10 things you need to know before you go wedding dress shopping

All the etiquette need-to-knows of buying your wedding dress

Have a stress-free time shopping for your wedding dress by sticking to these ten golden rules…


1. Do your research

If you walk into a boutique with no idea what style, material or shape you’re looking for, you’re guaranteed to feel overwhelmed by the sea of taffeta and lace. So delve into some wedding dress research before you hit the shops. You’ll get more out of the appointment as the staff will be able to dig out designs they know you’ll love.

2. Have a budget in mind

Many a bride has tried on her dream gown only to find that the price tag is out of her reach. Some bridal shop assistants will ask you to share your dress budget before you browse – to save your frustration later, and their wasted time.


3. Don’t bring the whole world with you 

Every bridal shop wants to give you the best service possible, and that’s hard when there are ten different voices flying around the room. Most boutiques are intimate places with limited space and staff, so stick to one or two close companions to lessen the stress all-round. They may also feel it’s a security risk to have lots of people milling around the shop while they’re helping you try on a dress.

4. Expect to pay extra for alterations

The ticket price on a designer dress probably isn’t what you’ll end up paying in total. Boutiques genuinely don’t know how much time and resources will go into tailoring your dress until you’ve chosen one and been measured, so the fees aren’t normally advertised upfront.

5. Don’t try on the whole shop

Climbing into a wedding dress is far more time consuming than trying on your average party gown. All those hooks, ties and layers take time to get into, so whittle your selection down to your favourite few and enjoy the process without being rushed.

6. Don’t pay the deposit until you’re 100% sure

Most boutiques won’t offer a refund, so don’t commit to your dress unless you know it’s ‘The One’. Look around in case you find another one you prefer. However, if you’re shopping at a sample sale, there’ll be pressure to buy on the spot, so it’s best to do your research first and have a particular style in mind.


7. Let them know if you’re expecting a big weight fluctuation

Trying to lose a significant amount of weight before the big day? Let the shop assistants know, as they’re more likely to put off alterations until the last minute. Don’t risk your dress being completely the wrong size at your final fitting.

8. Wear sensible underwear

When you’re being measured, you should ideally wear the underwear you plan to wear for your wedding as it will affect how the dress will fit. Even when you’re trying on wedding dresses for the first time, wear underwear that’s true to your natural shape, rather than your ultra padded bra and too-small thong. That is, unless you plan on wearing them on the day!

9. Don’t wear temporary tan or tons of foundation

Leave orange stains all over a crisp white wedding dress and you might be ushered out the door before you can say “veil and tiara”. While you obviously want to feel glamorous when you’re trying on wedding dresses, stay clear of caked-on foundation or temporary tan that comes off easily.

10. Call ahead


Lots of places operate a booking system, which means they can give every bride the attention and experience she expects. Even if you think it’s going to be quiet, it’s good etiquette to call ahead before you set off.