I’ll be honest and admit that at first I found the concept of wedding dress shopping to be a bit daunting. Being faced with hundreds of dresses to choose from, then stripping down to your underwear in front of a complete stranger and showing each dress to your mum and bridesmaids. On top of all that, what if you didn’t find the one? What if you never did and just had to make do with something that was just ok.
Well, all my fears were for nothing. I took a day to visit three bridal shops and have afternoon tea in between and it was nothing short of amazing. I had a great time shopping for a wedding dress.
A few years ago I would have been far too self conscious to be in front of a stranger in just my underwear but I was completely fine. You just have to think that this is their job and they’ve seen it all before. And after strict instruction to my bridesmaids not to cry again (they did when I tried one on at a fair), I felt a lot more at ease during the catwalk portion of the day. It was really fun actually and I think I’m pretty close to finding the one already so that’s a big weight off my mind.
Though I am a newbie at this, here are my 5 tips for wedding dress shopping – especially if you’re a bit of an introvert like me.
1. Try one on beforehand
I did at a wedding fair with just my two bridesmaids and got the whole “bridesmaids crying” sequence out of the way early. It definitely helped that even though I knew the dress wasn’t the one for me before I tried it on, that I did anyway just for the experience. It made doing it all again in front of both them and my mum a lot easier.
2. Make a day of it
Sometimes it’s better to just get a load of shops out of the way instead of dragging out the whole process. I booked 2 boutiques and we also visited a warehouse type so I could get some variation in. And we had an afternoon tea in between to break up the day. Girl’s gotta eat! Not only did it get a lot of the activity out of the way, but it turned into a lovely day that I got to spend with Emma, Claire and my mum.
3. Wear nude/skin tone underwear
This is something that all boutiques tend to recommend anyway. It just makes things easier and you don’t have to worry about trying to ignore a bright bra sticking out at the back of your dress. They also recommend that you wear a strapless bra. Even though I didn’t want a strapless dress, I still wore one but I paired it with clear straps to get the same effect but get a bit more support. Since I’m a bit gifted in the boob department, there’s no way I could do a strapless bra all day so I got the best of both worlds.
4. Strike up a conversation with the person helping you try on the dress
Before getting in the changing room, start chatting with them and you can make the conversation last all the way through getting dressed. That made me feel a lot more at ease. We were chattering away so it kept me distracted. Obvious conversation starters include your proposal story, what kind of dress you’re after and what sort of things you have planned for the big day. It’s funny trying dresses on actually. I thought I would be stepping into all of the dresses but it was a mix of that and them being put over your head. You feel a little bit like Alice in Wonderland falling through the rabbit hole when it’s going over your head!
5. Try on different styles to what you’re used to
Though I had an idea of the basic style I wanted and tried on a lot of those similar styles, I threw in a couple of wildcards just to check. They were definitely not me but it was funny and gave us a laugh. I tried on a meringue which was huge and a strapless mermaid which though looked good, was definitely not me!
Overall, though I was nervous about it, I realised that (in theory) you only get to do this once so you should just enjoy it while you can. I had a great day and have another couple of shops on my list before I make my final decision. Wish me luck!