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Going shopping for your wedding dress is super exciting – you’ve narrowed down the list to a selection of wedding dress styles that you love, and you’re ready to hit the bridal boutiques near you to try them on and find the one!

However, before you get started there are a few parts of wedding dress shopping you may not know about. We’ve rounded up the definitive list of what every bride must know before she sets foot in any bridalwear shop.

Read on to make sure you’re clued up!

1. Don’t Bring Everyone

It’s an exciting time, we get it, but if you crowd yourself with all your bridesmaids, your mum, your mother-in-law, your grandma and your next-door neighbour, you’re going to be overwhelmed with opinions and find it stressful.

For your first visit, take your mum and your maid of honour, or a couple of others who are close to you and bring back more people later on when you’ve narrowed it down to what you know you like.

2. Champagne isn’t Always Offered

Don’t be surprised if you’re not offered a glass of bubbly like you see in the movies – depending on the licensing laws of the local council, some boutiques will be unable to offer you a glass of fizz. However, you’re very likely to be offered some sort of refreshment – shopping for your bridal gown is a seriously fancy occasion.

3. Wear Practical Underwear

And bring spares! Go for skin coloured, line-free underwear that isn’t going to show too much under what you try on. Take a couple of different bras with you, such as a strapless one, to allow for different necklines.

4. Be Prepared

You may have to be naked. Some dresses won’t allow for a bra at all and so you’ll have to take yours off to try on your gown. Don’t worry though, the sales assistants have seen it all before.

5. Wedding Dress Sizing is Weird

Much like your favourite high street shops differ from place to place, so do wedding dress designers. Don’t focus on the size of the dress, but instead focus on how wonderfully it fits you.

6. Know Your Shoes

It helps if you know what kind of shoes you want to wear, or at least the rough heel height. Then you can take a similar pair with you and see what your choice of wedding dress will look like with those shoes.

7. Be Open About Your Budget

Read up on wedding dress designers so you know their price range and pick ones that fit with your budget. Be open with the store staff as well so they know what your price limit is and don’t show you dresses that will break the bank…and your heart.

8. And Be Realistic About It

Remember you will also need accessories – you might want a belt or sash, a veil, different shoes or a headpiece and these will all add up. Allow for extras in your budget, and also factor in for alterations as they can cost more than you’d expect.

9. Don’t Just Drop In

Make sure you pre-book your bridalwear shop appointment to make sure you’re getting the best possible service. Most boutiques are appointment-only to guarantee you’ll get the best possible service. Some may even take a deposit for your appointment – this is usually redeemable against the purchase of a dress and helps to prevent against no-shows for the shop.

10. It’s Quieter in the Week

If you want a more dedicated experience, book a day off work and go in the week. Saturdays and Sundays will be jam-packed with appointments, whereas a quiet Wednesday will be more enjoyable.

11. Start Early

Your wedding might be two years away, but you should still allow yourself plenty of time when it comes to wedding dress shopping – some places can take six to eight months to create your dress complete with all your alternations once you’ve picked it, so you need to start searching earlier than this to give yourself as much time as possible to find the one.

12. Style Your Hair

If you know how you think you’ll want your hair, go for that kind of style on the day of your dress shopping because you can get a better idea of how you’ll look in the dresses you try on.

13. But Go Easy on the Makeup

Don’t put of lots of makeup – no one wants to be the girl who smeared red lipstick on a wedding dress or left a foundation mark on a veil.

14. There Might be No Tears

Just because no one breaks down in tears, it doesn’t mean it’s not a stunning dress. It’s not always like a cheesy rom com…

15. The One Might be Hard to Find

But that’s what makes it so special! Some people fall in love with the first dress they try on, others try on 30 or 40. Everyone’s dress journey is different so don’t feel disheartened if you don’t find the one right away – it’s definitely out there.

16. Think About Your Venue

If you’re getting married in a church you probably want to avoid that sheer, strapless bridal gown – the vicar may not be too pleased. Ditto, if you’re marrying in the middle of winter. Don’t forget to factor in your environment so you don’t get carried away with an impractical choice of dress.

17. Check the Fine Print

Finally, like with all major purchases, check the fine print. Find out how much deposit is required, when you can expect your dress to be instore, what’s included and what’s not and whether they will hold your dress for you until your wedding.

Ready to go dress shopping now? Make sure you read the 15 emotional stages of wedding dress shopping so you’re extra prepared.

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