Preparing to buy your wedding gown?...
It’s finally your time! If I’m top of your list of boutiques thank you so much and I CANNOT wait to help you find your dream dress. I will introduce you to some of the best bridal designers and gowns around.
If you’re looking to book an appointment then you’ve probably already purchased a few wedding mags, found some great insta accounts and you likely have loads of pics on your Pinterest board. Hands up who had to hunt for their Pinterest password once they got engaged? I was that girl. Buying bridal isn’t like going for a shopping trip in your fave city on a girls weekend, its doesn’t have to be hard or scary (although you will be nervous every time you walk into a bridal boutique… thats normal!) Buying your wedding dress should be the most enjoyable experience, so take your time, research and prep.
Not sure where to start? Maybe this will help.
Instagram – This can be a great tool for searching specific terms. Get on hashtags and search for terms that describe your vibe and ideal dress. This is how I came across the boutique that I bought my own wedding dress from. I searched #uniqueweddingdress and #lavenderweddingdress this led me to Hayley Paige. Once I landed on her insta page I knew she was the designer for me and from there I browsed her collections. Once I had a top 5 list of dresses I searched the name of each dress for example #arlogown and this took me to hundreds of different images and videos of this dress from models to real brides and studio images. And thats where I found my nearest boutique from one of these posts.
Hit the save button when you find a dress you love. Don’t be afraid to send DM’s asking queries when you find a dress, not sure on the designer or maybe want to suss out the price? Brides love to talk about their wedding and wedding companies are always willing to answer your questions.
Pinterest – Now I’m not sure about you but I get easily frustrated with Pinterest. I find it great to search for images but I find it so frustrating when you click the link and it doesn’t take you straight to the image. If a dress has a name or designer attached to it I would head over to google to find out more info.
Whats your budget – Have you thought about how much you want to spend on your dream dress? Every bride is different and there isn’t a right or wrong amount, its what you feel comfortable with. Do take into account that dresses don’t include the cost of alterations and all wedding dresses need some kind of alteration for that perfect fit.
On my website every designer has a price bracket listed so you know in advance which collection may best suit your budget, every dress is also labelled in the boutique when you arrive.
My advice… don’t try on a dress thats way over your budget, a little bit of wiggle room is ok but if your budget is £1500 I wouldn’t advise you try on a £2500+ dress. Take it from the girl who fell in love with a £6k dress on instagram (didn’t know it was £6k did I), went merrily off to the closest boutique to try and was quickly made aware of the price. Thankfully the boutique had just sold the sample so I didn’t try her on, if the dress was there I would’ve ignored my own advice, tried her on, fallen in love and would then have faced a divorce before I was even married. So thats why we don’t try on dresses out of budget.
Buying a sample gown – I’m not a fan of the big sample sales, queue for hours, rugby tackle other brides for that dress you think you want but actually you don’t. I’ve personally never been to one but I just think that about that episode in Friends where Phoebe and Rachel go to a sample sale for Monica’s dress. Probably a laugh but not the beautiful experience you were expecting bridal shopping to be?
As a bridal shop that aims to have dresses from the latest bridal trends my stock rotation on dresses will be frequent. I only have so much space and I want all the newest trends on the rails. Therefore at Lotte Rose Bridal I will always have gowns available to buy and take home the same day – because I change stock quickly the sample dresses are often immaculate. It’s awful when you walk into some traditional boutiques and all the dresses look a bit grubby and like they’ve gone stale as they’ve been sat there for so long!!
I’m a sample dress bride, best choice I ever made. I got a dress that fit my style, from the designer I loved, in perfect condition and at a price that worked for my budget. They even stored it for18 months for me, win!
Below are just a couple of dresses I can sell off the peg.
Who you bring shopping – I’ve had quite a few queries on this already, thankfully covid has decided this for us right now. With all the restrictions in place it’s no more than two guests to accompany the bride. In normal life it will be three.
I appreciate there will be times when brides want to bring a large group. It’s good to note that often bridal boutiques are independent and therefore small, big groups simply won’t fit. For me I can accommodate some requests, I have additional seating (when we don’t need to socially distance ourselves) but my top priority is giving you the best bridal experience, this doesnt normally go hand in hand with a large group.
I want you to feel relaxed, pressure free, confident and know that you have 100% of my attention. When a big group is present this is hard to achieve, and this is your time, your special moment! It’s not about having an afternoon out for your friends to enjoy, it’s about YOU having a magical time.
Bring people who’s opinion you respect and or need. You don’t need over opinionated friends / maids / or anyone else. Every person is different, different tastes, styles, opinions, so everyone in your group will probably pick a different dress! It’s natural. Only bring people that will allow your thoughts to shine, that will watch and listen to how YOU feel about each dress. Anyone who doesn’t respect that or this wonderful experience should not be included.
This is me at my first appointment – I had my mum, my sister and my aunt (she was contributing some of the ££).
I’m pretty opinionated when it comes to what I personally like to wear so they were here for support and not for advice. Perfect for me. And that blue dress you see in the corner, thats my dress!
Trunk Shows – What? A topic that confuses even the most experienced bride. I covered it in more detail on my last blog post which you can read here. It’s basically an event where a designer sends in a whole collection to a boutique. This is super exciting as I don’t stock whole collections…no bridal shop does, its just not viable. So this is a great oppourtunity to see gowns not normally stocked. A trunk show event may be perfect for you if you are after a specific designer as you will have so much more choice during these events.
I advertise my upcoming trunk shows on instagram fairly frequently, do feel free to check in with me about when the next one will be.
Evie Young Dylan and Arrow – not gowns I normally stock from Evie Young Bridal but they will be in the boutique 23rd-24th Jan amongst others. On the 25th Jan they will be packed up and likely head to another bridal shop in Europe or America, this is what a trunk show is all about.
When to start shopping? – Again there is no right or wrong answer here either, its personal and every bride is different. Ideally no later than 9 months before your wedding date. Gowns will take approximately 6 months from order to arrival leaving approx 3 months for alterations. Leaving it too late can cause unnecessary stress and reduce the options that are available to you. I can get you a gown in 3 months approx but you will have to pay a rush fee to the designer for them to prioritise your dress over others. The other alternative is to buy a sample, which I have lots available but when we have to take certain options off the table due to time restrictions this can cause unnecessary stress – which I don’t want you to have!
TIP – remember if you buy later then you have less time to pay for the gown.
You can never start shopping too early if you are a bride who knows what you want. I was one of these brides, I knew what I wanted and I bought 18 months in advance. If you are someone who suffers from FOMO or will easily be lured by the next gorgeous dress pic on insta/pinterest be careful not to shop too early. Bridal silhouettes don’t change that much, trends will come and go but the main shapes will stay the same each season. Make sure you know what you truly want before comitting, there’s nothing worse than paying a deposit and then a few months later wishing you’d held off a bit longer.
As I aim to change my stock fairly frequently it does mean that I carefully choose and also have to let gowns go to keep the rails fresh. If a bride see’s a gown and LOVES it, buy it, it may not be there in a few months time when you have been to five other boutiques.
How many boutiques to visit? – there aren’t any set rules but here’s my advice… from someone who went to 7 boutiques and hated 5 of them so much I regret going, I didn’t research properly and some were just plain rude. Do your research! Only visit boutiques that offer you your ‘vibe’, check out social media pages and read reviews. If you want something modern and cool don’t go to a traditional boutique, it will have a negativie impact on your overall bridal experience, trust me.
One or two is a good number to visit, after about dress seven they will all start to merge into one dress in your mind, again trust me. Dare I say but it does actually get boring trying on dresses that don’t suit your ‘vibe’ just for the sake of it. Your experience will be much more memorable with a more tailored selection that suits your style. If you don’t know what your style is its ok to try a wide variety, you’ll quickly learn what you love.
Try and find a boutique that cares about you for you. Again trust me when I say there are some boutiques not too far away that will greet you with a sour face (I don’t know why when working in bridal is such a magical and beautiful place). I had a couple of boutiques treat me like I was an inconvenience when I went dress shopping. You get treated like a queen at Lotte Rose, just saying!
Note – brides will always be told ‘You’ll buy the first dress you try’ or ‘You will go for what you’re least expecting’. This is true for some and not for others, you are all DIFFERENT, and that’s what I love. It’s ok to be the bride that buys the first dress, or the bride who buys the dress she came in desperate to try, or the bride who loves a dress but needs to go away and think about it, or the bride who buys the dress she didn’t expect to love.
Stay open minded, relax and enjoy the discovery process, let your assistant gently guide you, let them get to know you. There are no rules, we are a unique modern bridal boutique and have the modern bride covered – you don’t need to visit another boutique to confirm your decision (Because that’s what ‘everyone’ else has done) but if you do that’s ok!!
Also can I just say when you do find the one and you don’t have tears streaming down your face and neither do your bridal party… Its ok! We aren’t in a movie and tears are actually quite rare. I haven’t had any yet. I always thought I was weird for not crying when I found my dress and got annoyed my mum didn’t either. Turns out we’re just normal, but she is still annoyed I didn’t wear a veil. Sorry mum!