Don't panic, this isn't one of those hippy happy earth posts where I explain why its a good idea to howl at the moon on the 4th day of your cycle to ensure a sunny morning on your wedding day. However, I can forgive a few for thinking this might be a cynical attempt to convince brides to part with their hard earned cash quicker and I promise it is not that either.
Over the last 18 months there has been a marked shift in how brides search, view online, pinterest, try on and then buy their wedding gowns. Statistics show this to be the case too. I am the first to applaud a well thought through strategy for searching for and then finding the right dress. I do love a wedding folder, honestly a well thought out, tabbed and coded ring binder is a thing of joy to behold and I have been known to applaud brides in store on theirs - I'm a bit sad and don't get out much to be honest!
Yet what we have started to notice in store are brides stealing their own happiness. Ending up so frazzled and worn out with the pressure of trying to find THE perfect dress that they have indeed stolen the joy from their own experiences. They come to us tired, fed up and generally knackered and I actually heard on Saturday, "I just want to get it over and done with" from a bride visiting us as her 9th store. That's surely not what she intended when she started out on her wedding dress journey and indeed she already had a favourite but was insistent she has to check "just in case"
So what do I suggest. Here is my advice for brides starting out looking for a wedding dress in Surrey, London or anywhere in the world:
1 - Enjoy your time "surfing the web" - this is your time, you are the bride, enjoy it!
Have fun pinning and browsing instagram for inspiration. I found this the best bit. Find those
designers that you seem to gravitate to and save any images of things you love. Shops will find it so helpful to see what you are inspired by and we even send out a questionnaire asking to see the images in advance to help us focus in on the best look for you
2 - Pick your stores carefully - obviously we would love to see you at Aurora Bride but if you are not near us then do your research. Ask friends who you thought looked amazing on their wedding day where they got their gown. No one has ever been annoyed at being told they looked so great on their wedding day that they inspired someone else to shop in their store. Then book your appointments. Honestly, I would limit it to 2 or 3 stores to visit and potentially all in one day or one weekend if you want to keep your team happy.
3 - Be open - if its the first time you are ever trying on dresses its great to have inspiration but please be open to try a little bit of everything as well. I would be sitting in Barbados as my Chris Hemsworth looking butler served me a Mai Tai if I had a pound....
It's SO common for brides to change their style at the beginning so be as open as possible. We suggest to brides that they use their first few dresses to try on all the styles to see what suits the best and go from there! What's the harm - you get to try on even more dresses and some just for a laugh, what great fun! Trust your stylist, they get paid for this!
4 - Once you have found the dress that makes your heart flutter, STOP!
This is where brides go wrong the most in my eyes. Once you have found that one dress that makes you feel the most special then stop searching.
I'm not saying get your credit card out whilst in the dress. If you need to have that time to think on it then take the time. Book a retry appointment for the following week and rest till you are ready. But please stop searching, stop googling, stop looking for something similar.
Why do you need something similar when you feel amazing already? All that you are doing is adding to your inquisitive mind and thinking well there must be something else out there???? Once you have done this you have already stolen the joy you felt when your heart fluttered by making it one dress out of a 100 not the most amazing gown you have ever worn.
I'll let you into a secret - there probably is something else out there! There is probably a wedding dress in the world that I would love more than my dress (and I have seen millions of dresses). And yet I love my dress, if I got married again tomorrow I would still wear my dress because of the emotional attachment I have to it and the joy I experienced when I ordered it. Brides that are constantly searching for the next best thing are sucking the joy out of their own experience and making it feel like a job rather than the fun event it really should be.
You don't need everyone to see the dress. You don't need to bring 7 bridesmaids, their children, the neighbour and her dog. Who you need with you are those really special people that know you the best and who it means the most to. Whether that be mum, your sister, your best friend, your dad or a godparent. By bringing 17 people to an appointment (we actually counted 17 in store once with one appointment) you are allowing the experience to become a democracy and if there is one time you get to be the all supreme being in your world, without question this is when you pick your wedding dress.
By the time a bride has been to 3 or 4 stores she is already started to lose the attention of Team Bride. As a bride you want to be the sole focus of your girls, you want to be the centre of their attention. Can you imagine being dragged 4 or 5 weekends in a row to 12 shops to watch your friend constantly try on dresses. Even the best of friends would lose the will to live.
So basically what I am suggesting is to some brides the worst idea imaginable. The thought that you could find your wedding dress on the first weekend you are shopping and that you should stop there, is an awful thought to some. If I wasn't seeing in store what I am currently seeing then I would agree with you, but honestly finding your wedding dress is only the start of your wedding dress journey. There is Accessory appointments, First Fittings and Follow up fittings in store. You are just taking your first baby steps on the road to collecting your dress for the big day so don't worry that you are missing out. A good store will make you feel amazing throughout your journey but you are the only one to make yourself feel great at the start.
Enjoy your time how its right for you. But remember, please don't make this a job and don't steal your own thunder.