The nervous excitement is just bursting from your heart: the person you love popped the question; you said YES!!! and you’re planning the celebration of a LIFETIME! There’s so much to think about – and What To Wear is a biggie. You only get to do this once: the time in your life where you can spend ten times as much on a dress as you EVER would in a normal year. The excitement of wearing a dress SO special that everyone will turn and look as you walk into a room. The pressure to get it right… and the joy of owning something so wonderful, special and beautiful as your very own wedding dress.
So yeah, wedding dress shopping is a huge deal. And you’re basically juggling excitement in one hand with the pressure to get it right in the other hand. Aaargh, right?! Wedding dress shopping should be an amazing adventure. Plan it just right, and I promise it will be! But if you go into it without a little forethought, the pressure can take over and before you know it you’ve tried on 50 dresses in 10 boutiques… and you’re all shopped out, stressed and tearful. I get it. Overshopping the dress is REAL – and you CAN avoid it happening to you.
You’re not the only one worried about finding your perfect wedding dress, I promise. I’ve heard from plenty of brides who’ve found wedding dress shopping more stressful than they expected – and it’s often down to overshopping: so we’re here to help! Bridal boutique owner Kerri from Bridal Indulgence shared some fabulous advice on overshopping the dress on her blog, saying “Confused and frustrated brides who have visited multiple boutiques all over the country have told us that their dreams of wedding dress shopping have turned into ivory-coloured, poofy clouds of stress hanging over their wedding planning.” So these tips, inspired by Bridal Indulgence and Kerri’s original blog post, are here to help you avoid making the same mistake.
Shopping for your wedding dress can be the most wonderful experience! Whether you’re looking to shimmer and sparkle in a designer dress that makes you feel like a princess, or to slither into something silky and boho and be the most incredible version of you, those wow moments in bridal boutiques will be unforgettable!
Our top tips to avoid overshopping the dress
Wait until you’re ready. If you get engaged on the 1st of January, you certainly don’t need to hit the boutiques before the end of the month. Enjoy the newly engaged glow! Make a few plans – venue, size of your wedding and the date! – and enjoy reading wedding blogs and magazines for a little while before you make your first wedding dress appointment.
You’ll know when you’re feeling confident and ready to try on some wedding dresses. It might be a few months after getting engaged. It might be when you’ve set your budget and saved enough; it might be when your mum or your sister is with you. It might be when you’ve got a firm idea of the style of your wedding (and your dress style!). Whatever that trigger point might be, don’t feel rushed into dress shopping before you’re ready!
Do a little research
Wedding dress research shouldn’t be intense – and the last thing you want to do is overdo it at this stage! Look at enough dresses online – and especially real brides on wedding blogs – to see the kind of style you like. It could be boho, minimal or traditional. Most importantly, be aware of your body shape and what kind of wedding dress will suit your figure. And flatter your personality too! If you’re fun and flirty, elegant and a little sassy, or playful with a vibrant fashion sense, embrace that with your wedding dress choices!
A word of caution: and that word is “Pinterest”
It couldn’t be easier. Go online, create a Pinterest account and search for wedding dresses. Eighty million or so come up straight away – the most glorious photos at the top of the page! Awesome!!! Or NOT, as the case may be. Pinterest is a place of dreams: fabulous bridal fashion photoshoots and the most extravagant dresses, and often without a price tag to be seen. It’s SO easy to fall in love with a dress on there! But DON’T!
Dresses on Pinterest might be beautiful. But it’s more than likely they’re a) on models b) old images from collections which are no longer available c) worth thousands of pounds more than your budget. It’s nice to look on there to get an idea of wedding dress styles, but balance your Pinterest research with examples of real brides and designers who are stocked within a reasonable distance of your home!
Real bride Stephanie had already had two wedding dress appointments in the UK, one in South Africa and four in Hong Kong when she came to Bridal Indulgence. She had an open minded approach and willingness to try something a little different to what she’d seen on Pinterest.
“I wasn’t going to go with the style of dress that I chose at all, I had been to a number of different appointments where I tried on more bohemian dresses,” Stephanie explained.
Stephanie chose a Wtoo dress from Bridal Indulgence in the end. Her advice to other brides-to-be is “don’t discount wedding dresses on the hanger. Try something that perhaps you haven’t even considered. Don’t pigeon-hole your ideas too much.”
Overthinking the dress is real too!
The more dresses you try, the more there is to consider. That lace trim on the first dress you tried was lovely… and then the cap sleeves on the third dress.. oh but the beading on the ninth dress was exquisite! But the shape of the eleventh dress was perfect, and the twelfth dress made you think more about a boho bridal look… and the thirty-fourth dress had that wonderful movement… there’s so much to consider!
Rein it in a little if this happens to you. Nothing is 100% perfect. But so many wedding dresses are just breathtakingly beautiful and special and amazing. The more choices you see, the more complex the decision you have to make at the end… when really, there’ll be enough variety in three bridal appointments at different boutiques – it’s all about choosing the right places to go.
Choose 3 bridal boutiques – but carefully!
Wherever you live, there’ll be an interesting choice of bridal boutiques to visit, I promise! Each one will have a unique selection of designers, and a fairly clear price range. Not every boutique will suit every bride (there are some in my home town I’d never set foot inside for being too bling, and others I’d love to visit but simply can’t afford!) – so do a little research and choose your appointments wisely. Check reviews online – what have other brides said about their experience there? The best boutiques are run by the loveliest people who will give you help and advice in the sweetest possible way, making the whole wedding dress shopping experience a truly special adventure.
Any more than 3 appointments to choose your dress can be draining, confusing and frustrating. But if you plan your appointments and boutiques carefully, you’ve already won! Ready? Read Kerri’s helpful tips on preparing for your bridal shop appointment!
Be ready to buy!
Going to an appointment “just to try a few dresses on” is a bit exciting. Going, with the possibility of BUYING your dress that day is HUGE!!! Be prepared to fall in love with a dress when you least expect it – and when you do, have the deposit ready so you can skip out of the door feeling on top of the world! You’ll avoid second thoughts when you leave… and there’s the huge weight off your shoulders thing when you’ve found – and bought! – your wedding dress!
Listen to your heart
Who you take to your dress appointments is up to you – but as a general rule just invite a couple of people who you trust implicitly – who will give you honest, kind advice and who will share your excitement and love the experience they’re sharing with you!
Too many opinions can get complicated. Remember – their advice is important, but trust your heart. If you fall head over heels in love with a dress, trust yourself! It’s YOUR dream dress after all.
And when you’re done…
When you’ve paid your deposit, relax. Stop searching. Kerri puts it beautifully:
“Once you found the person you’re going to marry, you didn’t keep searching, so don’t let it be any different with ‘the dress’. If you’ve found your wedding dress, unplug from the search to avoid overshopping the dress. Quit searching on Pinterest and unfollow any Instagram accounts to do with wedding dress shopping.”