Bridal expert Carina shares the dos and don'ts of finding the dress of your dreams.

So, the wedding date is booked and you and your partner are still in the giddy ‘newly engaged’ bubble and everyone is delighted for you and asking you loads of questions about things you haven’t even thought about yet! One of the main questions a bride gets asked by well meaning –nosey—friends and family is ‘When are we going dress shopping?’.

You will notice its when are WE going and not when are YOU going because in all honesty they aren’t even thinking about you finding the dress of your dreams they are just thinking how lovely it’s going to be to spend the next 6 months travelling to every shop in the country, looking at pretty dresses and drinking prosecco!

Take my advice. This is my area of expertise. Reign them in now or you will spend every weekend taking the bride tribe for days out while slowly driving yourself mad in the process!

Here is my Bridal Bible on the Do’s and Don’ts on finding the dress of your dreams with ease –

  • Don’t rush. If your wedding is two years away, then you have plenty of time before you start your quest. Relax, browse magazines and the internet and save anything you like the look of. The ideal time to start your dress shopping is around 12 months before the wedding with the view to ordering around 9 months before. This will give you plenty of time to order and have your alterations completed.
  • Do your research! Know the shop that you are visiting. When booking your appointment ask any relevant questions like sample sizes, policies on tan/makeup, rules on the amount of guests you can bring with you, deposit required if you find ‘the one’ etc
  • Don’t have a set idea. It’s one thing to have an idea of what you do and don’t like but don’t discount a dress because you think you won’t suit it. Wedding dresses are very different to your usual clothes so make sure you try the style before deciding you don’t like it
  • Do take the Consultants advice! The consultant is there to help and advise. She knows the dresses and has seen hundreds of brides so she knows what suits. Yes, it may be her job to sell dresses but no reputable store will want to see a bride a dress that doesn’t suit her – they want their brides to look the best they can so if she suggests a style or a dress then you have nothing to lose by trying it on!
  • Don’t take an entourage. It’s very tempting to treat the Bridal Appointment as an opportunity to have a day out with the girls but too many opinions can lead to disappointment. Take up to 3 people with you, choose opinions that you trust and those closest to you that know the style of wedding you want and won’t try to impose their desires on to you.
  • Do have a budget in mind. Brides say all the time that budget doesn’t matter if it’s the right dress. For the most part this isn’t true, everyone has a budget in mind even if they don’t say it. If you are honest and tell your consultant your top budget, then you erase the risk of falling in love with a dress at €4k when you know that €2k is your limit.
  • Don’t Panic. Once a wedding date is announced then everyone around you becomes an expert and insisted on telling you what you should have already organised. While I advise to have, your dress ordered around 9 months before your wedding then please remember it’s a guide line only. Larger Bridal shops will always have options available to brides who have a short lead time. From rush delivery to off the rail options there’s always a solution. Have you ever seen a bride on her wedding day who didn’t have a dress? No, me either!
  • Do enjoy the moment. It’s a wonderful time and it’s something you will remember forever. Make sure you remember it for the right reason.

“A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view. – Sophia Loren”

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All the Wedding Best

Carina x