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Wedding Dress Shopping At The Bride

One of the first questions asked to any newly engaged bride to be is often “have you found the dress yet?”.  An exciting time, with lots of plans to be made, it is no wonder many brides often find this somewhat overwhelming, it’s hardly as if shopping for your wedding dress is akin to selecting your latest purchase from John Lewis.

Romantic sitcoms would often have you believe it’s a wonderful and glamorous affair (which it really can be) but they are often lacking in practical advice when it comes to tackling the curious question of wedding dress shopping, lead times and fittings…

So, exactly when should you start wedding dress shopping? the answer can depend on a lot of factors ranging from where you are buying your dress from… which kind of dress you are looking to buy through to when exactly you are getting married?

So today we wanted to impart some insider knowledge with you, if you are wedding gown shopping with us here at The Bride here is when to shop, how to get started and the common myths we would like to dispel…

Our Lead Times

Ideally we like to have eight months with every bride at our boutique.  We receive your dress from the designer 2 months before the wedding in order to ensure we can schedule fittings and allow plenty of time for alterations.  If a bride is getting married outside of “peak wedding season” (which is generally regarded in the industry as May to September) we can get the dress delivered later –  within 4 weeks of your wedding date.

At The Bride all of our designers are British, this means generally speaking we don’t have rigid lead times. However, if you have your heart set on a Jenny Packham wedding gown they take 4 to 5 months from order to delivery.  It is worth noting with our other designers we may have to charge a rush order if the dress is needed within 4 months.

Realistically, 8 months before the wedding allows us plenty of time to schedule all fittings, appointments and the more time we have, the more flexible we can be in terms of times/ dates available for us to see you.  It also means that the overall process is not stressful for any party involved.  We can also allow for time for any weight fluctuations.

There is also a common misconception that you can start shopping for your wedding gown “too early”, shopping for a wedding gown is a personal experience and we would like to reassure you that it is not entirely uncommon for for a bride to be to find their dress 12-18 months prior to their wedding day, we are more than happy to work with this time frame.

The Perfect Fit

From January 2020 we will be changing our fitting services, to ensure that we are able to offer an individual and fully bespoke service to each boutique bride.  We used to offer standard/ made to measure/ full couture services across all designers (with most brides fitting in to the made to measure option)  Due to a change in costs and services from each designer we have made the decision to break these services down a little further.

Going forward we will not be ‘offering’  the fitting service at the point of sale (i.e when you initially order your dress).  We will give an indication of the range cost, mostly likely between £300 and £600 on top of the price of the dress.

When our brides are being measured we can then take an informed view based on the measures and the dress itself as to what the best option is.  We can be open and transparent with the bride,  offering our expert advice, but then based on the costing,  you, the bride can choose what option they would like to proceed with.

The services include standard size, modified/ mixed sizes (with alterations packages payable on top) we will be keeping the made to measure and full couture services but they will not be available for all dresses.

We have found increasingly that our brides are budgeting separately for their dress and fittings so hopefully this will make it clearer and easier to make a decision on the dress when it is being tried on.

We are all about the fit of a dress, and know that it has to be right!  However we want to be clearer with you, our brides, on realistic outcomes and offer services to suits all level of budgets, and we find having more meaningful conversations at measurements is much better than overloading you with information at the point of sale.  We are really excited about these changes and believe it will lead to a better level of service!!

Sample Gowns & Accessories 

If you have a short engagement, need a gown sharpish and our showroom sample fits and is in good condition we may be able to sell you the sample dress.

And our final words of wisdom… choose your accessories thoughtfully. There will usually be several appointments after initially selecting your gown which gives you plenty of opportunities to trial various veils and hair accessories.

In addition, at least three times a year we offer “styling events” whereby we have a hairdresser at the shop offering free 30 min hair trials, together with one of our designers Miss Clemmie on hand to offer styling advice and bespoke orders.  We have a larger selection of accessories available and we also have promotional offers available too.

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