Wedding Dress Shopping at Bridal Boutiques…. a quick guide!

Shopping for your wedding dress should be a fun and exciting prospect for Brides-to-Be although the experience may be a little daunting for some and often the concept is a trip into the unknown. Here is a quick guide to wedding dress shopping and visiting bridal boutiques. 

Make an appointment - Visiting a Bridal Boutique to look at wedding dresses is normally possible if you happen to be passing however, the majority of boutiques require you to make an appointment if you would like to try gowns on. This is not to put you in a high pressure sales situation but enables the boutique to welcome you in and give you their full attention without interruption.  For example, at My little Wedding Shop we work with one bride at a time ensuring they have our full attention, have the time to try on different styles and discuss their own ideas for their day and their bridal ensemble. 

who to take wedding dress shopping

Who to take with you? - When planning your visit try and book your appointment at a time when you can be accompanied by people who you would like to share the experience with.  Many Brides-to-Be may be tempted to invite all their friends with them when wedding dress shopping, however, this can be confusing and chaotic and you risk trying on dresses purely to please your friends rather than because you love them yourself. The best advice we can give is to choose people whose opinion you value and who understand that they are there to help you choose a gown that is perfect for you. This also helps keep the final choice of dress a surprise for your wedding guests who will get to see you on your wedding day, in your perfect dress and chosen accessories, looking simply beautiful.

fun wedding dress shopping

What to expect on your visit? - So, once you have booked in your appointment and chosen who will accompany you, what can you expect when you arrive at the boutique? At My little Wedding Shop the first thing is to make you feel settled and take the time to get to know a little bit more about you and your ideas for your wedding day over a cup of tea or possibly something bubbly!  A great recommendation is to bring with you any pictures of gown styles that you like as well as general background ideas for you wedding day as this can really help us know more about your style. However, do be flexible and open. Use the ideas you have gathered in a Pinterest board or scrapbook as inspiration and as a springboard for identifying gowns to try on to see how you look and feel in them.

time for wedding dress shopping


How long will it take? - Allow a good hour and a half to two hours if this is your first time visiting a boutique as this allows you to try on a selection of gowns and re-visit your favourites without feeling pressured or rushed. The experience of trying on dresses is not just about putting them on and taking them off, but taking the time to see how you feel in a particular style , how you would compliment the dress with your hair ideas and accessories. The big question now-a-days is Veil or No-Veil and how will this look with your chosen dress. If you feel a dress is a contender take the time to relax into it, try sitting in it and even try some dance moves to help decide wether this dress may be right for you and your planned day!

What to wear on your visit? - It is important when looking for your wedding dress that you don’t get embarrassed. Wedding dresses as a rule are not the kind of thing you can put on unaided and you will be helped to dress in the fitting room by your bridal wear consultant. This is important as each dress may have its own ways of fastening and is also important for the boutique that the dresses are not damaged when trying them on.   When preparing for your visit, it is a good idea to dress for the occasion….and in this we are talking underwear! There is no need to have your bridal lingerie already picked out and on when you visit the boutique as your choice of dress will affect your lingerie choice. However, a simple strapless bra and plain knicker set can be very useful. Don’t be tempted to wear an overly padded bra as these can often fight against the structures built into the gowns and give a false impression on how the dress will fit you.  At the boutique we are here to help you find a dress that not only compliments and flatters your figure, but also reflects your personality and character, so be open and honest about what you like and dislike and we can ensure you get the most out of your time. 

photographing wedding dress .jpg

Can I take pictures? - It is very tempting to want to take lots of snaps of you in the sample dresses when you walk out but do be careful. Many boutiques will not allow picture taking so it is always best to ask first. At My little Wedding Shop we are happy for you to take pictures for reference and to help remind you of the dresses that you have tried, however, we do issue a word of caution. Try and use these images purely as a reminder to how you felt in the dress; too often brides will decide against a style because of a snap taken on a camera phone of them in a sample dress that has been pinned to fit. If you feel stunning in a gown this will shine through, you can re-visit a gown that you have shortlisted to see if you still love how it makes you feel. 

perfect wedding dress

How to order the perfect dress. - Once you have chosen ’The Dress’  it is very rarely a case of walking out of the boutique with it as your dress will be made for you. The bridal consultant will take your measurements, confirm the design and any design specifics with you and most will require a non refundable 50% deposit at the point of ordering. In general, boutiques will require a 3-6 month lead in time to get your dress made, fitted and altered, so do check with the boutique that this fits in with your planned wedding date. At My little Wedding Shop all gowns are made to measure at the boutique, so at the point of ordering, we will book in your fitting times which will be planned against your schedule in the run-up to your wedding day. These fittings are also a deadline for you to be making other decisions as you will be required to bring your bridal lingerie and shoes with you to each fitting.  The majority of brides will have at least 3 fittings of their wedding dress to ensure the perfect finish and fit and this can be an opportunity to dedicate a little ‘me time’ when a lot of brides become increasingly busy getting everything in place for the big day.

Are there any hidden costs? - Dress fittings and alterations are requirements to ensure the perfect fit when buying your wedding dress. If you purchase your gown from a boutique who orders their gowns in, your dress will arrive in a standardised size and will be fitted to you. It is worth mentioning that many boutiques will charge for this service so do ask what the boutique charges for fittings and alterations.  At My little Wedding Shop all our gowns are made to measure so we like to make sure there are no hidden costs for the bride. All fittings and alterations for our dresses are included in the ticket price.

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The important thing to remember is that wedding dress shopping should be fun. It can be confusing, strange, exciting, revealing and emotional. We are here to support you though that journey and ensure that the experience of choosing your wedding dress becomes a fond memory and a vital part of your wedding preparations.

We hope this has been useful and we look forward to seeing you at the boutique to help you on your journey!

If you would like to book an appointment, please use our contact page and we will get you in the diary.

Happy New Year!