It’s one of the most exciting and daunting experiences of planning a wedding – going wedding dress shopping! You have thousands of gowns to choose from hundreds of boutiques and online stores, so how do you navigate the world of white tulle?
We’ve spoken to our team of experts, as well as past brides top answer the biggest questions brides have when it comes to shopping for the wedding gown.
Will they have my size?
Not all wedding gown boutiques have every style of dress in every size, so be prepared that you may try on a slightly larger or smaller size of your dream gown during the first visit. Although it can be hard to imagine what the wedding dress will look like when it’s the wrong size, we always recommend taking the advice of the boutique’s consultant – they’re experts!
If you are a plus-sized bride and aren’t sure whether a particular shop will stock your size, just give them a call to confirm before heading in.
What underwear should I wear?
If you’re heading out to try on wedding dresses, wear seamless nude undies and bring along a strapless and plunge nude bra’ this way you can try almost any style and silhouette of gown without getting any unseemly ‘panty lines’!
Will I be trying on the veil?
Before you say ‘yes to the dress’, it’s a good idea to try on a veil with it. Not only with this give you the ‘bridal experience’, but it can help you decide whether you want to wear a veil on the wedding day or not. Sometimes the gown speaks for itself and doesn’t need a veil, whereas other times a veil completes the look.
If you do decide to opt for a veil, make sure you get an upfront quote so you don’t have any last-minute budget surprises!
Am I meant to put a deposit on the gown straight away?
This one is completely up to you! If you fall in love with a wedding gown and there’s only a limited amount of stock available, it’s probably a good idea to secure your dream dress with a deposit; however, if you’re not sure the gown is for you, it’s completely fine to go home, think about it and call the boutique at a later date to make a deposit. Deposits can be anything from a $500 holding fee to 50% of the entire gown (sometimes even more), it all depends on the store.
How much are alterations?
Sometimes minor alterations are included in the cost of your gown, but we always recommend budgeting at least $500 just in case the alterations you need are significant. Remember, cheaper is always better when it comes to altering your wedding gown!
How far in advance should I go?
It’s never too early to start looking for your dream gown, but the biggest mistake brides can make is leaving it until the last minute to start browsing. Try and organise your gown six months in advance so that the boutique has plenty of time to order the dress in and you can do alterations and final fitting without too much time-pressure.
How many people am I allowed to bring?
Ooooh, it’s the age-old question; especially when you’ve got three best friends, four bridesmaids, two sisters, a mum and a very opinionated mother-in-law. Who am I meant to take wedding dress shopping? We say that you should pick only a couple of girls (or guys!) to come with you, as too many opinions can be confusing and over-whelming.
If you’ve booked a consultation, your best bet is to call the boutique in advance and ask if they have a limit to the number of guests you can bring along.
Is there a consultation fee?
Generally, if you’ve booked to visit a ready-to-wear wedding boutique, there isn’t a consultation fee; however, if you’re not sure, make sure you ask the manager before you go to avoid any awkward misunderstandings.
Main image from Costa and Lauren’s wedding. Photography by Paul Kaye Photography.