5 things the magazines don’t tell you about wedding dress shopping

5 things the magazines don’t tell you about wedding dress shopping

This weekend was so amazing. I bought my wedding dress!

It’s true what people say. When you see ‘the dress’ you will know it’s the one for your big day. However, I found the whole experience a little different than I expected…

1. Book well in advance

I know that most stores ‘recommend’ appointments, but holy potatoes, I really struggled to get any appointments at all.

One particular store had an 8 week waiting list to try on dresses. Seriously. Eight actual weeks!
As bridal stores are generally not open on Sundays and very rarely available on evenings, if you work full-time like I do, take the earliest Saturday you can get! Out of the 3 shops I managed to get into, they all told me it takes about 6 months for the dresses to arrive. I did not know this. As I’m getting married in just over 8 months, I was suddenly on a major deadline. I imagine they normally come in earlier than this, but it wasn’t something I was prepared to risk. I’m a stress head enough as it is. And breathe…

2. Don’t expect to like all of the dresses…if any of them!

The first shop I visited, I didn’t see one single dress I liked. I felt really disheartened by the whole experience, Drama Queen that I am – “Woe is me. I’ve been to one whole shop and didn’t find my dress” – I worry about my mental health sometimes. The thing is, you expect to like something. I felt that most wedding dresses made me feel frumpy and really old. I found the experience took a bit of getting used to.


3. Prepare to be stuffed like a chicken.

In one shop, nearly all the dresses in the store were a size 16. I am a size 8/10. I may be naive here but I thought there would have been more sizes available. Instead, I now know that if a dress is too large, they tighten it as much as they can, and then either pin you, or stuff you. Yes that’s right, I was stuffed with sponges to ‘get a feel for the dress’. Personally, I don’t care how nice a dress is – if it’s not even remotely close to your size, it’s going to look awful. I found the other shops much more effective who had a larger range of sizes. It might be worth asking the bridal shops what sizes they stock before making an appointment.

4. Don’t think about taking pictures.

I am on a Facebook group for brides and I’ve been on all the major forums like Confetti, Wedding Bee, You and Your Wedding etc. Every day, I see women asking for opinions regarding their dress choices. But I’m not sure how they got so many pictures!
One shop I visited forbid any form of photography. The next had no problem with it whatsoever. The third said we could only take a picture once we bought the dress.
I understand that bridal shops don’t want anyone stealing designs and such, but they should at least have their own digital camera on the premises. At the place I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, by the end of the session, I’d forgotten what any of the dresses looked like. If they had their own, you could still flick through whilst not taking them home. Take a camera just in case, but don’t be sad when they say no to pictures. You have been warned.

5. Wear a strapless bra.

Over and over again I have read that bridal shops have spare strapless bras or cups for dress trying on. I didn’t find this was the case. I didn’t wear a strapless bra to my first shop and I wish I had. The woman kept slipping off my straps and stuffing it in the dress. I found it all very uncomfortable. Just go in a strapless bra in the first place. If you’re self conscious wear leggings and a longline strapless bra.

I know it sounds like i didn’t enjoy the whole experience very much from this but I actually loved it. I got to spend time with my mum and sister and go shopping – something i never ever treat myself to.

This is just a heads up for future brides who might expect flowing champagne and to automatically know what you want. 🙂

I can’t wait to see my dress again! And since Joe is so nosy and wants to see it now, if he asks, this is what I’ll look like on our wedding day….

  • Kristen

    Dress shopping is never as much fun as you think it is. I went to at least 10 different shops before finding one I loved!

    • Kristen

      PS – congrats on finding your dress!

      • Thank you! It was so hard not to post it on here but I’m sure I can wait until after the big day 🙂