Wedding dress shopping : What I learned.

I can't contain my excitement! As some of you will know from my Instagram posts, in February I tried on and bought my dream dress.. and yesterday, I only went and picked the beauty up! I'm sure you'll know but if you don't, the way it works is you try on loads of dresses, and when you find the perfect one for you, they measure you and pick a size to order in store for you. It takes at least 4-6 months to arrive, then you'll go and get alterations afterwards to make sure it fits in every place like a glove.

I bought my dress from a beautiful store called Pronuptia in the centre of Belfast. They have tons of choice and an array of designers such as Justin Alexander and Maggie Sottero to try on. Mine is a Maggi Sottero, but that's all your getting on the matter, for now!

I was way too excited to try it on again, I had bubbles in my stomach! It felt so amazing to slide it on and for it to fit so well (compared to it being clamped in on me the first time). I'm looking into alterations for the next month or so, there's just a few tweeks I'll need but it felt so great to have it on for real. I almost cried I'm so happy with it! I can't wait to put it on on our day and wear it with pride.

Also, massive congrats if you have just begun you're journey as a bride-to-be, finding your dress will be a memory that will last with you forever - I only went a few months ago and I'm dying to do it all over again!

There were lots of things I learnt when shopping for my dress, things I learned myself, some funny stories of my experience and some great advice I was given which I'd love to share with you, since they are still so fresh in my mind. So here are a few pointers for you to keep in mind as you go on this wonderful journey, searching for your dress :

1) Don't get too caught up in a dress you've seen online -
You might love it, but don't be fooled by the image you see on the site! (and vice versa - don't knock it until you've tried it!). When I tried on my dress I just knew it was the one, and after making the decision I asked the girl helping me to show me a picture of it online. She got it up on my phone and I'll be honest, I hated it! It looked awful on the model and seeing it in that way I knew I would have never chosen it, but looking at it on myself, it was simply perfect!

2) Be careful with online ordering -
In relation to the last pointer, you'll have no idea what the dress will look like on you before you buy it! A close friend of mine ordered a beautiful handmade dress that looked absolutely stunning on Etsy (by the way I adore Etsy so not slating it at all here), but when it came it was definitely not what she was expecting! It was ill-fitting, and the ruffles were much larger than they seemed online. In the end, she had to fork out for another dress in a local shop instead. She looked absolutely stunning on the big day and in the end found the perfect dress, but I wouldnt have wished her oline experience on anyone.
Then again, I have heard of people buying stunning handmade dresses online, so it can work in your favour. If you are seriously considering buying online I suggest you definitely make an appointment at a local wedding dress shop, and try on dresses as close as possible to the one you want, to make sure it suits you and you're happy with it. If you feel comfortable it might be a good idea to show the women in the shop the image of the dress and they might be able to find one really similar for you to try!

3) Try on all styles -
I know it sounds silly because you'll of course have a style and shape of dress you'd love and have probably been dreaming about since you were teeny, but make sure to try on other styles you might not have thought of before you went into the shop. A friend told me that her sister went in for a tight fitting mermaid style dress, but after trying it on left with a stunning oversized ball gown shape. Such a contrast! Plus, even if you don't like the shapes its so fun to try them on! My mum really enjoyed that bit.. I mean you'll never get this opportity again so make the most of it!

4) Wear good underwear -
It sounds mad, maybe even obvious but make sure you wear a strapless white/nude bra, and knickers/thong you're comfortable in. Remember you're going to need help into the dresses, so its likely someone will see your underwear. Its also helpful to wear something that will work with lots of styles of dresses - strapless, sweetheart, spagetti straps etc so thats why I'd reccomend white/nude and strapless. I'm almost too embarased to mention this, but when I went to the first shop with my mum, I wore a tatty old grey (supposed to be white) bra and bright red christmasy knickers - no joke. I don't know why I didnt think! I was so embarrased when the lady helped me into the dresses. I definiety learned a lesson for the second around.

5) Don't be down - 
If you don't find "the one" right away, don't worry. It took me two runs to find the right dress, the first time I went with just mum, we ended up going to 5 different shops and I just couldn't find the right dress, I ended up going home feeling really bummed. The second time around, I took my mum and my sister with me. I knew what I liked and didn't and surprisingly I found my dress in a shop I had already been to the first time.

For more advice and tips there are a few sites I would definitely reccomend to you. There are so many sites out there that claim to give great tips but only a few I have really been able to make the most of - filled with tons of inspiration to get your ideas flowing!

Enjoy this amazing journey if you are also on it, and if you have any tips or stories you've learned along the way, either shopping for your own dress or through a friend or family member, please share it with me below, I'd love to hear them!

p.s. I know its a little unnecessary but you only do it once, right?! I'm on the hunt for a beautifully cool/personalised hanger for my dress, so I've put some pretty options below.. My fav is this gold one!

Ems xo

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