This isn't topshop

Why shopping around could damage your bridal experience
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Why shopping around could damage your bridal experience – This isn’t Topshop!


“Let me think about it… I’ve still got another 5 shops to go to…”

The one sentence every bridal boutique owner winces at… “I’ve got other shops to go to”.

I’m not sure when this happened, but at some point it became commonplace to visit several, if not tens, of bridal boutiques before choosing a gown. We hear from ladies all the time who have tried on 20 or more dresses and are at their wits end.

It’s important to recognise that choosing your wedding dress is not like picking up a bodycon number for your next girl’s night out. There is so much pressure on women to choose the right dress, and with so many options out there now, the overwhelm gets the better of so many of them.
Shopping for your wedding dress should be a beautifully exciting, luxurious and much anticipated event. (Note: EVENT not events). By ‘shopping around’, we’ve watched bride after bride completely ruin her bridal experience. The words “I should have stuck with the one I loved first” are not exactly unusual to hear.

So, listen up ladies. We don’t want to see another forlorn face. We don’t want to mop up anymore tears of overwhelm or watch you walk away from perfect dress after perfect dress.

Trust us, we know what we’re talking about.

Watters Wtoo, Cabinet of Wonders wedding dress at Hannah Elizabeth Bridal
Watters Wtoo, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event

And this is how shopping around could actually ruin your bridal experience.

Dress fatigue

Now, we know about dress fatigue because we’ve seen it a hundred times. I’d compare it to walking into a perfume shop – once you’ve smelt 5… you can’t smell anything anymore. Not even your Chanel No.5 from your Impulse Hint Of Musk!

Dress fatigue starts hitting brides around dress 10.

By this point, they’ve seen so many options that they can’t even remember what they liked, or why they liked it. Perhaps they liked several, but now they can’t choose.

Cue the heart palpitations, the sibling squabbling, the sweats and the regular coffee and cake breaks. If your bridal shopping experience is starting to feel like a battle… you’ve gone too far.

You can’t reinvent finding ‘the one’

The other conundrum we see is brides chasing ‘the one’. That feeling you get you find ‘the one’ is not repeatable. Trying on more and more and more dresses will not allow you to feel that tummy-flipping excitement more times. In fact, the more you keep trying on after finding ‘the one’, the more diluted that experience becomes.

Our happiest brides? They’re the ones that walked in, knew our stock, shortlisted 3-5 dresses, tried them on and walked out with their favourite. Simples!

Watters Wtoo, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event
Blush wedding gown, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event

Missing the decision makers

Whilst we’re on the topic of ‘the one’, some brides start shopping for their dress without the key decision makers. Perhaps they can’t choose a dress without their mum there, or they’d like their sister to join in on the experience… whoever it is, shopping without your most special ladies is a definite no-no!
Imagine getting that feeling of ‘oh wow I’ve found the one’… but having to walk away because you needed to come back with your family or friends. It’s not a nice feeling – and like we said, you can’t recreate that moment.

Getting ‘an idea’ often leads to ‘no idea’

There is no merit to bridal shopping to ‘get an idea’ of what’s out there. For one, that can be done online (girls, we’ve all got Pinterest), and secondly, it’s really insulting to your chosen boutiques.
As bridal fashion experts, we’re not changing room attendants. We’re experienced professionals, seamstresses, buyers and so much more. Our boutique’s are our lives and we know when the right bride walks in. Please don’t hurt our feelings, especially as shopping without a purpose could end up hurting yours.

Which brings us to the good bit!

How to nail your bridal shopping experience…

Do your research

You don’t need to be designer savvy, but you do need to have a vague idea of what you like. No bridal shop will stock every style – most of us have niched down. For that reason, we’re not for everyone and that’s ok! Our style is whimsical, luxe, girly and ever so slightly couture.

Not your style? No problem. Just don’t waste our time and crucially, don’t waste yours!

Remember, you get what you pay for

Know your budget and please please please don’t try on a dress you can’t afford. This is one of the most painful things we see as boutique owners and it’s something we try very hard to advise against. We’ll always ask you what your budget is, but that’s only so we can make sure you’ve got exactly what you want, within a range that works for you.

Channel your inner Beyonce

On the morning of your bridal shopping experience, tell yourself… “I am getting my dress today!”
That mentality is what we love to see and it serves our brides best. You deserve to get your dream dress – so don’t go out thinking you’re doing anything else.

Blush wedding gown, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event
Watters Wtoo, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event


Want to do your research before heading in to see us (wow, we love you!), then check out Hannah’s Lookbook. You can browse our designers and get a feel for the kind of vibe our Parisienne style boutique covets, all behind our little blue door.

We also share hand-picked, behind-the-rails photos on our Instagram, so you can see our dresses up close and personal before booking an appointment.

Of course, if there’s anything you’d like to ask us – we’d love for you to give us a call! You don’t need to book an appointment to ask a question. Just slip a message into the Hannah Elizabeth mailbox.

High leg split wedding gown, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event
Watters Wtoo, Cabinet of Wonders, an exclusive Watters WTOO event



Hannah Elizabeth Bridal is an award-winning luxury bridal boutique with a reputation for carefully curating a collection of beautiful, elegant gowns. It celebrates a journey, empowering your individuality and aims to give modern, bold and fashion-forward women the chance to let their personality and style shine through on their wedding day. Other designers stocked include, Nostalgia by Amber HeRosa Clara, Rosa Clara Boheme, Hayley Paige and Tara Keely.

For more information, or to simply find out more about our gorgeous boutique contact Hannah or Kelly on or 0238 1781911.



Your bridal appointment

If you need any advice on styling or how we can help transform your wedding day look then please do get in touch, we’d absolutely love to help!

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