Frequently Asked Questions
When should I start looking for my wedding dress?
Our wedding dresses take around 4 to 6 months to be made and arrive in the shop. Depending on the design and time of year, it can be slightly shorter or longer than this, and you will also need a few weeks once your dress has arrived for your fittings to be carried out. Ideally, we like to start the alterations process 12 weeks before the wedding.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to start looking for your dress at least 9-12 months before your wedding, but if your wedding is sooner, don’t worry, we can still provide you with a dress!
Do I need to book an appointment?
We are always happy to welcome brides in for a ‘walk-in’ appointment whenever possible – as long as we have a free changing room and a bridal consultant to dress you! However, we can be fully booked, especially at weekends, and so it is best to make an appointment if you can. You can book via our website, through our social media channels, or the good old fashioned way, by phone! We do not charge for bridal appointments.
Who should I bring with me?
We will be honest here! Our fitting room suites can seat three guests, but we have found in our experience that our brides have the happiest time bringing one or two trusted people, whose opinion truly matters to them. This is about you, and YOUR dreams, and it so important that you don’t lose sight of how you feel about the dresses whilst you’re trying them on.
Larger parties can sound like a lot of fun, but in reality our brides have found that they can end up feeling confused and even distressed, trying to take on board the opinions of too many people. It’s natural that your friends and family are excited for you, and may ask to come along. However, there will be other opportunities where you can bring guests at future appointments: your dress reveal, and your fitting appointments for instance, which are also very special times preparing for the big day.
What should I wear to try on wedding dresses?
Please wear whatever is comfortable, and easy to get in and out of for trying on. It can be useful to wear a nude coloured and/or strapless bra, but this isn’t essential. We’d appreciate you avoiding fake-tan, as it tends to rub off onto the dresses. You are welcome to bring a pair of heels with you, if you are planning on wearing shoes with a heel on your wedding day. Also good for feeling extra glam whilst trying on the dresses!
We understand that some brides will feel self-conscious at the thought of getting undressed in front of your bridal consultant, but please don’t worry, we really have seen it all, and honestly no longer even notice people in a state of undress! Some of our brides have felt more comfortable by wearing tights or thin leggings, and keeping these on, which is fine. We promise our lovely consultants will soon put you at your ease.
What sizes do you have in your shop?
Pretty much every size! We have over 200 wedding dresses from a size 6, right through to a size 32 in the shop. The majority of our gowns can be ordered in sizes 2 through to 34, and different hem lengths.
What is ‘Bridal Size’?
As you might already have heard, bridal sizes come up super small! This is especially true from size 14 and upward, and most of our brides find that they measure one, two or three sizes up in ‘bridal sizes’. Please don’t worry, it’s the same for everyone, and it really is true! They are just teeny tiny, and no, we’ve never worked out why this is either!
My wedding is happening very soon! Can I buy a dress ‘off the rail’?
Yes, you can. The majority of our wedding gowns are available to buy straight from the rail, and you can take home the same day. We also have other options if you don’t have much time before your wedding, such as ‘rush’ orders, so please get in touch for a chat! Our seamstresses can also turn around alterations very quickly when needed – our record is providing and altering a dress 24 hours before the wedding!
What is a ‘Trunk Show’?
A Trunk Show is a special week or weekend where we are lent an entire collection of wedding dresses from a particular designer. This is a great opportunity to find that elusive dress you’ve seen on Instagram, or to grab a deal, as there is usually a discount offer while the trunk show is on! The designer’s collection of dresses will only be in the store for a few days, so it’s essential to book your appointment to get to try them on.
What is your price range?
Our wedding dresses start at approximately £500, and go up to around £2,000. We work hard to keep our prices sensible, and we have a huge range of dresses priced between £700 and £1,200. Veils, headpieces, and accessory prices vary a lot, but are around £40 – £250 for a veil, and £40 - £120 for a headpiece. Adult bridesmaid dresses start at £189 and go up to around £300.
If your budget is more modest, please do get in touch, as we often have sale dresses or beautiful ex-sample gowns that are available at great prices.
How do I pay for my dress?
We accept payments by credit or debit card, cash, or chocolate. You usually pay 50% of the dress cost up front, and the balance when the dress arrives in the shop. We also offer payment plans (0% interest) so you can spread the cost of your gown over several months.
(On checking, apparently we don’t actually accept payment in chocolate, which is a shame, and something Alta definitely needs to look into!)
I’m a curvy bride – do you cater for me?
YES WE DO! We are very proud of our Curvy Collection of dresses, with over 50 gowns in sizes 20 to 32 to try on. Our shop is the go-to place for a fabulous choice of beautiful, curvy sized wedding dresses in Kent. Rock those curves!
Do you offer alterations in the shop?
Yes, we offer a full alterations service. Our lovely team seamstresses carry out dress fittings on weekdays. Our alterations service gets very busy, and for this reason is available to Alta Costura brides only.
Can I bring a child with me?
Yes, we welcome children in our shop. We understand that it’s not always possible to shop on your own! All that we ask is that you bring an additional adult with you so that they are not left unattended while you are behind the changing room curtains! We have a toybox to keep little ones occupied – please just ask. It is helpful if you can let us know in advance if you are bringing a pram or pushchair, and we will make sure you get the fitting room without any steps. The only thing to note is that we don’t have baby changing facilities.
It shouldn’t need saying, but our brides and their guests are of course welcome to breastfeed in our shop.
Can I bring food/drink/champagne with me?
We have found that food or drink and wedding dresses don’t mix, so we ask that you kindly don’t. Luckily we are surrounded by some amazing restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, so you will be spoilt for choice for somewhere to celebrate after choosing your wedding dress!
Do you have wheelchair access?
Yes, we have a ramp up to our front door, and the majority of our store is accessible. Please let us know if you or one of your party is a wheelchair user, and we will book you into our beautiful ‘Jasmine’ fitting room suite on the ground floor.
Do you have discount sales?
Absolutely! We run our mega ‘ONE DAY SALE’ days twice a year, and they are advertised on our social media. They are great fun, have amazing discounts, and are very popular, with a queue down the road… Think that scene from Friends! We run one sale in the summer and one in the winter. Keep an eye on our Socials for the next date.
HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED APPOINTMENTS IN THE SHOP?
We have introduced a number of measures in our boutique in order to keep everyone safe during this time. Please do ask if you have any further questions.
- Face coverings must be worn (unless exempt), and customers will be asked to use the hand sanitiser on entering the shop.
- We are practising social distancing of 2 metres.
- We can safely welcome a maximum of two guests to bridal appointments at this time, and still have enough space in our fitting room suites to allow for social distancing.
- One of our fitting rooms is temporarily closed, to make social distancing easier.
- All dresses and accessories are removed from the shop floor after being tried on for thorough sanitising.
- We are currently offering Sunday appointments due to high demand for weekend bookings.