Back in October 2020 I stepped into my third bridal shop, found the gown of my dreams and said yes to the dress.
You can read all about my experience of wedding dress shopping in this blog post, but I can’t believe how fast time has flown since that day.
Just over seven months later, I finally received the text to say that my dress had arrived in-store and I could go and not only collect it, but try it on.
Keep reading to see how my appointment went and hear my top pieces of advice for collecting your wedding dress!
Things to do before the appointment
You generally don’t need anything for this appointment, but if you’re able to take your wedding shoes and any accessories (such as hair pieces or your vail) I’d recommend it.
Taking your wedding day underwear, or something that is loosely along the lines of want you want, might also help you to visualise your dress for the wedding day better. Depending on the fit and whether it has straps, sleeves or neither, you’ll get an idea of what underwear works best.
I took my shoes but didn’t even take them out of my handbag, because I was so absorbed in just staring at myself standing in my dress. But it was good to have them there just in case.
What happens at the appointment
As I’d booked the first appointment of the day at the amazing Serendipity Brides in Northamptonshire, I had the beautiful bridal shop to myself for a while, though every bride-to-be has their own room to enjoy for the duration of the appointment.
Walking into my private room and seeing *the* dress hanging there in its bag was such an overwhelming feeling. But, as my bridal shop consultant (Amy) unzipped the bag I felt a wave of nerves along with the excitement.
What if it didn’t fit? What if I suddenly hated it? What if it was the wrong dress? (They check it over on arrival so it couldn’t have been, but still…)
The good news was I still LOVED it and felt emotional slipping into it, knowing it was my actual dress and no longer just a sample that tons of brides have tried on before me.
But let me chat sizes real quick.
The sample I tried on back in October was a UK size 14 and they recommended purchasing a UK size 12, as I needed a few clips on the back of the sample dress.
Being overly optimistic I thought I’d be fine to order a UK size 10 as I was planning on losing my lockdown weight, but the bridal shop strongly recommended I stuck with a UK size 12.
All I can say is thank god I listened, because the UK size 12 was relatively snug.
I’ll need various parts of the dress taken in, but as I’m very curvy in the hip region I definitely couldn’t squeeze this backside into a UK size 10 right now. Or probably ever.
People weren’t kidding when they say bridal dresses come up small!
So when buying a dress, listen to the bridal shop’s advice on sizing. They really are the experts!
Between moments of obsessing over the dress and asking questions, I had my mum to take a ton of photos and videos. We did the same when I bought the dress and I must have looked at them 100+ times now. It never gets old, and I can’t wait to show them all to Darryl post-wedding!
Once the dress was safely back in the bag, we signed some paperwork, paid for the remainder of the dress and had a couple of photos by the flower wall before heading home.
Collecting and storing my dress
The bridal shop did offer to store my dress up until the wedding day, but as I’ve booked my dress alterations elsewhere (they don’t offer that service in-store but can provide recommendations) I decided to take it home.
As it comes in a zip-up bag, it can be stored safely wherever you choose. But be sure to keep reading for a very important tip on storing the dress appropriately!
Tips for my fellow brides-to-be
There’s nothing to worry about at all regarding this appointment, after all it’s one of the most exciting ones, but I have a few useful bits of info that you might like to take on board.
Book a morning appointment: If like me you fluctuate in weight throughout the day, you might prefer to book your appointment in the morning. I know I bloat massively post lunchtime and wanted to see myself in the dress as I would on the morning of the wedding. I know I’ll bloat on my wedding day, but by then I’ll be several champagnes down without a care in the world!
Style your hair and do your makeup: By doing your hair and makeup in a way that resembles what you think you might have on your big day, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of your bridal style. I decided to go with my hair in loose waves and a little more makeup than usual, though I was very careful not to get any on the dress!
Don’t fake tan too close to the day: If you like to be tanned then by all means fake tan, but do it several days before so there’s zero risk of you getting tan all over your brand-new dress! I fake tanned four days before my appointment so I had a lovely subtle golden glow by the time I went.
Take just one or two people with you: If you’re a pandemic bride-to-be you’ll have no choice in this, but too many opinions and voices might make you feel differently about the dress should you be allowed to have several guests with you. Especially if they’re different people from your dress shopping appointment. I just had my mum there with me and it was perfect.
Take your shoes and accessories: As I’ve already mentioned, take your wedding shoes, accessories and underwear to the appointment if you’d like to get a true feel for your whole wedding look on the day. It’s not essential, but useful.
Check how to do up your dress: It sounds simple, but having a friend or family member there to watch how the bridal shop consultant correctly does up your dress is crucial. On the day, the last thing you need is someone flapping about not knowing how to bustle you in or what buttons go where.
Keep your dress out of sunlight: When storing your dress at home, make sure it’s far from direct sunlight. A wardrobe is best, but behind a door in a dark room would also be ok. The bridal shop explained that you may experience discoloration if it’s exposed to sunlight. Be sure to keep it far out of reach from pets or kids, too!
Book in for dress alterations: Whether it’s at the bridal shop or elsewhere, book your dress fitting appointment for around 8-weeks before your big day. You may also need another one after that.
I can’t believe that we’re now well into the final months of wedding planning – I just hope and pray that this virus doesn’t cause us to go into lockdown 4.0 and postpone our date.
My heart really goes out to couples who’ve postponed, some several times.
If you’re a bride-to-be, give me a follow on Instagram for plenty of wedding content. You can catch up with everything on my wedding highlight!