Wedding dress shopping can be stressful, emotional and, of course, expensive. Some brides-to-be love it, some do not - and many naturally feel quite daunted at the prospect of spending a lot of money on one dress.
There's that pressure of finding 'The One' and having that teary-eyed Say Yes To The Dress moment. And the reality can be quite different. Let's face it: it's just a dress - the poignant part is knowing you're about to commit to your best friend for life. So it's totally OK if you don't cry - it's, of course, special and exciting, but there's a lot of pressure to have that moment. The key is to find a dress that you feel amazing and comfortable in, with or without tears.
There are so many horror stories about bridal boutiques being rude to potential customers, with some even body shaming women who don't fit the very smallest sizes. Naturally, we want to make sure you never have to face such experiences, so we've discovered the very best wedding dress shops in London, should you want to look for your outfit in the UK's capital city.
BUT of course, wedding dress shopping can also be really fun, and the perfect way to kick off your wedding planning journey. If you're living in London or just simply want a bigger day of hunting for that perfect wedding dress, there are tonnes of bridal boutiques that suit the chicest brides. Not sure where to begin? We've got a hold of them all.
The Best Bridal Boutiques To Shop In London
The Wedding Club
When it comes to dressing brides-to-be for their big day, these guys certainly know a thing or two about picking that dream dress. Established in 2001 and now with three beautiful stores in Knightsbridge (The Luxury Edit), South Kensington (The Luxury Boho Edit) and Birmingham (The Original Edit), they really are the go-to destination for brides on the hunt for a jaw-dropping gown. Featuring world-renowned designer brands, such as Carolina Herrera and Zuhair Murad; modern and ethereal gowns from Costarellos and Rue De Seine; and elegant classics from Suzanne Neville and Jenny Packham. Each of the stores has a perfectly curated edit to suit all brides and budgets.
Knightbridge Store, 10 Yeomans Row, London, SW3 2AH. South Kensington Store, 37 Thurloe Street, London, SW7 2LQ
How To Find A Wedding Dress That's Perfect For You
When it comes to shopping for a wedding dress, it can be completely overwhelming to know which style, shop and even colour could be the one you say yes to. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, as every wife-to-be has to go through the process. Here are Grazia's favourite tips to make sure you're getting the most out of your bridal appointment.
Find Your Style FIRST
Do. Your. Research. Look at your wardrobe - if it's full of floaty silhouettes and whimsical dresses then look for something in this shape. If you're more into simple slip dresses with statement accessories - there you have it. You want to look and feel like yourself! That being said... trust your stylist. If they're suggesting an A-line and you were set on the mermaid, try it. More times than you would expect, brides end up falling in love with something they were never expecting. Don't forget, dresses look completely different on your body to the hanger (or compared to the models on Pinterest).
When you're looking at boutiques to visit you want to first find out what designers they carry, what their in-house sample sizes are, and what their price range is. The last thing you want is to show up and they have nothing you actually want or can try on.
Know Your Timeline
Since the pandemic AND Brexit, a lot of designers have extended their order time. The ideal time to order your dress is around 12-9 months! Which sounds insane, but you don't want to risk finding the perfect dress and there's no way to get it in time for your wedding date.
Set Out Your Budget
It goes without saying - you don't want to fall in love with a dress that's 3x your budget. Set this out before going shopping and make sure to communicate this to the bridal stylist.
Cut Down Your Entourage
The most important thing when going wedding dress shopping is that you're buying a dress for YOU, not for your mum/nan/mother-in-law/18 bridesmaids. Take 1 or 2 people you trust and know will boost you up and just make it a great experience for you.
Think about context…
Where and when are you getting married? What time of year is it? What are your bridesmaids wearing? What will your groom be wearing? How long are you wearing your dress for? All of these things will influence the dress you need.
& Lastly, Don't Forget These Essentials...
Nude underwear - a seamless brief or thong is a great idea, as is a strapless bra. If you're more comfortable in shapewear, bring your fave Spanx along.
Do your hair & make-up: you want to feel your best on the day so try and do something similar to how you envision your look on the day - so if for you that's a slick of mascara and good-to-go, perfect.
Bring your accessories: if you've always dreamed of getting married in electric blue Manolo's - get them first and bring these along to see how they work along with the dresses. Jewellery try-ons are also a great idea.
The rest is really down to the people looking after you. Do they make you feel comfortable? Are they friendly, approachable and accommodating? If the answer to any of those questions is no, don't feel bad about heading for the exit as soon as possible.
SHOP: Wedding Dress Shopping Essentials You'll Want To Remember
The best wedding dress shopping essentials 2022
Make sure you're not distracted by any vibrant underwear with a seamless nude option. The SKIMS Fits Everybody T String Thong is a perfect choice for no visible panty lines and comes in a variety of nudes to choose from.
If you'd rather wear shapewear to feel your best trying on your wedding dress, bring your favourite SPANX along.
Strapless bras make for good fitting in a wedding dress shop because they'll be out of the way of most wedding dress shapes.
If you haven't already got your hands on your wedding shoes, you'll want to make sure you have a pair for the wedding dress fitting so that you can really feel as close to the big day as possible. Make sure you've got a pair that are the same height you want to dance in at your wedding.
If you want a sweet moment on your big day, you can buy 'Yes to the Dress' keepsakes from independent stores that will help you remember the day forever.
If you want your bridesmaids to be fully involved with the decision making of the day, grab some 'Yes to the Dress' paddles which they can hold up to each wedding dress you try on.