A Beautiful Bride

What’s It Like Buying A Wedding Dress?

Ahh buying a wedding dress, if we went by what we saw on TV we would glide into the shop being greeted with champagne and strawberries. Our nearest and dearest would sit down and gaze upon us as we tried on a multitude of beautiful wedding dresses that looked as if they were made for us. The reality is slightly different though – Don’t get me wrong, once I found the perfect dress the shop I purchased it from could not have been more lovely and helpful!

However we all have to kiss a few frogs before we meet our Prince Charming, so today I thought I’d share a few of the lessons I learnt along the way and some of the funny experiences I had.

Prepare To Strip Down

chimp

I’m not usually one for flashing much flesh, so you can imagine my hesitation when the bridal shop assistant told me to strip down to my bra and knickers. To be honest I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was just me and her but in many of the shops I visited the assistant seemed to have a habit of flinging the curtain open whilst I was either still standing in my undies or mid way through getting changed meaning anyone standing outside or walking past got a nice view!

Remember That What Looks Nice On The Hanger Might Not Look As Good As You Think On

There were so many dresses that I tried on that looked absolutely stunning on the hanger but when I tried them on they looked absolutely awful! One that sticks in my mind is a really pretty dress with a beaded top, it was way too low cut for me though and when I tried it on even my tiny chest was popping out – I would definitely not have been comfortable wearing this on my wedding day.

Prepare For Some Grubby Dresses

ew

It kind of goes without saying that dresses that are tried on all day every day are going to get a little bit dirty and suffer from wear and tear. Some dress shops I visited had better condition dresses than others but some of them were terrible, with bits ripped and beading hanging off, not the pristine white gowns I was expecting. Of course when you purchase your dress what you receive in the end will be brand new but sometimes you have to use a bit of imagination if a dress is not in as good of a condition as expected.

Only One Size

Perhaps the most annoying thing about wedding dress shopping is that the dresses only come in one size, the sample size which is usually a 12. That’s ok if you’re a 12 but if you’re any bigger or smaller the dress won’t fit you. My usual dress size is a 10, so there was nothing too drastic that had to be done but the shop assistant did have to pin me into every dress, sometimes this will mean that the dress pinches and bunches in weird ways.

Shop Assistants That Tell It Like It Is

rude

I visited a number of shops, and on the whole the shop assistants were polite and professional. There was one shop that I visited however where the shop assistant was hellbent on letting me know her opinion. She gave us some time to look at the different dresses which were categorised by type (i.e princess, fishtail and so on). She practically ran screaming at me and my sister when we ventured to look at the fishtail dresses, letting me know that “I was far too short” to consider wearing one of them.

Not only this but she also started making comments that my hair was “too fine” to hold a veil. I took most of the things she said which a pinch of salt, as to be honest it’s my wedding day and i’ll wear what I jolly well want to, veil and all! Having said that though, this kind of behaviour definitely put me off and you can probably guess that I didn’t purchase my dress from here! As long as you feel pretty and comfortable in your wedding dress that’s all that matters.

Get Ready To Stand On A Pedestal (literally!)

Once you’ve been fitted into your dress you often leave the changing room to stand on an elevated platform so everyone can see what it looks like from all angles, various shops I visited had this set up in different ways, in some shops you had your own little private area so only the family and friends you had brought with you would be able to see, however in other shops it required me walking out across the shop floor to a platform in the middle of the shop full of customers (not a particularly fun experience!) I don’t relish being the centre of attention, especially around people I don’t know so this was quite difficult for me.

The Price Of An Appointment

expensive

One thing that shocked me about booking wedding dress appointments was that you had to pay for them! Given most of the shops I visited were in London but apparently its a trend for shops to charge for appointments now as it deters people from timewasting and coming in to try on dresses just for the sake of it. The price I paid for most of my appointments was redeemable against the cost of a wedding dress but it can turn into quite a pricey process if you don’t see anything you like!

I ended up buying my dress from a shop called Pronovias, the flagship store can be found on Bond Street. I have to say this shop really set itself apart from many of the other bridal boutiques I visited. On arrival we were greeted by a charming assistant who took us all upstairs to their newly decorated changing areas and supplied all of us with a glass of champagne. She was absolutely perfect at selecting accessories to go with all of the dresses I tried on, from belts to veils she really knew what matched and complimented each other.

Despite some of the experiences I had buying a wedding dress I wouldn’t change the process for the world – it was great fun getting to look a tons of different dresses with the closest members of my family. I remember when I tried the dress on that we bought and my mum told me it was “the one”, when you try on so many dresses there definitely comes a point where you try one on and you know its the one you’re going to be walking down the aisle in!

  • Effie Isbored

    That was so interesting to read. I’d never even considered that you’d be flashing your knickers to everyone or that the dresses would be dirty, even though it seems obvious now!

    You should do more posts like this. What’s it like to go wedding cake tasting for example. If you need someone to come tasting with you I am free by the way 😉

    • hahaha love that idea!! cake tasting buddies are always welcome 😉

  • Amy

    I came here looking for another wedding post so was excited to read this! I actually hated my wedding dress fitting, although thankfully I didn’t have to pay for it?! I totally went with a dress and style in mind and hated it when I saw it, I was shocked at how cheap some dresses looked for want of a better word, the one I loved initially looked like something for a kids disco with sequins hanging off it. I got my dress from David’s Bridal which was honestly like hell on Earth but I wanted a Vera Wang dress (although admittidly not the one I went for!) from their American store so it was the easiest way to get it over here. I would not recommend them!

    Your fitting sounded magical, I am slightly sad I didn’t have those moments as it was stressful but I felt amazing in my dress on the day which completely made up for it. Also we had our alterations done back in Wales and that was a much nicer experience so in a way I did.

    I love your wedding series! Can’t wait to read the next one.

    Amy – http://fourcatsplusus.co.uk

    • Ahh Amy thank you for your lovely comment! Glad you enjoy reading them 🙂 totally agree about the cheapness of some of the dresses – some of the materials of the ones i looked at looked terrible!

      I originally wanted a Vera Wang dress too, they’re so pretty 🙂 it’s a shame you had a bad exp with David’s Bridal – i was thinking about going in to have a look at my local one but ended up finding my dress before I got there! But you looked lovely in the end so that’s the bit that matters xx

  • Ela

    This was such a nice read!
    Ela | http://www.stealingyoursunbeams.wordpress.com