Hot Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping

Here at Willow Bridal Boutique we are passionate about helping you find the wedding dress of your dreams and want to make it as stress free as possible, with that in mind here are our top tips.

Have an idea of what you want wear before you step foot in a bridal boutique.

Check our wedding dress designers websites, bridal magazines and of course Pinterest ahead of any visits to your chosen bridal boutiques. Come armed with the style numbers, designer names images and magazine tears. This will really help narrow down your choices ahead of time but things might change when you start trying on the gowns.

Looking for a certain wedding dress

Just because a bridal boutique carries your favourite designer doesn't mean it will have the exact dress you've been dying to try on as many stores don't have a designers full collection. I would always suggest dropping an email or call beforehand and request a specific style, chances are the boutique will be able to call in a sample of that gown especially for you. Do be aware that some stores will charge for this service.

Be clear on your wedding dress budget.

Our advice is be clear to yourself your friends, bride tribe and bridal consultants what you would like to spent so everyone is clear from the start. Don't forget to add extra for alterations to your chosen bridal gown.

Wedding Dress Timings

Wedding dresses are made to order and can take 6 months on average to come into a boutique from ordering. Alterations can take 6 - 8 weeks on most dresses so we always suggest looking for your dress 9 - 12 months prior to your wedding day, ordering no later than 9 months before.

If you're short of time most bridal boutiques have ready to wear rails, can rush gowns in (depending on designer) Always given them a call and ask for advice based on your wedding day.

Make bridal boutique appointments during the week, and not forgeteting to block out time for fittings

Bridal boutiques are generally much quieter during the week compared to the weekends where its crazily busy. During the week you tend to get much more individual attention than on weekends when boutiques are busy.

Don't forget to block out appointment times for your fittings. You will tend to need two or three of these to get your dress fitting to perfection.

Involve your trusted tribe...

This could be your mum, your best friend, sister, or mother in law to be. Only bring people along to your appointments with opinions you trust, keep the list small and remember who has the final say (Thats you) do remember the old saying too many cooks spoil the broth.

Get your bride tribe together before you go wedding dress shopping

Have your mum, friends, and mother-in-law-to-be together for drinks or dinner before any appointments They will bond and become friendly, and learn each other's tastes. That way they won't be jockeying for dominance during your appointments and making your choice difficult.

Do your hair, but DON'T do your makeup when you're trying on dresses

Most bridal boutiques want to keep their wedding dress samples in pristine condition and won't be too pleased to find you smeared lip gloss all over the inside of a dress or the dreaded fake tan on a fancy Ivory & CO gown?

Try a sample sale or trunk show, but be prepared to pay for your dress up front

If you are on a limited time scale or budget and maybe rant sure with entirely what you want

a sample sale is a great place to get a designer dress for the fraction of the cost but do remember you will often need to pay for your chosen gown in full and take it away the same day in order to grab a bargain.

A trunk show is a great chance to see a designers entire collection in the same place at the same time with often a hefty discount for any dress ordered. Do remember these events are often appointment only and book up weeks in advance.

Remember: There's no perfect number of dresses to try on

Don't get frustrated when trying on wedding dresses. From experience it could be your first dress, it could be your 50th dress. There's no telling when the moment will happen but when you know you will know. My best advice is your dress that you feel yourself in at your most fabulous.

Be open-minded when trying on different wedding dress styles

You never know the super glittery ballgown is actually the secret to your happiness. Maybe not but, keep an open mind when trying on wedding dress styles. Be bold go outside your comfort zone.

Its all in the details

Don't forget to shop and budget for your headpiece, jewelery, shoes, veil and any other little details that are going to complement your chosen wedding dress. Your dress is just one part of the picture, also think about your overall look and aisle style. If you want anything custom made to complement your wedding dress do factor in these can take time to make.

Read the small print

When you order your wedding dress from a bridal boutique it's important to triple-check the contract and terms and conditions of sale. Always read it carefully, so you don't end up with the wrong size or colour—and get the designer, style number, measurements, price of the wedding dress and accessories, as well as the deposit amount, all in writing and always get a copy.


Alterations are not often included in the sale price of a gown full price or off the rail so do check with the bridal boutique what their current policy is and whether the alterations are completed in house, off site, their recommendations. Again check the terms and conditions carefully as most seamstresses are completely separate and independent from most bridal boutiques. Always get a breakdown of the alterations costs and timescales.

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