This is what you need to know about shopping for your wedding dress
Welcome to The Bride Files - covering all things related to weddings as Laura prepares for her big day.
Planning a wedding can be great fun and picking the dress can be one of the best parts.
Before you even get to the dress shopping part, you probably should have an idea of the date, then book your ceremony, venue and some other important parts such as the band and photographer. But once that's all done you get to think about your dress and plan your days out trying on all sorts of designs and styles.
But there are a few things you need to take note of before you commence the search. I spoke to DeStafford Bridal, who are one of the leading providers of bridal wear in the country, and they gave some advice to brides-to-be about wedding dress shopping.
It's owned by Kathy DeStafford who has been in the business for 25 years. Not only do they stock plenty of different designers but Kathy herself has a stunning range of her own bridal gowns.
So, this is what you need to know about buying wedding dresses.
Give yourself time
A lot of places advise you, De Staffords included, to give yourself at least six to eights months before your wedding to get the dress. It can be done in much shorter time but to give yourself less stress and to allow for alterations, for the dress to be custom made or to be ordered in you need plenty of time. There will, more than likely, be some stress in the month running up to your wedding, and you don't want stress from the dress adding to that.
Make an appointment
When you begin looking bear in mind that most places require an appointment and you won't even be allowed into the shop if you just turn up at random. Ring and book in advance but give yourself a few option for dates as they can be booked up for a month in advance, especially weekend days.
Limit your bridal party
You may want to invite loads of people to join you in the experience but DeStafford advise you to limit the amount to two or three people at most. It's not advisable for a number of reasons to have too many people there, but the main reasons are not to crowd the shop floor and not to inundate yourself with loads of different opinions. It's hard enough to make up your own mind up as it is, you don't need five or more people telling you what to think.
No fake tan
A lot of place require that you don't have any fake take or bronzer on your body and neck and other places can go as far as to ask you not to wear any makeup at all. They usually only have one of each dress on the shop floor so they need them to stay as clean as possible so brides will be able to see the dresses at their best.
Don't limit yourself to style
You may think you want a particular style or shape of wedding dress but you could be surprised how different you feel once it's on you. It's best to keep an open mind and try on as many varied styles and materials, especially on your first visit to a shop.
Also, your appointment will only be an hour in most places and you'd be surprised by the amount of dresses you actually get to try on. The time will fly and it can be as low as four so choose wisely.
Get the right bra
DeStafford recommends that you have a good bra on when trying the dresses. A good bra can completely transform the look and shape of a dress. You should be wearing a good bra anyway for support but it's especially needed under a wedding dress.
Have a budget in mind
Keep in mind your budget and be open-minded about the realities of the cost of some dresses. DeStaffords dresses range from €1,300 to above €5,000 but their average dress costs approximately €1,600. Other shops will vary of course but it's a good place to start when budgeting.
The designers they buy from tend to be on the cheaper side but the custom made dresses and unique designs in store are more pricey. They do have a sale rack, like other shops, but you can't guarantee there will be anything there that you like.
Limit your expectations slightly
As fun as the experience is, don't set yourself up for the wedding dress shopping we've all seen in the movies. There are no bottles of champagne, no big reveals and some places don't even have that little podium you get to step on. Hollywood has slightly exaggerated the process so don't be disappointed if there aren't all the bells and whistles you expected.
That being said it is one of the most fun experiences you can have and you will hopefully love every minute of it. With shops like DeStaffords, the staff are so professional and helpful and they add to the enjoyment of the day.
If you spot anything or have a product or company you want to feature on The Bride Files you can get in touch with me email@example.com or on Twitter @LaurHolland.