Tips on how to start shopping for your wedding dress

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You've got the ring, now you need to start thinking about the dress. Where to begin?

Wedding dress shopping

© Getty - Handbag

When it's time to start getting down to the practicalities of wedding planning - the dress has to be at the top of the list. But it's so daunting - where do you start?

Follow our top tips and take the stress out of hunting for the perfect frock...

1. You probably won't end up buying what you think
Wedding dresses are a funny old thing. You have never worn anything like it before and most brides are surprised by what they end up buying. Make sure you don't limit your search in the first instance. Try on lots of different styles and then you will start to get a better idea of what suits you.

2. Go to a variety of shops
The first time you go dress shopping, book in a variety of different shops - from high end boutiques, sale shops, vintage, and even a tailor. Explore your options.

3. Don't invite too many people along
It's touching that everyone wants to be involved in your big day, but don't feel pressured to invite everyone dress shopping. Too many people will be overwhelming and confusing.

Also - note that most shops only allow a maximum of two people to accompany brides. Take your mum and a bridesmaid who's opinion you value, and don't worry about fobbing everyone else off.

4. Get straight on it
Most wedding dress shops expect 5-6 months to order your dress. If you are getting married under that time frame, be aware that some shops will not want to book you in for appointments. Don't panic! Just don't leave it too late.

5. Pack a snack
You will be amazed how tiring dress shopping can be (emotionally and physically). Pack a bottle of water, snack and wear comfy shoes. Also - don't expect champagne in shops. Very few places actually do this.

6. Think about the budget in advance
Unless you didn't already know - wedding dresses ain't cheap. Do some research before you go about how much different designers cost and have a long hard think about how much you are willing to spend on your dress.

For some people, the dress is everything. For others, they would rather spend the money on the honeymoon. You will get caught up on the day, so make a plan with a clear head about how much you can afford.

7. Wear good underwear
Wear nude underwear and a strapless bra for trying on dresses - and make sure they're nice ones as shop assistants will be seeing you in them all day!

8. Think about the type of event you are having
If you are getting married in a huge church, a small dress may get lost in the surroundings. If you are having a quaint garden party, a giant princess dress may seem a bit out of place. Remember to think about the overall look of your wedding and how your dress will fit into that.

9. Don't feel pressured into a choice
It is a big decision, and whilst taking too much time will drive you crazy, don't feel rushed to make a snap call on the day. Go away and think about it on your own. And don't be afraid to go back for a second try on.

10. Forget finding 'the one'
The truth of dress shopping is that you will probably find several dresses that suit you. Don't wait to be struck by the lightening bolt. As long as you find a dress you love, that is comfortable and you can see yourself getting married in - then that's all you need. Don't torture yourself going to 50 shops to find a mythical better dress.

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