1. Get plenty of sleep the night before

Perhaps one of the most important tips to adhere to, a good night’s sleep is essential for a magical wedding shopping experience. Shopping for your wedding dress, whilst extremely exciting, can also be absolutely exhausting, and if you’ve spent the previous night indulging on alcohol or staying up late binge watching Netflix, you’re less likely to have an enjoyable experience. So get to bed early and be sure to rest before you start exploring the shops.

2. Set your budget before you start

Wedding dresses range in price from as little as a few hundred pounds to tens of thousand, and it is so easy to get carried away in the moment and choose a dress that is well out of your price range. If you do buy this dress, you will also be leaving with an intense feeling of guilt, knowing that you cannot afford to spend so much on a designer dress and that you might have to skimp on other areas of the wedding that you’d rather not be skimping on. Before you leave the house, set an affordable budget with a little extra set aside for accessories and alterations, and be strict with yourself — going over by £30 to £40 is expected, but going over by thousands is not a good idea.

3. Research each wedding dress boutique and book your appointment in advance

Many wedding dress boutiques will operate an ‘appointment only’ system, and very few will accept walk-ins. Before you plan the day, be sure to book into every boutique that you’re hoping to visit, and if you’re the super organised type, write out an agenda to ensure you stay on track on the day. It is also vital that you research each boutique thoroughly before you book. There’s nothing worse than booking into a wedding dress store that doesn’t suit your tastes (or your budget!) so be sure to do your homework and book into places that will compliment your style. However, we would also recommend booking into a variety of different stores to ensure you don’t limit your selection.

4. Don’t book too many appointments into one day

Whilst research and preparation are key, it can be very easy to find yourself rushing around your local town trying to fit everything in. This is neither productive nor enjoyable. Even though excitement levels are likely to be through the roof, it is important to be realistic and to set yourself an achievable number of store visits. You also don’t want to walk into a boutique and feel like you need to rush in order to get to your next appointment. We would recommend no more than three separate boutique visits in one day, allowing you to give every dress fitting the time it deserves, whilst ensuring you remain relaxed and enthusiastic all day long.

5. Don’t go it alone

Shopping alone isn’t particularly fun at the best of times, but when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress, shopping alone is just not ideal. However, it is also not particularly helpful to invite the whole village to your dress fitting. Choose one or two close friends or family members whose opinions you trust and who are willing to set aside the whole day to indulge you (after all, you don’t get married every day!). That way if you are unsure of a particular style, you will have people there who can assist you and ensure that you feel spectacular on your big day.

6. Make sure you wear suitable undergarments!

As with everything, preparation is key, and if you prepare your underwear in advance, your dress fitting will run far more smoothly. Regardless of the style of dress that you’re looking for, make sure you wear a strapless bra that supports you as well as seamless knickers — both light in colour and comfortable enough for you to wear all day. If you can also take along a shoe with a similar heel to the one you intend to wear on your wedding day, you will feel the part when you try on each and every dress, giving every dress the best chance possible. The dress will ultimately work its magic on your body, but it’s always good to create the best foundation possible underneath!

7. Take notes and ask advice

Don’t be afraid to ask a variety of different questions at your fittings. Sales consultants know their products better than anyone, and they will happily answer any questions you might have about the dress, the fitting process, alteration details or any other question that pops into your head. Also, whilst many wedding dress shops do not encourage taking photos, you have every right to ask for the details of the dresses that you have tried on, enabling you to reflect on your selections after the appointment is over.

8. Have a lunch break!

Hangry is a thing. Described in the Urban Dictionary as a state that is experienced when you are so hungry that you become ‘angry, frustrated or both’, this combination of hunger and anger can have devastating consequences and should be avoided at all costs. This is why we would strongly recommend that you allocate time for a lunch break within your wedding dress shopping agenda. Find and book a restaurant where you can sit down, relax and enjoy a light lunch (nothing too heavy or your post-lunch dress fittings are likely to feel particularly uncomfortable). This way you can enjoy your afternoon fittings feelings refreshed and ready to explore a new selection of designer wedding dresses.

9. Don’t panic if you don’t find ‘the one’

There can be a lot of pressure on you to find ‘the one’ in one day. However, much like the search for the perfect man, the perfect dress doesn’t always come along straight away. This is not an issue, and you shouldn’t panic if you don’t find the dress you love immediately. Take your time and wait for the perfect fit to come along – trust us, it will come, and when it does, it will be well worth the wait.

10. HAVE FUN!

Above all, keep an open mind when it comes to styles and fabrics, take the opportunity to try on some gorgeous gowns and have fun! This is a once in a lifetime shopping spree and you should enjoy the experience — after all, this is all part of the lead-up to the best day of your life, so indulge in it!

Happy shopping brides to be!

Jo & Claire x

If you want to feel fabulous in a designer wedding dress without breaking the bank, and you want to experience a magical wedding dress shopping experience, call Belle Bridal now on 0208 446 2481 or book an appointment through our online booking system. We look forward to seeing you soon!