7 Things Brides Wish They Knew Before Bridal Shopping



7 Things Brides Wish They Knew Before Bridal Shopping

Buying your wedding dress is one of the most exciting experiences during your wedding planning, but with so much choice and anticipation it can also be a little overwhelming. At our bridal boutique in Botley, we’ve spent nearly 10 years seeing bride-to-be’s starting wedding dress shopping and they enter the boutique with a mixture of anticipation and nerves.


So lovelies, to make your life that little bit easier, we’ve compiled our list of 7 things brides wish they knew before bridal shopping, to provide you with all the useful tips for making this important decision. Take a read and we look forward to hopefully seeing you in the boutique soon!


You won’t always stick to the idea you had in mind

This is a biggie and something you’ll often be told before your bridal shopping appointment! When you go bridal shopping, ensure you go with an open mind, as you never know what might suit you until trying dress on. Often, brides will quickly dismiss a style they think might not suit them before even giving the dress a chance. This could ultimately mean you miss truly finding ‘The One!’


You might also find yourself pigeon-holing yourself into ‘your style’ and what you usually wear, which is absolutely okay if that is what you want and makes you feel comfortable, but it doesn’t mean that is your only choice. If you have always dreamed of wearing a princess ballgown, but have tried to talk yourself out of it then reserve judgement until you have tried a few on!


In our experience, it goes one way or the other – either your gut instinct was correct, or you will completely surprise yourself!


You might find bringing friends/family more difficult than you had expected 

Buying your wedding dress is potentially an experience you have dreamed about for years, and for most of us that includes bringing our closes friends and family. However, bringing your loved ones might not be as idillic as you imagined. Unfortunately we have seen a few occasions where loved ones challenge the brides gut instinct, pushing them into different dresses they prefer themselves, or even pressure on expanding (or reducing) the budget.


Of course this is all dependent on your friends and family and your relationship with them, you might find the notion of your loved ones doing this completely inconceivable and if that is the case then that is amazing and you will have the best time! However, we like to remind brides to be conscious of who they invite with them to try on wedding dresses. Remember, this is a highly personal experience where you are in charge, there are no set rules on who you should invite.

Love Story Bride | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal
Catherine Deane | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal

You might not cry when you find ‘The One’

We see it all the time in the movies and TV shows, the bride always cries when she finds her dream wedding dress! But bride-to-be, this can be a lot of pressure. Many brides just aren’t criers, some are too busy thinking 10 steps ahead and already planning their shoes. Others will cry and that’s okay too, it’s a really emotional and overwhelming experience! Whichever category you fall into, try not to put the pressure on yourself.


Just because you don’t cry doesn’t mean it isn’t the one, there are many ways to know you have found the one. For some of our lovely brides they just ‘have a feeling’ and do not want to take the dress off, and for others they simply feel fantastic regardless of the other opinions in the room.

You can’t wear fake tan or lots of makeup to your appointment

For the majority of bridal shops, including Hannah Elizabeth Bridal in Botley, you are unable to wear fake tan or significant make-up to your appointment. The reason for this is to protect the sample dresses for damage and stains. While this is a understandable request, it can make wedding dress shopping a little more difficult for some brides.


You may use fake tan as a security blanket, or might struggle to picture yourself on your wedding day without your full glam, but fear not! When you find the dress of your dreams, you won’t even notice your skin or lack of eyelash, you will fall in love with it regardless. Plus, if you adore the dress when you’re not tanned or glammed up, then just imagine how much you will love it when you are!

The sample dresses at your appointment might not be the perfect fit

Unfortunately, bridal shops are unable to stock a sample of every dress in every size and therefore will only stock common sizes. If the bridal shop does not have your size, they will ask you to try on a dress that is too big for you and will use clips to tighten the dress. This offers a really good opportunity to see what the dress will look like on you, but it’s worth noting it won’t be an exact perfect fit.


That said, at Hannah Elizabeth Bridal we’ve been doing this a long time and you would be amazed at our ability to fold and clip the dress in the places where it matters most. Once you find your perfect wedding dress, we will then take your measurements and order the size most suitable for you. While this might be disheartening for some brides, trust us that this only makes the experience more magical when your very own bespoke gown arrives with a better fit.


Do keep in mind that even your ordered wedding dress may need alterations to ensure a snug and flattering fit.

Rosa Clara | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal
Jane Hill | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal

Your budget needs to cover your dress, alterations and accessories 

It makes us so upset when we see brides leave behind their dream bridal gown. They’ve arrived at the boutique without a budget and tried on dresses across a range and sadly fallen in love with a dress that is not affordable for their wedding budget. This can be really upsetting for the bride and any guests, so we highly advise knowing your budget and sticking to it as to not leave disappointed or feeling like you have missed out.


At Hannah Elizabeth Bridal, we have designer bridal gowns across for a wide range of budgets.


When setting your budget, make sure you consider your alterations, shoes, veil and other accessories as well as the dress itself. This will give you a realistic budget to aim towards and will help the bridal shop select dresses suitable for you.


If you can be flexible on budget then fantastic news! But, we know this isn’t an option for many brides, so make sure to do some research beforehand. If you are unsure, you can always let us know your overall budget and we can try our best to help you work out how much to set as a realistic goal for each element.

Dresses might look different on you compared to the model

We ask all our brides to explore our website ahead of their appointment as this allows us to get a feel of your style and make your appointment even more bespoke.


However, every body is different, and this can mean that dresses fit or hang differently on you than they do in the marketing material. You may find yourself scrolling past a dress on our website uninterested, only to love it on the hanger and on yourself. Or it could work the other way around, and the dress you loved online might not quite be what you expected.


It could be your height, bust size, body shape, body language or personal preference that makes the dress appear different than you were expecting. While marketing pictures of dresses are a fantastic way to give you a general idea of the dress, it is best to go bridal shopping with an open mind, trying on dresses that speak to you on the day.

Wedding dress shopping at Hannah Elizabeth Bridal

You’ll be spoilt for choice when wedding dress shopping at Hannah Elizabeth Bridal, we have a beautiful selection of wedding dresses for the modern bride looking for an on-trend contemporary gown. From the viral Jane Hill to the globally renowned Vera Wang, or the British-designed Love Story Bride – we pride ourselves in stocking luxury bridal designers for our bride-to-be’s. Book a bridal appointment to begin your journey to finding your dream bridal gown!


Your bridal appointment

Our award winning bridal boutique is located in the Hampshire village of Botley, home to our carefully curated collection of modern luxe wedding gowns. From the streets of Paris, to the beaches of Australia, and the hustle and bustle of NYC – we’ve selected the finest bridal designers from across the globe, all specialising in exquisite designs, classic couture and exclusive styles. Your bespoke experience starts the moment you make contact with us. From our first phone consultation to your exciting and luxurious bridal boutique appointment. We lead you with our expertise and guide you through our extraordinary array of designers, their exquisite fabrics and mesmerising designs. We passionately provide an unparalleled, inspirational and high-end bridal shopping experience.


find inspiration

5 High Street, Botley,
Southampton, Hampshire,
SO30 2EA