Updated: Jun 30, 2020
I am fortunate to meet so many different people as a wedding photographer, hairstylists, makeup and nail technicians, caterers, venue staff, you name the trade, they're there. But the one I NEVER get to meet is the owner of the shop that provides the dress.
So I got hunting for the best wedding dress suppliers in the west midlands and came across The Dressing Rooms. I thought I'd ask the experts about their opinions on buying wedding dresses, what their top tips were and if they had any offers.
But then I thought, why not let them write their own top tips. So they did, and this is the first time I hand my blog over to someone else, so without further ado, here's Rebecca from The Dressing Rooms, with her top tips for wedding dress shopping.
Finding your Wedding Dress should be one of the most enjoyable, fun and happy shopping trips you will ever go on. For some though it can become quite stressful and not enjoyable at all. Here are some of my top tips to avoid stress and ensure that you find your dream dress.
Decide right at the very beginning who you want to take with you.
This is so important, ask yourself, do you trust them to be honest with you but kind and sensitive too, towards your feelings? It's lovely to have advice from family or friends but if you have the slightest doubt that the people you choose to share this occasion with, will not listen to YOU and what YOU want or won't take your feelings into consideration when being brutally honest (in their opinion) then they are not the people you should choose to share your buying experience with. It's hard to please everybody because we all have different ideas and personal choices and buying a wedding dress is a totally unique experience because of the emotion attached to it.
Choose the shops to visit carefully, in a planned and constructive way.
Ok so here's the thing... every bridal shop has a radius of exclusivity on each dress label they carry. Depending on the Label, it can be as little as a five-mile radius up to a 25-mile range on more exclusive brands. So, based on that, it is much better to choose to visit shops within a five-mile radius of each other. That way, you get to see lots of different designers, labels and brands & styles.
Check out each bridal shop's reviews.
Reviews are absolutely necessary for the bridal industry, and EVERY shop you visit MUST have reviews somewhere on the internet. If you have planned to visit a bridal shop that has no reviews anywhere on the web, then you MUST ask yourself why? Do not be fooled by glossy websites and lots of google listings if there are no genuine reviews online to back that up. Honesty and transparency are absolutely imperative when it comes to your wedding dress.
Are the bridal shops you are choosing in any association or affiliation?
There is only one association in the bridal industry which is worth its salt, and that is the Retail Bridalwear Association or RBA. This is the only association that inspects its member's stores & accounts, has a strict code of conduct, checks out the shop's suppliers and credit status, plus has the added bonus of the Brides Protection Scheme. It's the same as buying your honeymoon from an ATOL or ABTA registered travel agent. Don't get hoodwinked by other "Associations" such as the BBRA, this is absolutely NOT the same.
Visit no more than three bridal shops.
An excellent bridal shop should have at least 150 different styles in store (we have around 300), so if you visit three good shops, then you have had access to at least 450 and potentially 1000 different styles. Be careful, you don't want to become "dressed out" or "desensitised" by visiting too many shops and becoming utterly confused and probably a bit deflated.
Check the location of your shops and their opening hours.
Will the locations work for you later on, once you have ordered your dress? Is it easily accessible for fittings? Is there a car park? What days are they open, do they offer a late-night appointment? You need to know all this information BEFORE you go into a bridal shop. If the location and opening hours are not going to work for you, then there is no point visiting. Find shops which are convenient for you and your lifestyle.
Don't be frightened to make your decision.
Most brides instinctively know when they have found "the one", pretty much the same as the man! You just know it's right. However, if you are indecisive and worried about committing to buying, you really shouldn't be. Statistics show that only over 70% of all brides find their dress in the first bridal shop they visit. We have so many brides who LOVE LOVE LOVE the dress, then say, oh but I can't buy just-in-case I see something else. The fact is you will always see something else, of course, you will, but there has to come to a point where you say "you know what, I'm sticking with this one" just like the man, there are millions out there, and you could just keep on looking... forever!
Know your finances.
If you are going dress shopping, be prepared to buy. Don't treat wedding dress shopping as just a happy day out because that mindset will not help you to find "the one" you will only become confused, disheartened and ultimately stressed. So many brides are amazed when they see their dress at the first shop they visit, but why? For instance, if you are going to Jimmy Choo London to buy a pair of shoes, why would you be surprised to find them at Jimmy Choo? Have a clear understanding of your budget and discuss this if you need to with each shop before you book to visit them.
Again, this is about doing your homework on each shop you plan to visit. Do they offer free storage? Do they have an "in-house" alteration service? Will they steam, prep and pack your dress for you? Do they offer a delivery service? These are all essential things you need to know.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Above all remember this is a once in a lifetime experience which should be the most enjoyable, happy experience you could ever imagine, with a good splash of luxury and top quality service thrown in for good measure. Enjoy and cherish every second.
I hope these tips help you.
There you have it, I couldn't have put it better myself (I actually couldn't)! Interested in knowing a little more about The Dressing Rooms? Take a look at their website.