How to decide on the dress

FishtailOwning a new bridal boutique in Newbury, I often get asked ‘how will I know which dress is THE ONE, so I thought I would share some of my advice:

Many brides will try on some fabulous dresses but agonise over which one to choose. The one person you probably want advice from is your other half and of course it’s the one decision you have to make without him! However, if you adopt the stereotypical male attitude to shopping, you’ll probably work out what he would say by asking yourself some very rational questions that never usually pop into the female mindset when shopping!

Being quite an impulsive and emotional person who has recently married an incredibly logical and rational man, I can talk from personal experience and I can only align the decision to that of buying our house – although far less complicated and considerably cheaper!

Wedding dress collection

Location, location location!
First of all, think about your venue. Is it a large wedding in a big church or a more intimate hotel ceremony or registry office? This can determine the size of your dress and style ie a fuller skirted tulle dress may look fabulous at a grand church wedding but how will it work in a smaller ceremony room or registry office?

If you are getting married aboard, think about the weather and transportation – you’ll soon regret that beautiful silk dress if it’s 35 degrees in the shade and full of creases!

Think about where you are buying the dress. Does that shop make your feel special and will they go that extra mile to help you. Bridal is a competitive business so make sure you are given the VIP experience. The dress is all important but you need to be confident that you are buying from someone who cares about what’s right for you and will let you come back if you are uncertain.

Classic vs Contemporary
What’s your personal style. Are you a ‘jeans and trainers’ kind of girl, a feminine girly girl, a Vintage fan, or somewhere in between? Do you like lots of sparkle and ‘bling’ or do you prefer things plain or natural? Do you have designs on a traditional fairytale wedding or something a little quirky?

SevilleAny dress must match your personality
Don’t try and be someone else on the day as your fiancé is marrying you for a reason! That’s not to say you shouldn’t have an open mind – very often girls come in wanting a dress that’s ‘not big’ and walk out with one that is 3 layers more than they anticipated! Don’t rule out trying different styles on and take advice from your boutique – they may unleash your inner princess. It’s the one day you can be a little more extravagant than usual!

If you set yourself a budget, try to stick to it. You will find a range of dresses at all different price points – this is determined by the fabric, detailing and designer. It always helps to have a rough idea in mind and an absolute maximum up your sleeve in case you do see something that you really love and can be pushed up to. Don’t be embarrassed in sharing your budget with your bridal boutique as it is better than them making you feel intimidated in dresses you really cannot afford.

Can you see yourself there?
The final and most important criteria is emotional and brings us back to the natural female attitude to shopping. How does it make you feel? Do you feel special, can you imagine yourself walking down the aisle in it. Does it make you feel a little bit excited and wishing the wedding was tomorrow? Do you want to take it off?

Charlotte Balbier - AliceCharlotte Balbier - Morgan









If you still can’t decide but you have narrowed your choice down to a couple, then always sleep on it. You will find yourself day dreaming about one in particular, you will start dreaming about it at night and subconsciously designing your wedding around it ie deciding on colours, bridesmaids dresses, his suit etc. The right decision will come to you and I am a firm believer in ‘gut feel’!

So the answer is no, not all girls get that ‘bolt of lightning’ telling them which dress is THE ONE but if you are like me and your heart sometimes rules your head, take a step back, put yourself in the male psyche for a minute and if the answer still matches your heart – then you know. And remember, there is far less at stake than buying a house!