There are many common mistakes brides make when they come wedding dress shopping - often because they are underprepared or unwilling to think beyond the ideal vision that they have in their head. But wedding dress shopping needn't be stressful, or fruitless, or time-consuming. Here are our top 10 mistakes that brides make when shopping for a wedding dress - try to avoid these and you should be fine!
1. Not knowing their budget
Unless you really do have an unlimited amount to spend, you should have an idea of what you can afford. Obviously your budget will go a lot further if you choose to shop for discount wedding dresses, from a factory outlet or discount designer store, but you still need to know what your limit is.
2. Not considering extra costs
When you budget for your outfit, you need to remember that you will be wearing more than just a dress! You need to consider your shoes, underwear, a veil if you will be wearing one, any jewellery you don't already own (I'm guessing most of us didn't have a tiara before we got married!), and even your hair and make up should be included.
3. Bringing too many people
You should definitely bring someone. Many people bring their mum and a sister or a close friend. Whoever you choose, they should be people you trust to give an honest opinion but also not try to influence you to choose a dress they like rather than the one you like! Any more than two people and you're going to end up with too many different viewpoints, which can get confusing for you. Besides, you want your wedding dress to be a surprise for as many people as possible on the big day!
4. Getting all made up to come wedding dress shopping
Okay, so wedding dress shopping feels more special than normal shopping, but there really is no need to get all dressed up for us! You should make sure that you are wearing a well-fitting bra if you are likely to need extra support under your wedding dress, but apart from that, casual is fine. In fact, we would prefer you didn't wear any make up that could get smudged off on to the dresses.
5. Shopping too early (or too late!)
Shopping too late is less of a concern for shopping at wedding dress factory outlets, for example, as these dresses don't need to be made from scratch for you, but you should still aim to leave enough time for any alterations. As for shopping too early, you really need to at least have the wedding date booked, and preferably the venue, as both of these decisions will influence what style of dress you choose. Also, if you aren't ready to make the purchase, you could fall in love with a dress that isn't available when you have the money ready.
6. Not having done a bit of research before
It's all very well having an open mind as to what style of dress you want, but you should have some idea about what you like. Knowing your venue will help (beach weddings have a very different dress code to church weddings!), but take the time to look at some pictures and see what appeals to you. Perhaps you prefer plainer dresses to the more detailed ones, or a detachable train to a built in one. If you have no idea where to start, it can be a bit bewildering to look at all the wedding dresses on the rails!
7. Only trying one style on
Conversely, being adamant you will only try on white strapless ballgowns, may mean you miss out on a dress that would suit you more, as well as restricting your choice somewhat.
8. Trying to buy a smaller size saying "I'll lose weight before the wedding"
It's so easy to say, but not as easy to achieve, and while we're not saying that you won't lose weight before your big day, it is worth remembering that most dresses can be taken in by as many as four sizes without affecting the style. Letting a dress out is much more difficult, and if it is possible, you will only be able to let it out by one size. So choose a dress that fits now, and have it taken in when you lose that weight!
9. Forgetting they have to spend a whole day in the dress
This sounds obvious, but many people will try a dress on and decide to buy it without even trying to sit down in it. The wedding dress is for more than just the ceremony, so think about how comfortable it will be to wear while sitting down, eating and even dancing in. This is particularly important with corset style bodices that can be restricting, and fishtail dresses, which if too closely fitted can stop you being able to sit down at all!
10. Buying a dress you don't love
This is YOUR dress. It should be the dress that you keep comparing all other dresses to (I still do this 4 years after my wedding, and so far, I still love my wedding dress more than any other!). Choosing a dress because it made your mother well up, or just because it has a coloured trim that will match the bridesmaid's dresses is really not advisable. You aren't planning to do this more than once, so make sure to buy the wedding dress of your dreams.