The first thing to do is have a plan. Once you have your plan, the rest should fit into place. Here are the top things to consider before you even look at a magazine or visit a shop.
The question “how much is a wedding dress?” is like asking “how long is a piece of string?”. It is is unquantifiable, ranging from free to hundreds of thousands of pounds. How much do you want to spend on your dress? This will determine the kind of shop to look at.
At the free end (£0 to £200) try recycling someone else’s dress. In my Mother’s day, it was common to alter a relative’s dress – my Mum wore her sister’s, which originally belonged to a cousin. You can also buy your dress from a charity shop or from a second hand website such as ebay or craigslist. Just remember, even if the dress does not cost you anything, you may still have to alter it – this can cost up to £200 depending on the amount of work required. You may also need to have it professionally laundered.
For low price new dresses (up to £500) you can now buy off the shelf from retailers such as BHS. Their prices start from as little as £30 and go up to about £600. The cheaper wedding dresses are really just normal dresses in white. If buying online, leave plenty of time in case the dress has to be returned.
Most brides go for a mid-range wedding dress (£500 – £2,000). They normally visit a shop, try on sample dresses and make a purchase. The dress is then ordered for you – some will allow an off the shelf purchase and many will have ex-shop stock for sale. There are large chains such as Berkertex and Debenhams but most are small, family run retailers able to provide a more personal service.
High end prices (£1,500 plus) mean more expensive materials, top designers and couture. This is Harrods or Harvey Nicks territory. There are also many small retailers often specialising in particular designs. If you are not content with just a diamond ring, maybe you can have a diamond wedding dress (yes, real ones, not sparkly beads!). It only costs $12million.
Style or Theme
Do you have a particular style or theme for your wedding? Not everyone will but some wedding themes require a particular style of dress. For example, you can get married in Linlithgow Palace which is a ruined “castle” claiming the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. That event took place in 1542 so it might be apt to have a a dress in that style (pointy hat, long sleeves). You will need to shop for a wedding dress that caters for your style.
Body Shape / size / special needs – there are now shops which cater for specific needs of brides. In particular, there are shops like Beau Belles helping Size 18+ ladies. More specialised shops will cater for other groups.
If you want a dress to be completely different, look for a shop which custom makes the
dress. This could be high end couture. But more shops are now offering a degree of customisation. For example, to use a different lace, to add some trim or to have it made in another colour. I regularly see brides who do not want a train – at Beau Belles this is easily removed. So look for shops which offer this service if you want a completely unique dress.
Once you have considered these points you will be able to find shops which fit your criteria and you can shop for a wedding dress with out wasting time! Now is the time to look at websites and magazines.
For more information, you can also check the 9 step “buy a wedding dress” guide to help you shop for a wedding dress.
Beau Belles, providing plus size wedding dresses in Scotland including Edinburgh, Glasgow, West Lothian, Falkirk, Stirling, Aberdeen, Inverness, Argyll, Paisley, Hamilton, Coatbridge, East Lothian, Borders, Linlithgow, Philipstoun, Whitburn, Livingston, Bathgate.