What to ask when you’re wedding dress shopping

The future Mr (or Mrs) You has asked the biggie. You said Yes. Now you’re loose in Wedding Dress Shopping Wonderland, and you’ll have plenty more questions of your own to ask in the quest for your dream bridal gown.

To help you on your way, we’ve come up with a list of the best questions to ask in a bridal appointment.

You’ll also find some answers from us, so you know exactly what to expect from a visit to Alexandra Anne. Go on, you know you want to.

Happy questing!

Jess x


Questions to ask before your bridal appointment

Not all bridal boutiques are the same, so you can save yourself a lot of dress shopping time by making sure the wedding dress shops on your hit-list are right for you.

Do some research online, have a browse of each boutique’s website and social to get a sense of how their style matches up with yours. Then get in touch to find out more specific answers to these burning questions for brides-to-be.

Which bridal designers do you stock, and how do their wedding dress styles differ from one another?

Why it’s important:

Essentially this is always a good idea so you don’t end up making a wasted journey.

Bridal shops all have their own different style, feel and level of service, so make sure the wedding dress designers and styles available really do float your bridal boat before booking. Better to set your sights on 2-3 boutiques that do this right from the get-go than 10 random ones that don’t.

Equally, if you don’t have anything specific in mind for your bridal gown, it’s best to keep an open mind and try to book in somewhere with a varied range of different wedding dress styles. You just might surprise yourself with what you fall in love with!

Our answer:

We have four distinctive ranges of designer wedding dresses at Alexandra Anne.

There’s the exquisite beading of Eliza Jane Howell, equally stunning whether it’s styled up for 1920s Gatsby glam or pared back for relaxed simplicity that still catches the light.

Or try out the clean lines and beautiful structure of Barcelona design house Jesus Peiro, who combine high-quality fabrics and perfect fit to produce elegant bridal ball-gowns or sculpted dresses in crepe or lace.

For effortless cool, Charlie Brear bridal dresses are designed and made in London, and offer a mix-and-match style using audacious additions – sleeves, tops, overskirts, jackets – allowing you to create and customise your very own unique wedding dress look.

Boho bride? Belgian designer Rembo Styling has the boho wedding dress all sewn up, thanks to their flowing skirts, unusual lace detailing, and low backs that are second to none.

You can see all our designer wedding dresses all in one place right here.

What kind of price range would I be looking at for a wedding dress?

Why it’s important:

At the end of the day, you don’t want to fall in love with a wedding dress that you can’t feasibly get within your budget.

If you have a max budget in mind, get in touch with the boutique and see what options they have. That way you’ll know for sure if booking an appointment is worth your while.

It’s also worth bearing in mind the additional costs of any alterations to the dress, as well as your underwear, shoes and those all-important finishing touches like your bridal veil and jewellery.

Our answer:

For a wedding dress from one of our bridal designers, you’re looking at paying between £1,200 and £3,000. That’s for a made-to-order gown. Made-to-measure will be slightly more. (Unsure of the difference? Here’s our guide to wedding dress ordering options.)

Or you can try your luck with one of our outlet wedding dresses, or see if you can buy our sample. Both of these are fantastic ways to walk away with a designer wedding dress at a budget-friendly price.

For your bridal accessories, our veils range from £75 to £400, and we have a selection of jewellery, headpieces and clutch bags to complete your down-the-aisle look.

My wedding is coming up super fast. Can I get a dress in time?

Why it’s important:

If time is running out in the run-up to the big day, you’ll already have a ton of other tasks on your to-do list, so you won’t want to lose any precious evenings or Saturdays on a wedding dress wild goose chase.

Some bridal boutiques/designers do require a minimum of 6 months to get a wedding dress made. However, this isn’t always the case, and there may be ways to order your gown in a much quicker time period. But do check in advance to avoid any dress-based heartbreak.

Our answer:

Yes, yes you can. We’re lucky enough to work with amazing bridal designers who can often turn around a wedding dress order in as little as 6-8 weeks.

There’s also always the option of going off-the-peg or buying one of our outlet wedding dresses. This can, of course, be limited by the size of sample wedding dress we have in store (usually in size 10, 12 or 14), but you can always have a gown altered to fit.

Do you have any trunk shows or sample sales coming up?

Why it’s important:

If you’ve got your heart set on a particular wedding dress designer, a trunk show is your chance to try on gowns that aren’t usually available in store.

Or if you’re on the hunt for a bargain, a sample sale is a great way to get a designer wedding dress at a significant discount.

Our answer:

We regularly run in-store events like this throughout the year, including trunk shows with new and exciting bridal designers.

For more info on our upcoming sample sales and trunk shows, check out our Style Guides blog or give us a follow on Instagram.

 

What kind of bridal accessories do you have in store?

Why it’s important:

Veils, belts, capes, headpieces, the list goes on… It makes sense to get an idea of what bridal accessories work with your favourite dress while you have it on in the fitting room mirror. So get a heads-up from the boutique before you go so you can make the most of what’s on offer come appointment time.

Our answer:

We have a wide range of bridal veils by Rainbow Club and Joyce Jackson for you to try with your dress. Our headpieces and jewellery feature designs by Victoria Fergusson as well as a handful of other bespoke designers.

Plus the diversity of our wedding dress designers means we have a huge selection of belts, capes, overskirts, tops and jackets for you to play around with. It’s the perfect way to make the dress your own. Because who doesn’t want a wedding-day cardigan, right?

What should I bring with me to my bridal appointment?

Why it’s important:

Wedding dress shopping isn’t your everyday high-street experience. Feeling comfortable and prepared will help make you feel way more relaxed, so you can concentrate on the joyous task at hand.

Our answer:

Check out our ultimate guide to getting ready for your bridal appointment, with top tips on wearing the right underwear, shoes and makeup.

Do you charge for bridal appointments?

Why it’s important:

Bridal boutiques do sometimes charge a fee for appointments. Why? This is mainly to ensure appointment times aren’t blocked out unnecessarily, as this is usually a very personalised, one-to-one service we’re talking about.

Our answer:

Nope. We never charge for appointments. (Not that we’re not totally worth it!) But please do let us know if you can’t make your appointment. It’s easy to amend or cancel your appointment with our online booking system and email reminders. Or just give us a call.

Can I bring people with me to my bridal appointment?

Why it’s important:

Depending on the size of the bridal boutique you’re visiting and how busy it gets (especially at weekends), you might not be able to bring your whole entourage along to your appointment. Worth checking in advance, at least.

Our answer:

Yes, bring your #BrideSquad along and they’ll be more than welcome. We’ve even done our very own guide to getting the most out of your appointment entourage on the day.

We have plenty of room, with a showroom, fitting room and mezzanine. Plus there’s a glorious pub right on our doorstep for dads, grooms or anyone else who prefers a beer garden and a wood-fire to a wedding dress shop!


Got another question for us? Give us a shout.


Questions to ask during your bridal appointment

Once you’re in the door, it can be easy to get distracted by all the beautiful bridal gowns right there in front of you. That’s all part of the bridal boutique experience, after all!

But (sadly) there are some practical things to keep in mind, so here are some questions to keep you on track amid all the excitement.

You’ve got this, bride-to-be, you’ve got this!

 

What wedding dress styles would you recommend for my body type?

Why it’s important:

In general, the people that work in bridal boutiques will have a background in bridal wear and/or fashion, so they’re best placed to talk you through dress style ideas to suit you.

The boutique’s team will also know their specific collection back-to-front, and might surprise you with recommendations of gowns you never would have thought of trying on.

Our answer:

Usually we’d start by getting you to pull out some wedding dresses that instantly catch your eye in our showroom. Once we’ve given them a try, we’ll then be able to recommend dresses that combine your own personal taste with your body shape.

Our team has over 10 years’ experience of working in high-end bridal wear, so you can rest assured we know what we’re talking about!

Can I add to or customise this dress in any way?

Why it’s important:

Some bridal designers are limited in the amount of customisation they can achieve. So if you have a really specific idea for how you want to customise a dress you’ve picked out, it’s definitely worth checking if it’s doable before placing an order.

Our answer:

All our wedding dress designers offer customisations as part of their dress-making service. This can mean making changes to the dress itself – lowering the back, raising the neckline, or adding buttons or sleeves – or using separates and layering to create your own personalised look.

We love a bit of layering as it’s the perfect way to achieve two looks without the price tag of two gowns. Wear an overskirt for the wedding ceremony, then whip it off to reveal your bridal jumpsuit or bias-cut dress ready for the evening dance-offs!

My wedding is in X months. What are my options?

Why it’s important:

How long you have left before your big day will affect which wedding dresses will be available to you.

In most cases, if you have 6+ months to spare, the majority of dresses should be possible. If you have less time, you may have to pay express order fees to ensure your dress arrives in plenty of time for alterations.

Off-the-peg and sample wedding dresses are another good option if you’re up against a tight timeline.

Our answer:

6+ months to wedding date – No problemo. Take your pick of the store, including bespoke options.

4-6 months to wedding date – Most of our designers take 12 weeks to produce your wedding dress. With an extra month for alterations, you should be fine for time. (Eliza Jane Howell’s beaded wedding dresses may incur rush fees on this timeline, as they are hand-beaded in India.)

2-4 months to wedding date – Again, most of our designers should be able to work to this deadline. This may mean paying a small fee to push your wedding dress to the front of their production queue!

Less than 2 months to wedding date – Some of our designers have a small stock of dresses, so you might just get lucky! Or we offer all our sample wedding dresses to buy off-the-peg, and we have our very own wedding dress outlet if you fancy a last-minute bargain.

Can I buy the sample dress?

Why it’s important:

If the wedding dress you’ve tried on in a boutique fits you perfectly, it’s worth asking if they’d be willing to sell you the sample at a discounted price. We know every little helps when you’re planning a wedding!

Just remember that you’d be buying the dress in ‘as-seen’ condition, and would likely have to pay the full balance right there and then and take the dress away with you.

Our answer:

Yes, you absolutely can. All our sample wedding dresses have an off-the-peg price based on their condition. So even if you’re fast running out of time before the big day, you can still get your ideal dress at a great price.

 

What underwear should I wear with this wedding dress?

Why it’s important:

Having an idea of what you’d feel comfortable with support-wise on the day will help the boutique’s consultants pick out your best options to go with a particular wedding dress.

Bridal undergarments aren’t exactly the sexy lingerie you might have had in mind, so also be aware you might have to ‘slip into something more comfortable’ (so the opposite) later on in the evening!  

Our answer:

We have lots of options for building bras or bust support into your chosen wedding dress. We also work with (or can recommend) ingenious underwear companies that cater specifically for designer wedding dresses.

Everything from stick-on bras to corset-style bodies, from plunge fronts to low backs, we’ve got you covered (up)!

What bridal accessories should I think about for this dress?

Why it’s important:

You might not even have considered bridal accessories before buying your wedding dress. Or you might ONLY want a dress that goes with your floral headdress or your Louboutin shoes. Either way, it’s worth building any ideas into your budget, and giving your consultant an inkling when you arrive.

The boutique may even be able to offer some examples for you to try on (well, maybe not the Louboutins!).

Our answer:

The sky’s the limit! We want to see your personal take on bridal design and what it means to you.

We have a wide range of bridal accessories – including veils, headpieces and jewellery – to try out with your dress choices.

Yes, we’re a sucker for a big veil (who isn’t?) but we’re no sticklers for tradition either. Try pairing your dress with a lace bomber jacket or a rose-gold leather belt – and get plenty of stylish use out of them after your wedding day.

Now I’ve decided on my wedding dress, what happens next?

Why it’s important:

You definitely don’t want any more stress in the lead-up to your wedding day. Especially if it means chasing up the bridal boutique with only a couple of weeks to go.

Make sure that you know what the plan is after you’ve ordered your dress, and when you can expect to hear back again from the boutique.

And if you need alterations, it’s not a bad idea to get this sorted straight away, as good alterationists tend to get booked up months in advance.

Our answer:

When you first place your order, we’ll give you an idea of when we expect your wedding dress to arrive at the boutique. We can also discuss with you when you’d prefer your dress to arrive, if need be.

We’ll confirm this with the designer, and send you a confirmation email as soon as we hear back from them.

If you haven’t already booked to come in again, we’ll then get in touch once the new dress is in.

 

What payment options do you offer?

Why it’s important:

If you’re ordering a wedding dress, it’s pretty standard for a bridal boutique to expect a 50% deposit, with the 50% balance payable on pick-up. But it’s a good idea to check first so there are no surprises.

If we’re talking about an off-the-peg wedding dress, since you’re taking the dress away with you, you’ll be expected to pay the full amount on the day.

And do check if you (or your very kind family member – you know, the one with the credit card) need to split or spread the cost in any way.

Our answer:

No surprises here: it’s a 50% deposit for all wedding dress orders, or 100% payment for our sample or off-the-peg gowns.

If you do need to spread the cost, we’re happy to discuss a payment plan. Just bear in mind that everything would have to be paid in full before starting any alterations.

How long will it take for my wedding dress to arrive once it’s been ordered?

Why it’s important:

Wedding dress ordering times – often known as lead-times – will depend on the boutique and the designers they stock.

Where the dresses are made will also be important. If production happens on the other side of the world, you’ll have to factor your dress’s globe-trotting adventures into your plans.

Our answer:

For a made-to-order dress from one of our designers, you’re usually looking at a 12-week turnaround.

We’ve done it in less (6-8 weeks), but this does come with a small extra charge for the rush order so that your dress can jump the queue to the designer’s production line.

We’ll always give you a clearer indication of time schedules when you first order your dress, and keep you updated on its journey from order confirmation to arrival here at the boutique.

What’s the best way to store and transport my new wedding dress?

Why it’s important:

In all the excitement of finding your wedding dress, it’s easy to forget you actually have to look after this thing of beauty between pick-up and your big day.

You should expect your dress to come in a plastic cover and a dress bag for safe keeping.

Then be sure to check if there are any particular care instructions for your wedding dress, as these may vary depending on the style or materials you’ve gone for.

Our answer:

We always provide a plastic cover and a white breathable dress bag with our wedding dresses for your peace of mind.

For storing your wedding dress, you should be totally fine as long as the dress is kept somewhere away from direct sunlight, dampness and any strong food smells. That’s most places, then!

We’d also advise you to open up the bottom of the plastic cover to allow your wedding dress to breathe. This will stop any condensation building up inside the cover, which can leave wet spots on your dress if it’s left for long enough. And nobody wants that – tears of wedding-day joy are the only wet spots we want to see on that gown of yours!


And that’s that. If you found this list of bridal appointment questions helpful, check out our other Style Guides blog articles for more wedding dress shopping tips!


Ready for the full Alexandra Anne experience?