Wedding dresses shopping tips : What to expect once you’re in the bridal shop

You’ve done the research. You’re an expert on ball gown silhouettes and sweetheart necklines. Now the time has finally arrived-it’s wedding dress shopping day! But like the rest of the wedding planning process, shopping for a wedding dress is slightly more complex than shopping for your basic pair of slacks. Know what to expect before you hit the stores!

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips Every Bride Should Know

First, you must decide where you are going to shop; Once you known here are the most common : What to expect once you’re in the bridal shop : 15 useful wedding dresses shopping tips

Jennifer Gilford Spring 2015 wedding dresses

Jodi McDonald Photography | Jennifer Gilford spring 2015 wedding dresses

1. Make an appointment, and, if possible, try to shop during a weekday. You will receive more attentive service if your sales associate can dedicate his/her time especially for you.

Wedding dresses shopping tips,wedding dresses

Ali and Garrett Photography


2. Bring someone with you whose opinion you respect and trust, but avoid bringing an entire brigade of “experts.” Too many opinions will distract you.

3. Many bridal boutiques will not simply allow you to browse through the selection of wedding dresses; rather they will bring gowns to you one at a time. At these boutiques, a sales associate will sit down with you to discuss your style and will bring you dresses that reflect your vision.

Made Bride by Antonea | Adrian Wood Photography

Made Bride by Antonea | Adrian Wood Photography

4. Consider bringing the lingerie that you will wear at the wedding. This will help you determine exactly how the wedding dress will look and feel on the big day.

5. Most likely, you will not try on dresses in your actual size. Stores typically carry sample sizes (8-10), and the sales associate will pin it to your body.

Photography: Mr. Haack | Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror

Photography: Mr. Haack | Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror


6. That said, allow them to bring you many styles. While you may have an idea of what you want, you never know what looks best on your body style until you try it.

7. Wedding dresses tend to run small, so be prepared to order a size that is larger than you normally wear.

wedding dresses,what to expect in the bridal shop

Kyle John Photography


8. Don’t forget that you will have to be fitted – up to 3 times – before your wedding dress fits perfectly. If the store has an in-house seamstress, ask for an alterations estimate.

9. Go with your gut! If you need to be convinced that a wedding dress looks good on you, it’s probably not “the one.”

Gorgeous wedding dress | What to expect in the bridal shop

Jenny Packham gown and hair perfection | photography by Jemma Keech


10. If there is a specific feature you want changed, you can usually request it. Keep in mind that any design changes will increase the cost of the wedding gown.

11. When determining the cost of your wedding dress, remember to factor in the cost for the veil, which can run up to £1,000 and beyond, and other accessories such as shoes, headpiece etc.

backless wedding dresses

Image via oncewed


12. Sleep on it. Most stores have a no return policy, so you need to be sure before making your final decision.

13. Once you have found “the dress” and made your final decision, you will usually pay a 50% deposit on the dress.


wedding dresses,percy handmade 2014 bridal collection,wedding hair updos

photography by Jemma Keech


14. Afterwards – the store will take your measurements to order size – don’t be tempted to order one too small in hopes of losing weight.

Nardos Imam wedding dress ,wedding dresses

Nardos Imam wedding dress | Photo by Apryl Ann Photo


15. Remember that the dress usually takes a few months to be made, so make sure you leave enough time for alterations.

lace wedding dresses

Foraged Bouquet Inspiration by Christie Graham 

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  • Hi Jessica and i take you team,

    I need advice! I’m going wedding dress shopping for the first time next weekend!! Ooh exciting!! But I’m a bit stuck about what I should wear ( especially underwear wise – above in this post no.4 you mentioned about lingerie! ) I think I’ll probably go for a strapless dress so should I purposely wear a strapless bra to go to the shops in?

    so hoping you can advise me please…

    Also, should I take some high heeled shoes with me to try on with the dresses or just worry about that later once I’ve actually chosen my dress??

    Any advice would be helpful! Thanks!!

  • Hi Donna,

    Thank you for your message.

    Most shops can give you underwear etc, but I would suggest you take your own strapless bar as you know it will fits you perfect. And also your shoes should be similar height to ones that you will wear on your wedding day. But if you forget, most shops will provide shoes to try on.
    Unless you’re tall, you don’t need them. The sample dresses will generally be too long even in shoes.

    Lots of luck and enjoy.

    Kind regards

  • A multi way/strapless bra and knickers that cover your bum are ideal. Most shops will loan you shoes to try on but I never bothered.

  • Strapless bra, and pair of knickers you don’t mind being seen in, the shoes, down to you. The shops have some as well, it is when you have the dress and come to the final fitting that you need the actual bra and shoes you are planning on wearing on the day.

  • Hi Donna,

    I wore my nicest underwear that covers me up! plain bra and knickers that arent grey! i didnt wear a strapless bra-i just took my straps down for strapless dresses-the first day of dress shopping is just like a warm up anyway.

    I didnt take shoes-they give you long as you take the right stuff when youve bought your dress you will be fine.i guarentee when you find the one youll go back at least a second time anyway!

    Have a fab time x

  • Hi everyone,

    Some shops insist that you wear a strapless bra (for hygiene reasons), and will provide you with one if you don’t wear one to your appointment.

    Other shops will leave it up to you, and others prefer you not to wear a bra.

    To cover all base’s, wear a strapless bra (skin colour if you can) and knickers that cover you up.

    Happy shopping!

  • Hi everyone,

    Oh wowww thanks for all the advice! 🙂

    I think I’ll stick to comfy, matching underwear that I don’t mind showing to everyone else in the shop then!!

    Have a lovely day xx

  • Hi everyone and I takeyou team

    Can anyone recommend a shop to start my search for a wedding dress in London? There seem to be so many, and I really don’t know where to start. I don’t want to drag my friend to too many shops, and would really appreciate some views on where would be a good place to begin trying on.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Victoria,

      I think it is best to start with a shop that does a range of designers.

      You need to decide on a budget, do a search on internet for wedding dress shops in London.

      Have a look at our site on wedding dress section, we’ve listed by designers. When you found a few dresses then have a look where is stockist and if they are in your price range then ring them and book an appointment.

      Also good to look at pictures in wedding magazines to see where has things you like. A good department store (debenhams, libertys etc depending on your budget) can be a good ‘general’ place to start.

      Good luck! Hope this help.

  • Try Morgan Davies in Islington, which has a fantastic range (Cymbeline, Alan Hannah etc) at a variety of prices.

  • Hello,

    I bought my dress from Berketex Bride. They have a very big selection although it is not as personal as some of the smaller shops it had my dream dress so I didn’t really mind!

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