3 things I wish I had known before going wedding dress shopping for the first time 1 month ago

3 things I wish I had known before going wedding dress shopping for the first time

It's official: I've said 'yes' to the dress.

It was admittedly one of the parts of wedding planning I was most nervous for, although I still can't quite pinpoint why.

But I tried to put it off in whatever way I could.

When I began to think about what my wedding day would look like, the idea of 'the dress' seemed like a vague, somewhat-terrifying, "I definitely have looooooads of time for that" concept that I didn't want to go near.

I was able to picture the venues, the ring, the shoes (most likely flats, since I'll probably fall flat on my face otherwise) - basically, just about everything else.

Just not what I'd actually be wearing on the day.

When my mum and dad arrived from Canada two weeks ago, they were determined that I would find my dress (or my mum was, anyways) - and that I wouldn't be a ball of nerves while doing so.

While the experience was definitely...something, there are a few things that I wish I had known (or advice I had followed) before going wedding dress shopping.

There's different kinds of wedding dress appointments

I'm not talking about the fitting ones versus the ones where you actually try on dresses. I mean the shaping consultations and the browsing consultations.

I hadn't actually done much research into what kind of dress I wanted for the wedding. And, as I later learned, I had no idea what shape would actually suit me.

A few people had been urging me to at least go to two shops for wedding dresses (if not more).

In my search for where to actually go, I found a shop that had a shaping consolation as the first kind of appointment - where, in a step-by-step process, they took me through every kind of shape/style/design imaginable.

Despite being overwhelmed and kind of confused about it all when we arrived at the shop, I left knowing which kind of shape and neckline would be perfect for me - and after that, the whole idea of wedding dress shopping felt so much easier.

Wedding dress sizing is SO different than actual clothing

Okay, so this one probably should have been a given...and in credit to my mum, she did try and warm me (again, I was too nervous to properly listen - sorry, mum).

But the sizing on wedding dresses is very different than normal clothing.

The dresses that were brought out were absolutely lovely, but they were all sample sizes. In some cases, this meant that they were a smidgen too small for me. And in others, this meant that they were easily about 10 to 12 sizes over my 'usual' size.

The ones that were actually my normal size never seemed to fully lace/button/zip up in the back - which, at first, was definitely a bit of a blow to my self esteem.

After a brief but totally effective pep-talk, I realised that the sizing tags don't actually matter - especially since the dress is going to be fitted to me in a few months, anyways.

QVC has brought out its own affordable wedding dress and it's actually lovely

Visit more than one shop (and don't be afraid to revisit them)

After some gentle nudging that this was the right move, I went to a total of three wedding dress shops in my quest to find the dress.

My dress is from the first shop I went to, but it wasn't from my first visit to the shop. I had actually fallen in love with - and had been ready to say yes to - a totally different dress.

We ended up revisiting the first shop because my dad hadn't come with us to the initial appointment, and he wanted to see what one of the dresses my mum had described look like - which is where (after a bit) we eventually found what would become the dress.

I still ended up going to the third shop, because there was one 'what if' gown there. And even though it didn't become my wedding dress, I know I always would have had the niggling thought of 'but mayyyybe that was it'.


Keeley and Sam said 'I do,' in May 2019. In the run-up to her Big Day, Keeley kept a weekly blog about all things wedding-related... from the start of planning, to walking down the aisle.