them saying “do you like it?”.
Understand this…you’re on your own, this is your decision and no one is going to put themselves in the firing line by saying anything that will implicate them in a future Bridezilla moment.

6. Trust

Don’t trust your judgement of something on a hanger, we all know dresses look very different on an actual body. Look for elements of the dress that you like such as lacing, fabric, neckline, length etc…and be open to trying on some things you aren’t sure about.
However, when it comes to looking in the mirror TRUST YOURSELF, don’t forget to stand off the podium and even look at yourself sitting down as well.

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7. Be realistic

You must be realistic, make sure that your budget equals your expectations. Don’t go to the shops with a picture of next season’s top designer’s iconic dress and expect to get it for a three-figure sum.
If you want inspiration from designer dresses but you haven’t the budget, pick elements that you like and ask in the shop whether they have anything similar but at some point you will have to try other things.
If there’s a specific design you are looking for, maybe you could approach a local dressmaker. It’s worth checking out some prices as some dressmakers will create bespoke pieces from your suggestions.

8. Buyer remorse is normal

Don’t worry, you will go through many stages of loving, loathing and not caring about your dress. This is a perfectly normal emotional rollercoaster and you should just let it run it’s course.

Wedding Dress Shopping

9. It’s hard work

FACT. Wedding dress shopping is mentally, emotionally and physically draining and exhausting. Try not to bring anyone with you that could potentially cause you upset. Don’t bring people because you feel you have to, only bring the people you trust that will help to make the whole experience as stress free as possible.
Don’t be afraid to go sneaky wedding dress shopping on your own, or call back to places to try on dresses for the second time without an audience.

By Tina Calder, Excalibur Press

NW Brides Edition 10