Saturdays are always days full to the brim of beaming brides, excited bridesmaids and families who have waited in anticipation for a time when they venture into the world of wedding dress shopping. And what a world it is!
For a lot of brides, it really is a complete unknown. What underwear should you wear? What questions will you be asked? What if there’s nothing you like? How long will, or even should, it take and so on. It is exciting and bewildering all at the same time.
When I opened Lottie’s Bridal, it was always going to be key that our brides felt happy and relaxed and enjoyed their experience. With that in mind, there is no right underwear! If you feel like you want to wear your neon green bra, then great, wear it! If it takes longer than planned whilst you work your way through the whole of the boutique, then fab, as long as when you come into us you feel relaxed (at least by the end of your appointment) and happy, that really is all that matters.
I’m not going to pretend it will be how it is in ‘the movies.’ You might not have the overwhelming moment of knowing your dress is ‘The One’ and that the nearest and dearest you bring with you won’t clash or be opinionated maybe, but we will always try our best for it to be a memorable, enjoyable experience.
Which brings me back to last Saturday. As my first bride of the day walked through the door, I could see that she looked nothing short of fed up! She had been to numerous shops and just hadn’t found anything that she loved. Her dress shopping experience so far hadn’t been great and the mood was generally down. We had a little chat, her Mum got me right up to speed and once we’d had plenty of bucks fizz and looked through the dresses, we began to try on.
By dress number 3, everyone was a lot happier and I was hearing all about the proposal (I love that bit) and themes and bridesmaids, it was fab. As I went in to help do up dress 4, the bride turned to me and said “Is that a silk dressing gown?” to which I of course replied with a giggle and a yes and what the bride said next made me both thrilled and slightly sad all at the same time!
“I can’t tell if this is normal or if this is just a really posh shop!”
Girls … We are normal! We are or try incredibly hard to be, everything you would expect or envisage the experience of buying your wedding dress should be. I say time and time again at wedding fayres, to new brides, to my staff; we are all about you and yes shouldn’t that be normal?
After all if it wasn’t for our brides, Lottie’s would be fairly non existent! So bring on the twenty questions you have, feel comfortable with the suppliers you choose, drink lots of bubbly and just enjoy being a bride!!
What a fabulous day we’ve had! We were kindly invited by Ribby Hall Weddings to attend their bridal afternoon tea event. The plan was to have something a little different to your normal ‘wedding fayre’ and so the brides who attended were treated to afternoon tea (when someone offers cake, surely it’s a bonus) and an insight into the wonderful world of some fabulous suppliers including Flower Design, Charlotte Designs and John Francis Photography.
I thought long and hard about what I would say in my ‘five minute presentation’. What would you brides like to know? What advice could I offer that didn’t sound boring or like a lecture and would go well with cake? Finally after lots of deliberation I thought I would tell everyone there my Top 5 Tips for choosing the dress! I have to say it was quite well received so I thought I’d also share it on here as a little guide for you to, so here goes ….
1. Keep an open mind ….
When you get engaged the first thing you probably want to do is go out and buy a wedding magazine and look at all the gorgeous dresses or refer to the Pinterest page you’ve been creating for months in anticipation of him asking the question! This is fabulous and of course a great source of inspiration however … Dresses look completely different when you try them on and things may surprise you which leads me on to ….
2. Try on things you perhaps wouldn’t consider.
As much as it would be brilliant to; I don’t design the dresses. Of course I love the gowns in the boutique (I bought them after all ;)) BUT … if you try one on and you don’t like it, that’s fine! I won’t throw you out of the boutique, I won’t be offended; but you will have tried it. You will have ticked a box and hopefully in three, four, five months after you’ve chosen your dress, you won’t have that moment of ‘Oh no should I have had a fishtail?’. If at the point of choosing your gown you’ve tried things you perhaps wouldn’t have thought about, then you’ll know your choice is the right one.
3. Choose wisely.
You want choosing your dress to be a fab experience where everyone has a great time and becomes a happy memory you will share with your nearest and dearest. Bring people with you to your appointment who love you and will support your choices and your style. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a dress, coming out to show your friends and family and someone openly saying they don’t like it. You probably won’t be able to forget that and although it probably is someone whose opinion you value, would you share a wardrobe with them? Are your tastes the same?
4. Don’t be afraid to trust your instinct.
Wedding dress shopping is unlike any other shopping experience you will have. It is all about feelings, something which we’re told not to rule with when buying other things. You’ll hear ‘weigh up the pros and cons’, ‘think about it’ and although these are great pieces of advice, the biggest thing is trust your instinct. That feeling that is telling you there’s something special about a certain gown, even if only for a second, trust it. I’m not saying you’ll have the moment where ‘you just know it’s the one’. That doesn’t happen as often people think, but chances are you will feel drawn to feel connected to a particular gown. Trust that.
5. Keep the experience fun!
Let’s be honest, we all love to feel like we’ve exhausted all options, looked everywhere, tried it all on but how productive is that? Usually by the end of a day like that your feet hurt, your head is frazzled and you would probably never want to think about another wedding dress for quite some time! Choose two, perhaps three boutiques and do your research. Choose shops you like the feel of from their website, social media, perhaps a friends recommendation and enjoy going there. Tie in lunch before or afterwards with your friends and family and make a day of it. The crucial thing to remember is not to make it a chore! There’s nothing worse than a bride who has been up and down the country, tried on countless dresses and is totally confused and stressed. Where’s the fun? Make it a happy experience you will remember fondly.
I hope you take something from this and have great joy in finding the gown!
See you in the boutique soon