Whether you've built it up for months or the pre-appointment nerves set in when your foot's on the doorstep, wedding dress shopping can be scary. And we're not saying that to scare you, but only to prepare you - and to tell you why it absolutely doesn't have to be! It is a big decision, and a big commitment (not the biggest commitment of the wedding though, so there's always that silver lining...) which can often be accompanied by big, stifling, all-encompassing fear. However, it doesn't have to be like that, and any good wedding dress shop worth their salt and silk will help you with that.
Of course, there are the more extreme contributing factors, such as body dysmorphia, which our hilariously honest and beautiful real bride Annie talked about in a previous post, but today's focus will be on more common everyday reasons why you may want to avoid the whole dress shopping scenario.
Mainly, it's the fear of the unknown. It's the biggest fear of all mankind - it's why we fear death, and, less morbidly, the dark and the oceans - and it's just as applicable there as it is in this case. Most people won't have been in this situation before - some may not have ever stepped foot in a bridal shop, and those who have may not have been in the environment as a bride before. So how the hell can you know what to expect?!
We're going to take you back to basics. When you arrive, we'll make sure you're comfortable, have a chat about your wedding - the styling, what's important to you, what you're dreaming of - and then take you through the dresses. Your bridal stylist will be on hand to help you choose the dresses you fancy trying on (we wrote about this in our last blog post, if you fancy reading that one too!). Then, we'll get you trying them on in one of our two gorgeous dressing rooms (tropical paradise or monochrome macrame heaven) and hopefully finding the one!
Be prepared in the immortal words of your Uncle Scar. Try and wear nude underwear that doesn't cling or cut you, and a well-fitting bra if you're going to wear one on the day. If possible, wear a multiway bra so that you can try on all sorts of dress shapes and really envisage what they'll look like. If you have a particular shoe you'd like to wear on the day, there's no harm in bringing that too! Your body shape can change completely in heels, so if you're going to wear them on the day, it's a great idea to bring a similar pair to your appointment.
There will be some adjustments that need to be made to it, and that undoubtedly can be stressful. Once your dress has been made, it still may not be 100% perfect when it arrives, as they're standard sizings. But don't worry! As our über talented seamstress explains, that's actually a reason why wedding dress shopping is magical:
"We all deserve the couture treatment and having your wedding dress altered to your shape, height and idea of perfect is part of that ‘this dress is the one’ feeling. I would say 9.5 of 10 brides have something changed on their wedding dress so it’s perfect for them, making every bride's dress unique. Quite often they need taking up, the waist making smaller because its been ordered to accommodate a larger bust, or sometimes completely reshaping the bodice to accommodate a petite frame, which can be a scary prospect. On the other side of it, it’s a deeply satisfying feeling when you try on that made-to-fit dress for the last time before your big day and you know it flatters your body shape completely. The outcome: total body confidence."
It also means you get to come back and see us again, which is good for many a reason: a) it's more time to enjoy the wedding dress shopping process, but b) we love catching up with our brides and they always end up as our friends!
Another key thing which makes wedding dress shopping seem so terrifying is the media's portrayal of it. Now we know, talking about the pressure of the media is hardly a surprise in a campaign about body confidence, but it also puts the pressure on the whole experience itself. You don't owe it to anyone to do your dress shopping a certain way, other than yourself.
Tear up the rulebook. If you'd rather make the decision on your own, don't bring your bridesmaids. If you'd rather not tell anyone what it's like, keep it a secret. Dress shopping doesn't have to come with loads of scary peripheries that you'd rather not have.
Also - we're nice people! I know, there's nothing less convincing than me telling you we're great people, but we're about as far removed as you can get from the godawful lemon suckers most blockbuster films make bridal stylists out to be. We're genuine people with a passion for finding wedding dresses that make people feel bloody brilliant. We're all real women, in real sizes, with real experiences of the wedding world. You can laugh with us, dance with us, cry with us, and relate to us - and that's super key.