Choosing a Wedding Dress

Image: © Yang Yu -

So you've found the right man and your getting married, now all you need to do is find the perfect wedding dress. If you've always known what kind of wedding dress you want then your task will be much easier than if you have no idea what to get!

You should start looking for your wedding dress as soon as possible as many have to be ordered in from overseas and you may need to have a few fittings.

Think about your wedding location whether it is in the city or countryside, indoor or outdoor, in a warm or cold climate when choosing your dress design. You may want to go for a traditional look wedding dress or choose one of the latest fashions such as mermaid shaped skirts, ruffles, black and lace detail, boleros and one-shouldered necklines (see our article on wedding trends 2011). You may want something in the style of a particular era or genre. 

Another important factor is your budget as this will greatly influence the places you can shop. Wedding dresses can cost anything from £50 to tens of thousands depending on what you are prepared to spend.

Here are the top places to find wedding dresses:

Bridal Boutiques

Buying from a boutique bridal shop is very popular. They can be found in most large towns and cities where dresses are designer label but range in style and price. Both traditional and trendy dresses can be found at bridal boutiques. At a boutique bridal shop you can try on as many dresses as you like with the advice of professional staff. Bridal boutiques offer alterations as well. 

High Street Bridal Wear

Hight street shops such as Monsoon, BHS, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer have wedding ranges at affordable prices.  Some of the high street dresses are gorgeous with many being quite simple which is ideal for a casual wedding. Although some of the stock is online only, much of it can be tried on in store before you buy. If buying online from high street stores you can usually return unsuitable items very easily. 

Online Wedding Dresses

Online shops or marketplaces such as Ebay sell second-hand and new wedding dresses including designer dresses. It can be a great place to pick up a bargain. The risk is that you can't try before you buy and you can't always trust that you'll get what you pay for. You may also not be able to return the dress if it is unsuitable and instead will have to re-sell it. is also a good online place to pick up a wedding gown where designer dresses come in a range of prices. If you plan to buy online it is advised to still head to some high street or boutique bridal shops to try some different dresses on and see which style suits you best; you can then try and find something similar online.

Vintage Wedding Dress

If you fancy something a little different why not go for a vintage style or original vintage dress? Whether 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s or 1970s is your favourite fashion era, shops like The Vintage Wedding Dress Company are the perfect place. Alternatively you may want to go for a theme such as a medieval or celtic inspired wedding dress, particularly if you are getting married in a historic place such as a castle.

Tailor-made Wedding Dress

If you have the time and money you could work with a wedding dress designer and come up with your own bespoke creation. Once you've found a designer together you will pick out a design and material which complements your taste and figure. You will then need to go for regular fittings as the dress is made and a final appointment being as close to your wedding as possible. 

Designer Wedding Dress Sale

Designer or Sample Sales such as The London Designer Bridal Sale ( are a fun way to shop for your dress. If you know roughly what type of dress you are after and have time to wait for a bridal sale to come up then you could be very lucky and find the perfect designer dress for up to 70% off the sale price.    

Once you've found somewhere to shop, with so many beautiful bridal gowns about it may be hard picking just one. Take your mum or bridesmaids with you for a second opinion and some happy tears and fuss when they see how beautiful you look! Wear a strapless bra and clothes which are easy to change from to give you as much time as possible to try different dresses on. Take a pair of shoes with the heel height you plan to wear on the day to get a good idea about its shape. But most of all, enjoy trying on lots of beautiful dresses until you find the one!