Monday 12 August 2013

My Experience of Wedding Dress Shopping...

(Photo Credit - from my favourite wedding film 'Bride Wars')
Going to high designer shops, swirling and twirling around in beautiful dresses, sliding into a size 6, everyone looking after YOU, being served a constant flow of champagne...this could only be the movie image of wedding dress shopping - but is this also reality?
Wedding Dress shopping is a massive part of planning a wedding for a lot of women but what's it actually like? My friend, who got married last year, was very eager to take me wedding dress shopping as soon as we'd announced we were engaged! So after a lot of avoiding the topic we eventually went 2 weeks ago. You might be thinking - avoiding the topic?! How strange, doesn't everyone look forward to it?! I think a lot of women do, but I also think there are a massive amount of women who dread it - like I did!
There are so many reasons why I was dreading it, here are some...
Getting into my underwear in front of a stranger.
Would I even suit a wedding dress?
Will my make up ruin a wedding dress?
What do I wear to go wedding dress shopping?
Will I be able to fit into the wedding dresses in the shops?
and it goes on.
But was it really worth all this worry? Simple answer is NO! Looking back now I can't believe I was so worried. However I'm sure there are loads of women out there that are worried about the same things I was, so I decided to write this post to explain what it's really like trying on wedding dresses :)
What to wear?
Today’s bride may be marching up the aisle in something old and something new, but she may be ditching “something borrowed” for “something bol
As somebody who certainly doesn't have the 'magazine, picture perfect' body, I was very concerned about getting into my underwear in front of a stranger. I decided to wear some rather 'attractive' control pants (I NEED to find a brand who does prettier control pants!) that gave me a bit more coverage, as well as a strapless bra. I read on various websites that some Bridal shops actually prefer it if you wear control underwear because the dresses slide on easier. I did find this with some of the dresses that were clearly a bit small, I did managed to slide them on and I wouldn't have been able to without them! So personally I'd recommend some kind of control underwear, they made me a lot more relaxed. I wore a black strapless bra, I would recommend not wearing black, only because on some of the dresses I tried on you could see the bra. A nude strapless bra would be perfect!
What is it like trying on a Wedding Dress?
Most wedding dress shops say that you need to ring up and book an appointment. This allows you to have the full attention of the person working there and there is often only one changing room.
As we entered each wedding dress shop the lady working there would come over to us, ask our names and a bit about when I was getting married. We then spent about 10 minutes browsing through the many dresses, it is hard to imagine what you'd look like in the dresses, especially when you've never worn one before! So I selected a range of styles initially and the lady took them to the huge changing room. She invited me to go and undress in the changing room and then came and helped me into each dress. Some shops scrunched it down on the floor, I stood in to the middle of the dress and bought it up on to me. At other shops they put it over my head - I guess its how the shop prefer to work. It's all very quick though, your not hanging around in your underwear for long at all! After I had each dress on I went out into the main shop area to show my friend and look in the bigger mirror. There is often a little stand you can stand on, to imitate wearing heels but as I'm not going to wear heels I didn't stand on it. It's really worth looking at the back of the dress in detail too, after all that's the part most people see first, as you walk down the aisle.
We then tried on the other dresses and the process was repeated - it is honestly so much fun! It does feel quite surreal, like your playing 'dress up' or are in a movie! haha It has made me a lot more excited about my wedding day and I haven't even found my 'dream' dress yet!
The Queen City bride's guide to wedding dress shopping
Will my make up ruin the dress?
They do recommend you don't wear any make up but I don't feel very confident without it, so I wore minimal make up. If the shop adopt the approach of you stepping into the dress, your face won't go anywhere near the dress - ideal! If the shop does the 'over the head' method, then I just tried to keep it away from my face with my hands. It was pretty easy, I wouldn't wear any lipstick/lipgloss because that could be harder to avoid.
Will I be able to fit into a wedding dress?
The range of sizes within any Wedding Dress shop varies so much, it's all dependent on the Sample Sizes the shop buy. A couple of the shops I visited had a massive range of sizes, which I think is perfect! In one of the shops I visited they only had size 10 sample sizes, now I'm not a size 10 yet I could try these dresses on. So don't disregard a dress just for the size on the label. If your looking for a tight fitting dress then you may need a size that is closer to your own size but for a looser fitting dress (which I was looking for) it doesn't matter too much. I didn't realise but inside wedding dresses there is a wide bra strap, which is done up first. This is the part that could be done up on the dresses that were too small for me. They can then do the buttons/zip on the back of the dress up, on most of the dresses I tried on they wouldn't zip/button up completely. I thought this would be embarrassing but it really isn't! You can still get a good idea of what the dress would look like, which is the purpose of wedding dress shopping! When it comes to actually buying a wedding dress they take your bust, waist and hip measurements, so that the dress 'fits like a glove'. If you try on a dress in a shop and it fits perfectly then you could be on to a bargain! The sample dresses are often reduced, one I saw was reduced by £700!
So go and enjoy trying wedding dresses on, I can't wait to go to more shops and 'play dress up' :)
Did you enjoy wedding dress shopping?
Were you/are you nervous about it?


  1. I'm 16 and therefore wont be getting married anytime soon yet I really enjoyed reading this post! I love chatty, personal posts! I'm glad I found your blog, its a really great read! <3

    Rachael @

  2. I loved your post! I won't be getting married any time soon but this post made me look forward to the wedding dress shopping! I hope you find your dream dress soon. Also, I love your blog - just about to follow you now :) xxx

  3. Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic.
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