Wedding Dress Shopping


Excitement, you are about to look for the most important dress you will ever wear! Read my guide to help you find your perfect wedding dress.


If you’ve read my blog ‘Wedding Shopping’ then you will already have a budget that you are happy with for your wedding dress.

If you haven’t then this is the first thing to do before even looking at what’s on offer. With a budget you will know what type of boutique is going to cater for you. One of the first things a boutique is probably going to ask you is your budget, so it really makes sense that you know your minimum and maximum spend. One last thing don’t forget to factor in alteration costs if you are looking to purchase a ready-made wedding dress.


When do you start wedding dress shopping? I would say that you should be looking to start in earnest about a year before the wedding and perhaps spend about a month or so looking at the boutiques you have chosen. Don’t be tempted to start too early, this will just become tedious and then you will have to start all over again when the new season is released. If you leave it until 6 months before the wedding you will be cutting things a bit fine.

Budget Thresholds

There is so much on offer now it can be really daunting to know where to start. With a budget this will narrow down that search.

I think that budgets fall into the following thresholds: –

£1,000 and under

£1,000 to £1,500

£1,500 to £2,000

£2,000 and above


£1,000 and under

You are probably looking at the budget end of the wedding dress market, so this will be a mass produced, ready-made wedding dress. Some higher end boutiques do offer sample sales from time to time so this could be the ideal time to snaffle yourself a bargain. Watch out for those alteration costs though.

£1,000 to £1,500

You are looking at giving yourself a little more wiggle room with boutique choices; again you are probably looking at a ready-made wedding dress. Most, not all, at this price point will be mass produced and will have names that suggest they are designer dresses so just be on your guard here and don’t be afraid to ask the boutique owner. Those pesky alteration costs may still apply too.

£1,500 to £2,000

I would say this is the most popular price point for brides, so you are now opening up a much larger choice. You are now entering the market of ready to wear and made to measure; there is plenty on offer, which is lovely but also might be a bit daunting. Don’t be fooled there is plenty of mass produced, ready-made stuff at this price point. They are often masquerading as designer gowns but in reality, they are not. The key is to research the boutique and what they have to offer and above all don’t be afraid to ask questions about the stock they hold.

At this price point, you will find some beautiful boutiques, who stock designers who are real people or you may even be seeing the designer in person; how fab is that.

£2,000 and above

This is another very popular price point, but you should be looking for a wedding dress that isn’t mass produced. At this price point you should be looking for something that isn’t stocked in 20 other shops and the further you move away from £2,000 the more exclusive you should be getting.


Top Tips

It’s so exciting trying on your potential wedding dress and it’s also easy to get carried away. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of boutiques offering ‘buy it now’ deals, once you leave the boutique the deal is gone. This is a tactic I personally abhor, frightening you into purchasing something and heightening your FOMO; so many have done it, regretted it and cannot take the dress back.

If this happens to you, walk away; if they want your business, they will honour that price, if they don’t then you have escaped lightly.

Another hard sell tactic in order to make a quick sale is to say that a buy it now as seen wedding dress can be let out or taken in. Well to take a dress in is certainly easier, but if that dress is huge on you, taking it in a lot will make the alterations an absolute headache and much more costly.

Letting a wedding dress out; well on most mass produced wedding gowns, the seam allowance is minimal so in reality you are looking at about 3mm wiggle room on each seam. Be warned when promises like this are made. If it’s too good to be true, it normally is.

Who to Take?

It’s so lovely to have your bride tribe with you when you are shopping for your wedding dress; or is it? Having lots of people with you can be really confusing as everyone will inevitably have a different opinion.

My advice would be to go on your own or take just one other person with you; you will have the time and space to think about what wedding dress you want on your wedding day.

By keeping your dress under wraps, you really do make an impact when you are seen for the first time. As a photographer I love the emotion of the bride tribe when they see you looking just perfect. If they have seen everything the big reveal will be a bit of an anti climax.

One Last Thing – HAVE FUN!!!!


Here are some links to British Designers, all dresses featured in this blog come from Emma Tindley : –

Emma Tindley

Suzanne Neville

Nicola Anne


Featured Venues: –

Northbrook Park

Fulham Palace

Ashdown Park

Yew Lodge

East Court

Wedding Shopping - Making a start

You’re Engaged – Fantastic

If you are engaged then you are probably having fun looking for the suppliers that will be just the right fit for your wedding.

It can be daunting working out what you want and how much you want to spend.

Step by Step Guide to your Supplier Budget

Step 1 – Work out your overall budget for the wedding; so, the maximum you want to spend on absolutely everything.

Step 2 – Make a list of the things that you want for your wedding from venue, which will probably be your largest outlay, down to wedding favours. Include everything you want for your wedding.

Step 3 – Sort the list into what is most important and what you want to spend the most on; item one being the most important with the highest portion of your budget.

Step 4 – Now allocate the amount you wish to spend on each item of your wedding.

Step 5 – Add everything up and if you are at your maximum or lower then great. If not, you will need to make some amendments.

Step 6 – Take a breather, have a cuppa, then go back to the list. Look at the bottom least important items on the list. Look at what you have allocated to spend.

Step 7 – Look at pricing for the bottom items on the list and see if the budget you have allocated is realistic for the average price of the item.

Step 8 – Now this is the ‘biggy’, if the budget is very slender you will be looking to book the suppliers who operate at the cheaper end of the market. If that element of your wedding day didn’t turn out quite as you expected, how would you feel? If you say “well it wasn’t the most important part of my day so that’s life”, then you are fine. This item is in the right position. If you think you might be a bit sad then time to think about moving it up the list.

Step 9 – Look at the most important elements of your day with the highest budget. You are looking to probably book in the higher end of the market, so are you really that fussed or can that item move down.

What’s Important

It’s a good way of really thinking about what is important to you both. No two couples are the same and what they want for their wedding day isn’t the same.
There is so much out there at the moment, couples often think they have to have it all in order to have the best day.

Sooo Much Choice

In reality, a lot of the stuff available to couples now can entice them to place most a massive amount of importance in the planning. On your wedding day it actually means nothing and can have you wondering what on earth you were thinking.

Keeping it Real

Being able to think things through before you go wedding shopping means you are less likely to get carried away on the crest of a wave. If you are planning to go to lots of wedding fayres, your list with budget will keep you focussed on what is important to you both.

Have a go, you might be surprised!


Links to Wedding Planning Services:-

Wedding Helpers

Boutique Weddings in Italy