After opening my bridal shop in Kent in the beautiful town of Sevenoaks, I noticed a lot of brides were nervous about their first ever appointment to try on wedding dresses. There is no rule book of “dos and don’ts” so here are a few tips to help you along your way.
Firstly and most important is to relax, don’t be nervous - this should be a really lovely experience at a very special time of your life. At Dress Dreams we will welcome you in, offer you a complimentary refreshment - glass of champagne, tea, coffee, or even a camomile tea if needed to calm. Then we will simply have a chat. This helps to put you at ease; helps you to get to know us and us to get to know you; and helps us understand your vision for your wedding.
Before your appointment you should try to have an idea of what your vision of yourself on our wedding day is. Some have a good idea what they want and others don’t. Do you want to be a fairy-tale princess, a boho bride, vintage inspired bride, classic and elegant, beach bride, or something completely different? If you don’t know, just ask for help. We love to help and often just pick out the perfect dress for a bride that she previously would have disregarded just seeing it hanging on the rail.
Your dress should match your character, personality, body shape and venue. When trying on each dress try to visualise yourself walking up the aisle in it, dancing in it, sitting down and eating in it, having your photographs taken in it and looking back on those photos in years to come knowing that “yes, I chose the perfect timeless dress that was perfect for me”.
Sit down in it, walk up and down the shop in it. Get a feel of how the fabric moves and ensure you can cope moving in it all day and night on your big day. A bridal gown is not the same as high street day-to-day casual clothes. It is more like a costume as there is much more structure to the dress. Most dresses have boning and cups to give them shape and support, so it will feel quite different.
Try on a veil and hair accessory so you get the whole complete look. Often brides say they are not going to have a veil until they actually try one on then they feel it completes the bridal look for the ceremony. You can always take it off after your photographs.
Bring shoes with you in case the bridal shop doesn’t have any. It is best you bring a pair with a heel height you are comfortable in. If you have already bought your wedding shoes then bring these to your appointment.
Wear minimal make-up and no fake tan as both of these stain the dresses (which all get sold off in a sample sale at the end of the season to make way for new stock).
You will need to use your imagination as to even how much more fabulous you will look with all your hair and make-up done to perfection on the day.
Observe how you feel in each dress. Notice your reaction to each dress when you look in the mirror or ask whoever is with you to observe your reaction. I love it when I see a bride beaming in a dress - then I know she loves it! If you have a big smile on your face and you can’t stop smiling then that is a really good sign.
This may sound obvious, but if you find a dress that you love and feel nothing can match up to it, then buy it. If you feel special and gorgeous in it, then buy it. If you think “Oh it’s so ME”, then buy it! Don’t waste time traipsing around another 5 bridal shops to just make sure. You will compare every other dress to it, try on 20-30 more dresses, confuse yourself, give yourself sleepless nights, and wake up in the middle of the night dreaming of wedding dresses. Don’t waste your precious time and energy when you have so many other things to organise and enjoy. Believe me, it’s no fun trying on dresses that just don’t do it for you - it’s actually quite frustrating and disappointing.
If you don’t like a dress take it off immediately. Don’t waste time in the wrong dress because when you find one you love you will not want to take it off. This will also give you more time at your appointment to try another few dresses that you initially hadn’t chosen to try on. Every wrong one is one step closer to the right one.
Take on board people’s opinions, but remember they will like what they like and their taste may be different to yours. Your opinion is the only one that really matters at the end of the day. Buy the dress you love, not the one you think will please people or meet expectations. We all want reassurance from others but it is you who will wear the dress and it is you who will have to look back at the photos in years to come and you want to still love your dress and know that you chose the right one.
Bringing too many people to your appointment can confuse you. They all want to see you in different dresses that they will like. Each dress will be met with a different opinion; some will love it and others not so much. Stay focused on what you want and what you like. Don’t try on dresses that you know you don’t like just to entertain and keep your party happy. Try to keep it to two or three people (usually your mother and sister or Chief Bridesmaid). Then if you really want to involve all of your bridal party women bring them along to your first fitting or make another appointment after you have purchased the dress.
Don’t be afraid to visit a bridal shop on your own. A lot of brides do this. It’s difficult to get everyone schedules together and organise a day together. If you get a day-off during the week make an appointment and go in on your own. You will find it’s a lot more relaxed during the week and you can have more time in your appointment. Get it down to your favourite 2 or 3 dresses then go back with your mum/bridesmaid/dad or whoever has the honour of accompanying you on this special event.
Finally, when you have chosen your wedding dress and put your deposit down, celebrate! Congratulations! It is a big decision to make and probably the last major big decision in your life that you will make without your new husband’s input.
I wish you all the very best of luck and I hope that I can help in making your Dress Dreams come true.
(Owner – Dress Dreams Limited)