8 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips You Need to Know

Finding your dream wedding dress does not have to be a dilemma. It should be fun and exciting and a memory you will cherish with your favourite people forever.

Below are my top tip wedding dress shopping tips to prepare you for your bridal appointment.

No. 1 Research, Research, Research!

It is very important that you do some form of research before you begin shopping for your dream dress. 

 In today’s world, brides-to-be have the advantage of bridal designer websites at their fingertips – our advice is to take full advantage of this! If you have your eye on a particular bridal store that you would like to visit, check out what designers they stock and their particular style of dresses. If you are feeling that it is not your vibe, that store may not be the best place for you to find your dress. A great place to start your research is the bridal store socials, such as their Facebook page, Instagram page or website.

No. 2 Budget

 This shouldn’t be a taboo subject.

Before you book your appointment at SJP Bridal, it’s worth having a vague idea of the amount you want to spend on your bridal style.

Some brides-to-be may find this topic uncomfortable, however, it is the all-important question that will perhaps bring focus to your wedding dress choices. This question will inevitably help you and also your bridal stylist find your dream dress within a budget that is suitable to you.

I would recommend having a chat about budget with anyone who may be contributing to your wedding dress before you arrive for your appointment. 

 Side tip - If you would like to keep your budget private from your bridal party, simply get in touch. I am more than happy to help with any questions or queries you have before your appointment. 

 Our dresses range in price from £1500 - £4200. The average gown is £2,000.

 No. 3 Ignore the sizing on the dress

 The size of the dress means nothing! It does not reflect who you are as a person or how amazing you look and feel in the dress.

 The sizing of your dress will assist your bridal stylist in communicating with the designer in respect of the pattern your dress will follow. Do not let the sizing of your dress cloud one of the most exciting days of your life – picking your dream dress!

Remember girls - 'Beauty isn't a size!'

No. 4 How many shops should I visit?

This is why doing your research is essential. Once you have done your research you have already laid the foundations in knowing what stores suit your style. We recommend vising approximately three stores. Of course, it is up to you how many stores you wish to visit but what we often find is that unnecessary stress is encountered once brides begin to visit an inventory of stores!

No. 5 When should I start shopping?

Ideally, you should start wedding dress shopping around 18 months prior to your wedding date. If you have not begun your wedding dress journey in and around the 18 month mark, we would recommend getting your skates on around the one year mark. This allows time for you and your amazing bridal party to shop your favourite stores and designers and allow sufficient time for your dress to come in and for any alterations required.

That being said, you should not be panicked if you are maybe a spontaneous bride or perhaps time is not on your side – there are always options available to you. Firstly, subject to the designer, you may be able to benefit from a “rush order” at an additional cost, for example - 10% off the total dress cost.

Second, you can purchase off the rail. Some of my most beautiful, amazing bides have bought directly from the rail and they looked incredible. This is the perfect option for you if the gown is right up your street, is in perfect condition and is in and around your size. The same goes for purchasing a sample gown off the rail and this usually includes some reduction in price – ladies, who doesn’t love a good bargain. 

No. 6 Trust your stylist

They are your cheerleader!

They are there to help you find that one dress that makes you look and feel amazing and incredible. A good stylist will know what silhouette and fabric is your thing!

If your stylist pulls out a wild card – try it on. It could end up being THE ONE! 


No. 7 Keep an Open Mind

This is where placing your complete trust in your bridal stylist is important! Attending your bridal appointment with a narrow mindset does tend to usually lead to disappointment. In our experience at SJP Bridal, we have had ball gown lovers leave with a mermaid dress and the simple and classic bride leaving with the most sparkling gown in the shop! Sometimes trying on the gown recommended by the bridal stylist but totally not your cup of tea ends up being your dream dress! As they say, don’t knock it to you try it!

No. 8 Have fun and enjoy it!

Overall, this is the most important tip.

A girl’s wedding dress is one of the most monumental purchases she will make in her lifetime and one you will remember forever. In our experience, the best part about my job is the heart melting moment when generations of fabulous ladies attend the shop with their daughter, grand daughter or niece to come together and talk about their wedding dress shopping experience.


Relax, chill, and enjoy the ride! Remember, the party don’t start until the bride walks in!

 Love, Shannán x