Hello lovely ladies! I’m Ashleigh, a bridal consultant at Alta Costura Bride. We see so many beautiful brides-to-be coming through our doors and I just wanted to give some support and knowledge to brides who are yet to find their dream dress!
Finding your special dress may feel like an overwhelming prospect at first, especially as there are so many different designers, styles and colours available.
First of all, and most importantly, there are no rules to finding your dream dress! But, here are a few words of wisdom I have to offer you in the process of finding your wedding dress.
Consider your wedding venue
Whether you’re tying the knot in a stately home in the countryside or on the beach in the sun, your venue may make an impact on the style of wedding dress you are on the search for! A stately home wedding may suit a romantic ball gown, a beach wedding may lead you to decide on a floaty, boho dress, but ultimately… there are no rules, it’s your day!
There should always be careful consideration if your wedding is abroad. Travelling with your dress can have its limitations depending on the volume and fullness of the dress, but this is all something you can discuss with your consultant.
Leave enough time to find ‘the one’
There isn’t an ideal time to find your perfect dress, once again there are no rules, just recommendations, as every wedding is different. To have a stress-free experience, it’s ideal to start looking for your dream dress one year before the big day.
This allows a few months of searching, three – five months for your dress to be delivered to your chosen store and three more months for alterations. If you find the perfect dress earlier, then you’ll be one step ahead!
If you are working to a shorter timescale and don’t have a year to find your dress, don’t panic! We once had a bride getting married the next day and we helped her find a dress!
Many designers will offer, what they call, a ‘Rush cut.” This is a service, which usually carries a fee, and puts your order on a higher priority list. With some designers, this is all depending on their stock availability. Your bridal consultant will be able to help you understand, as they know the available designer options.
Alternatively, a Ready-to-wear or ‘Off the peg’ wedding dress could be perfect for you. These are amazing dresses, usually ex-catwalk, ex-sample or even brand new. They’re usually just a ‘one-off dress’ the store has to offer for brides-to-be with a fast-approaching wedding date.
Choose the style which best suits you
Don’t feel you should already know the style of dress you are looking for. Being open-minded for your first bridal appointment is a great outlook to have, as this gives you the opportunity to try on a variety of styles to see which you feel your best in!
This doesn’t mean that having an idea of what you think you’d like to try is the wrong way to approach your appointment because this can actually really help your bridal consultant.
Most consultants will tell you, that the majority of brides leave with the total opposite dress to the one they expected to love.
Need inspiration for your dress? Our recommendation would be Pinterest; soon it will be your best friend! It allows you to see hundreds of images related to your search and interests.
Even a generic search of ‘Weddings’ could fuel inspiration and ideas for your own planning. Searching particular styles such as ‘lace wedding dress’ or ‘princess wedding dress’, will give you a great idea of what is out there in the bridal world, and help to narrow down your search.
Top tip: Always remember bridal designers are worldwide, and so is Pinterest! Ensure the dress you’re eagerly ‘screen-shotting’ is available in the UK. If it’s not, be prepared to search for something similar. You wouldn’t want to fall in love with a dress that you need to fly to Australia to try on!
Another great way to search for inspiration is via your local bridal shops and boutiques social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram are amazing! This will allow you to see specifically what they offer within their showrooms. These platforms can also give you a great impression of how the atmosphere will be during your appointment!
Top tip: Searching for real brides is an amazing way of seeing how the dress could look on a real bride, on a real wedding day!
Stick to your budget
Your preferred price point is another important piece of information that your bridal consultant requires when starting your appointment. Our members of staff at Alta Costura Bride will have a chat with you and your guests before the appointment to get an idea of how the wedding plans are going, thoughts on what you’d like to try, and preferred price point. Your budget is important to remember when looking through the wedding dresses.
These few minutes can shape the appointment, allowing the bridal consultant to use their knowledge of designers and styles to support you and make the most of your time during your appointment.
Top tip: Always discuss your budget with your consultant! This avoids you falling in love with a dress above your budget. This can be a heart-breaking moment and not how you should feel. Your appointment should stay on a high, it should always be a fun and enjoyable experience!
With your budget in mind, this is the time to remember alterations! Have you considered these extra costs? Alterations are, more often than not, necessary for every bride.
Don’t panic about the size
When it comes to ordering your dress, your measurements will determine the size, the store or the boutique order, it does not mean your dress will be made to your exact measurements.
Wedding dresses notoriously come up small and when compared to regular high-street sizes, well, there is no comparison. Wedding dress designers have their own size charts which they’ve produced themselves.
As a bride, this can be confusing and frustrating but your bridal consultant will reassure you that this is totally normal and will help you come to a decision on the best size to order.
Ultimately, the size you order is your choice. If you are planning on losing weight before the big day and wish to go down a size or two, make sure you tell your consultant so they can cover all options.
Whilst we are on the subject of weight loss, I’d say 9/10 brides mention that they are planning on losing weight before the wedding. This does not mean that you need to delay your search for your dress. Delaying your search will only limit your options. As mentioned above, we always take this into consideration when deciding on which size to order.
Finding a designer you like
Is there a designer you love? Bridal shops and boutiques stock a variety of designers and it would be a great idea to have a look what they offer before you start booking appointments.
If you have fallen in love with a Mori Lee dress on Pinterest or have seen a Randy Fenoli dress on ‘Say Yes to The Dress’, find which shop or boutique is a registered stockist. This can save you time and energy going to a number of shops and not finding the dress you love.
As many dresses as one bridal shop would love to have, they cannot hold every designer’s full collection. If you have one specific dress you would love to try, call a stockist before your appointment to avoid disappointment.
Not a label queen? Don’t feel you have to be an expert in bridal designers, there are thousands of them, no-one could possibly name them all! Many brides are less concerned about who designed their dress, they are more focussed on it just being the right dress for them.
It’s all about you
Fundamentally the decision on picking your dream dress comes down to how you feel in it. There are no rules to say what colour or style you can or cannot wear! If you feel amazing wearing it, that’s all that matters.
Ready to find your dream wedding dress? Book your appointment at Alta Costura today.