Shopping for ‘The Dress’
Ask The Expert
The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique
Something a little bit different on the blog today!
Somewhere along the lines of my journey with every Bride + Groom I get asked for help + advice
whether it be about Venue’s, Flowers, Entertainment … outfits …
And I love being able to offer guidance and pass on names of fab people I have worked with in the past
This is such a personal industry and word of mouth recommendations are often the most powerful
So what I am going to offer is a series of “ask the expert” blog posts …
Inspiring + talented people in their fields to offer words of wisdom + help with your planning
Towards the end of last year, a mutual friend (the awesome Jonny Draper) put myself and Diana in touch …
and I am so glad he did!
We instantly hit it off, have remained in touch ever since and became friends! awwww
Diana had a dream … she followed her heart …packed in her day job … and launched The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique
An utterly beautiful Bridal Boutique located in Pickering, North Yorkshire
Diana is one of those people who you can meet for the first time … have a chat and feel like you have known for years
She will instantly put you at ease and provide a truly personal Wedding Dress shopping experience
Testament to her hard work & dedication is her recent nomination for Best New Bridal Retailer in The Bridal Buyer Awards!
So lets hand over to Di and see what advice she can give 🙂
I was very honoured when the lovely Hayley asked if I would be her bridal gown shopping expert!
Shopping for your gown should be such a special experience,
but we find a lot of brides-to-be get a little overwhelmed or are unsure of what to expect, or if they will ever find their dream gown!
Trust me, there is a gown out there for everyone, it’s just a case of getting yourself in the right frame of mind.
Having these guides to refer to is such a great idea too and I really hope you find it useful!
So the first place to start is to get inspired!
I don’t think we have ever had so much information available to us when it comes to getting inspiration
(whether it be for bridal gowns, or planning my little boys birthday party themes!!)
So get yourself a scrap book (Cath Kidston or similar obviously!)
Pinterest board (I’m sure many of you have already!) or make an album on your phone and go crazy!
The wedding blog sites are just fab for getting all kinds of bridal inspiration.
Just a few of our favourites are:
Then there’s the bridal magazines and wedding exhibitions too.
Get an idea of what styles you like and who the designers are.
Have in the back of your mind your style of venue and time of year too –
this will help rule out or select certain gowns you are drawn too.
Have an idea of a dress budget before you start your shopping.
There is nothing worse than falling in love with a gown that is completely out of your price range.
Having a budget in mind will help you spend more time trying on the amazing collection of gowns that are in your price range.
Planning a wedding can take quite a length of time, more so when it comes to making sure your dream suppliers are free on your date!
It is such an emotional journey that the more focused you can be about certain parts the easier everything can fall into place.
That is why we suggest you plan ahead and start shopping for your gown at least 10 to 8 months before your wedding.
If you are surprised at this, you are not alone, most people are!
If you do allow this time, it increases the selection of gowns you will have to choose from
and if you decide you wanted something custom made it gives you that flexibility.
Now it’s time to compile your dress shopping list!
If you have found a particular gown that you like and would like to try it on, check out the designers website for your nearest boutique stockist.
Give them a call and ask if they stock that particular gown, as not every boutique will stock the same gowns from the designers collection.
It is likely that they will then be able to request in a sample of that style from the designer for you to go and try.
You will need an appointment for most boutiques so its good to call ahead anyway.
Remember Saturdays are always the busiest days so if you can do a week day, it may give you a bit more time.
Once you have found your gown that boutique will be a part of your wedding journey for quite a few months!
So try and choose a boutique that works with you and cares about you too.
Someone you feel you’ll be able to pick up the phone to and ask their advice about anything that’s on your mind!
Choosing your gown can be quite an overwhelming experience,
so think carefully about the people you take with you – they can really help guide your thoughts.
I’d suggest 2 or 3 guests maximum, that know you and your style the best and who’s opinions you trust.
You need to be able to hear yourself think without lots of differing opinions.
Gowns often look very different in pictures and on the hanger than they do when tried on, so shop with an open mind.
As much as you may have an idea of styles you like or don’t like, don’t be afraid to try something that the boutique stylist recommends.
You may actually love it, or not have considered it until you see yourself in the mirror.
I didn’t think for one minute I would choose a gown with a blush pink overlay and a big bow on the back for my wedding day,
but I did! I just felt amazing in it!
Chat to your boutique about your wedding too.
Tell them about your venue, or theme if you have one.
This will help give them an idea of other gowns that will reflect everything perfectly.
Go for a coffee with the girls after your appointment and take some notes on what you liked or didn’t like.
If you do try on lots of dresses this will be helpful to look back at if you start getting a little overwhelmed!
Try and trust your instincts
If you can’t see yourself walking down the aisle in a particular gown,
or you have to be convinced that it looks great on you, then it’s probably not your perfect gown.
Don’t worry if you don’t get ‘The One’ feeling where everyone is in floods of tears like you see on TV!
Lots of brides don’t get emotional, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘The One’ and you don’t feel and look amazing!
A few other things to think about are your our finishing touches.
Such as a veil, headpiece, jewellery or shoes are the glue that pulls everything together, but often get forgotten about.
Most boutiques will style you with some accessories, but ask to try some if they don’t.
The one thing for me that just completes the bridal look is a veil.
Choosing your veil is a very personal choice and some brides haven’t even considered wearing a veil until they try one on.
They are often seen as quite traditional pieces, but there are so many different styles which just ooze elegance and are in fact pretty timeless.
If you are hesitating about whether to wear one I would say go for it!
What other day in your life would you get the chance to wear one?!
If your gown is heavily embellished or has lots of detail than I would opt for something quite simple, or go for a veil that maybe has sparkle or a lace trim if your gown is more simple.
My personal favourite is the Cathedral veil, which is floor length.
It just looks so stunning as it falls to the edge of the gown and flows down the aisle! So dramatic!
If you don’t want to wear a veil then a statement headpiece can also look just as dramatic, but you can wear both too!
When you are thinking about hair accessories I would have an idea of how you will wear your hair on the day.
Maybe have a chat with your hairdresser and trial a few options to see what works best for you and what different pieces will hold in your hair.
For example, if you were wanting to wear a comb or hair pins then they would need something to grip in to, so an up do would work better.
A statement headband or vine would work well on hair that was up or down.
Flowers are also becoming quite popular for a softer look and can be as combs, crowns or pins.
Jewellery can also be your statement piece or just something simple.
Gowns that have quite a simple neckline, work great with a statement necklace, or wear a pair of simple drop pearl earrings with a gown that has more detail.
The gorgeous low backs that we are seeing on gowns work fabulously with a backlace too, which you could even just put on for your evening reception!
The beauty of accessories is that they can totally change your day to night look!
There’s not many of us that wouldn’t love to change their complete look numerous times during their day,
but unfortunately for most it’s just not possible!!
So this is where pieces such as jackets, shrugettes, stoles, sashes or belts can also step in!
If you would like a bit more cover up in the day why not add a little lace shrugette or jacket?
Feather stoles can help keep you warm in those colder months and would look fab in those outdoor shots!
One final thought, that brides are often just not sure about is lingerie.
Quite a lot of gowns come with built in support, be that boning or corsets which mean you don’t really need to wear a bra.
Your bridal consultant will be able to advise you on this too.
Of course you want to feel as amazing underneath your gown and there are lots of divine bridal lingerie brands out there now.
If you don’t want to go the full hog then you could just add a gorgeous garter!
I really hope you have found this helpful or its maybe answered a few questions you were thinking!
Choosing your gown is such a special experience so the main thing I would like to leave you with is just enjoy it 🙂
Lots of love, Di xxx