Hi everyone!! Haven't been blogging now for a few months, so trying to get back into the swing of it! I've had several queries recently (particularly at the wedding fayres) and I've been jotting them down to address in a blog, so I'm grouping them all together in this topic. Your essential guide of Q&As in relation to going wedding dress shopping in our shop. Hope you find some useful tips. xx Ciara
When should I go looking for my dress?
We are always getting new styles coming along and dress styles are always getting discontinued, so in short, my answer is go when you are ready to seriously think about buying the dress. In an ideal world, we'd all go looking 2 years before to get ideas, we'd find a dress, and then come back 8 months and it's still there waiting for you, but in practice it doesn't work. So don't make the mistake of missing out on your dream dress because you've come too early and found out that the dream dress you found last year has gone discontinued or that we've sold our sample. And don't leave it too late either or you may be limited to buying off the peg!!! Last orders are usually 6-7 months before the wedding, but 12 months before is a good time to start looking. Our brides order on average about 10 months before their big day.
Who should I bring with me?
We have seating for up to three people in our bridal rooms. Any more than this, and the search can often get chaotic with too many opinions and not working on focussing on you and what your wants and needs are. Ideally, one or two helpers is best, but don't be afraid of setting out to look on your own either. You'll often want your closest friend, a sister, your mum or someone close to you to help you make that final decision, but just make sure that whoever you bring, they will be on the same wavelength as you and that they will give you honest feedback without letting their own personal tastes get in the way if finding the dress for you. Choose your helpers wisely!! If you don't, you could be setting yourself up for a difficult and frustrating time!
How long do I get for an appointment?
You will normally get 70 mins for an appointment. However, if you get to the end of your allocated time and you find that you want to see more dresses, you are more than welcome to book a second appointment to come back another day. We often run on a tight schedule, especially on Saturdays, so try to be on time. If you are late, we cannot let you eat into the time of the girl after you. (I had a bit of a backlash about this one recently from an unhappy bride, but I'd like to think that most of you would be happy to oblige when it comes to helping to keep our appointment book running to schedule and not keeping other brides waiting.)
What should I wear?
If you can, wear a strapless bra and big knickers (unless you aren't embarrassed about being seen braless or in a skimpy thong!) You are free to wear leggings or tights if that makes you feel more comfortable (or warmer in the winter). We do give a one-to-one personal service in our shop and you will be helped into and out of the dresses at all times, so make sure you feel comfortable with what you are wearing. Bring heels if you can as the dresses are quite long (we'll have extra pairs of court shoes and a box for you to stand on if you need a little help though!!) And we would would ask for minimal make-up and no rub-off tans. You will be trying on thousands of pounds worth of dresses, so things like heavy foundation and lipstick mean expensive trips to the dry-cleaners for us, so you may be asked to remove make up if you come with quite a lot on!!
I have a strict budget!
Our dresses range from £400 to £1800, and we always will do our best to steer you in the right direction should you be on a strict budget. Just let us know what your budget is when you arrive or when you are booking your appointment and we will keep you right!! We would never encourage you to try on an £1800 dress if your budget is £900 and it can often lead to frustration on the brides part, so keep us informed.
Can I take pictures?
I used to turn a blind eye to this one, but due to designers' stricter copyright rules, photography of their dresses in our shop is not permitted (unless it is a dress you have purchased or have placed a deposit on). We are not even permitted to take photos at our designers' fashion shows :( Almost all dresses can be viewed on the designers' websites anyway, so we will point you in the right direction should you wish to have a picture of the dress to see at home. And don't forget that you are welcome to come and see your favourite dresses again should you need to - we won't expect you to make a decision based on your memory of one visit.
If I find a dress, what deposit do I need?
You'll need 50% of the dress price to place an order. However, assuming you have got the time, you can pay an initial deposit of £200 and pay up to the 50% in instalments. Quite a lot of our brides find it easier to do it this way.
Also, just a note to say that it is always a wise move to look for your wedding dress first before you move on to your bridesmaids. It can be often a confusing task when presented with bridesmaid shopping when you have no idea if your dress is white or ivory or champagne, when you have no idea if you will fall for a modern style or vintage inspired style, or when you have no idea what neckline you are looking for. Get the wedding dress sorted first, and your task will be much easier and you'll have a clearer focus.
And let us know if your close friend, your cousin, your sister-in-law or workmate has got their dress with us. Our dresses are available for anyone to order, but if we get a heads-up on connections with existing customers, we can make sure we steer you away from picking the same dress as them :)
And remember to keep an open mind when you go shopping. You might feel a million dollars in a dress that you never dreamed of trying on, so don't come in wearing blinkers and be prepared to surprise yourself!! Some girls find their dream dress in their first shop - for others it takes a few more trips around to find one that they love, so be patient and don't get too disheartened if you don't find it right away.