Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning (right after cake tasting…), but before you book appointments at boutiques all across town, it’s important to ask the shop a few questions.
Not only will this prepare you for wedding dress shopping, it will help you work out if it’s the right boutique for you.
Read on for the six important questions to ask your wedding dress shop.
Which brands do you stock?
If you have your heart set on a certain bridal designer, do your research first to check if the boutiques in your local area stock the designer.
While many brides end up going with a designer that they’ve never heard of because the dress suits them, finding out the brands that different local boutiques stock is a good way to narrow down the ones you want to visit.
What’s included in the price of my boutique appointment?
Many boutiques charge for appointments, so find out if you’re required to pay and add this cost into your wedding budget – especially if you’re planning on visiting lots of boutiques.
The next cost to consider is wedding dress alterations.
When you buy a dress from a retailer, you try on the style you like in the size they have in store, then they’ll order it in the size closest to yours, and alter it to fit. Make sure you find out how much that alteration is going to cost.
Some retailers include alteration costs in the price of the dress but you may find that the dress therefore costs more, so make sure you work out your total costs.
Ask your bridal boutique if they have insurance
You’re handing over a lot of money so they should have insurance to cover anything happening to your dress. Your own wedding insurance could cover this, so look into it.
Keep in mind that it’s common to pay 50 per cent of the cost of your dress when you place the order. Ask when they want the rest of the money so you know where you stand and you can budget.
How many wedding dress fittings do you need?
Two to three is average.
Usually, you’ll have an initial fitting, then a further one after the alterations have been done.
After that, a small final adjustment may be needed – it’s normally no more than a finishing touch to make it look perfect.
When and how will my wedding dress arrive?
Find out how long before your wedding the dress will be ready.
“Most designers take at least 12 weeks to make a gown and the more time you give them, the happier you’ll be with it, so it’s in your own interests to leave as much time as possible,” says Ian Stuart. “For instance, unless we have something in stock (that doesn’t need major adjustments), it’ll take at least 12 weeks as we make to order.”
Designer Sassi Holford agrees, “Six months is absolutely ideal, but it’s negotiable depending on the time of year and the availability of the bride for fittings.”
You may want to take your dress away with you well in advance, or you may prefer the store to keep it for you. “They should show the dress to you, and it should be steamed and ready to wear, and presented in a protective bag,” says Alan.
Can I take my mum and my friends wedding dress shopping?
Lots of brides want to take their mum or their bridesmaids wedding dress shopping, so make sure to check whether your chosen shop has space for you to do this.
It’s also worth asking about their opening hours. Some bridal shops may be able to arrange late fittings for you if necessary.
Now you know what to ask your bridal boutique, read our guide to everything you need to know before you going wedding dress shopping.