Brides at Waterfields have two boutique bridal shops, stocking a variety of wedding dresses, one just down the road in Exeter and the other slightly further south in Torquay. We recently met the team at the Exeter Living Awards as they were also finalists in the New Business category. They kindly gave us some top tips about finding your perfect wedding dress!
When is the right time to go wedding dress shopping?
Ideally, a year to a year and a half before your wedding date is the perfect time to buy your wedding dress. Although it may sound like a long time, dress delivery may take between 4-9 months depending on the dress and designer, and fittings can vary in time between 6 weeks to 3 months to complete. In addition to this, you should allow a small gap between your dress arriving and your fittings starting. And of course you want your dress to be ready and waiting at least a month before the big day to avoid any last minute stress!
I need a dress fast – is it possible to get a dress quicker?
Yes! Some designers are able to carry out a rush-cut option for a fee, and as an alternative route, almost all of our dresses are available to buy off the rail. Your bridal stylist will be happy to talk through these options with you. Don’t panic, just book in asap.
Is it a good idea to research styles before going to try on dresses?
Definitely think about what designer and/or style of dress you would like and research online which bridal shops stock them. This will help you avoid going into random shops and trying on dresses that may not suit you.
How much should I budget for my wedding dress?
Wedding dress prices can vary considerably between shops and designers. Here at Brides at Waterfields, our dresses range from £1200-£3000. Our downstairs Blossom Suite consists of dresses priced below £1500, and our upstairs Wisteria Suite displays dresses at the higher end of the price bracket, allowing us to cater for a range of budgets! If you’re looking for a wedding dress on a tighter budget, our Torquay boutique operates in two ways – you can either buy off the rail for under £1200, or you can have your dress ordered for a slighter higher price.
What are the trends for 2024 and 2025?
The trends are either “Less is More” or “More is More” which we love! Sleek, clean fabrics giving timeless looks are definitely on the rise and the designers are getting more adventurous with that concept. Also lots of beautiful botanical lace, pearls, and romantic full sleeves. The bardot neckline is still so strong, along with the A-line shape which means you can party the night away with full movement in the skirt. Bows and sparkle elements and 3D flowers are definitely going to be on the scene.
How many people should I bring to an appointment?
We suggest one to two of your closest family or friends to bring along to your appointment. If there are more you want to bring to share your special experience with you, we can accommodate bigger numbers if you let us know in advance. The most important thing is that those you bring share your vision and are your biggest cheerleaders!
Do brides normally wear a veil and a tiara, or is it one or the other?
The sky is your limit in terms of accessories! Some brides like to keep it simple and go for one or the other, and some want all the fun they can get. We have a large variety of veils in terms of both length – from fingertip to cathedral – and detail, which can be paired with a tiara or hair accessory, such as a hair comb.
How many dress fittings will I have and when do they happen?
This can depend on your chosen seamstress, how busy the wedding season is, and their availability. However, on average you will probably have 2-3 fittings, with the first one taking place between 1 to 2 months before your wedding date.
What happens if I lose or gain weight after buying my dress?
Weight fluctuation is totally normal considering the time frame between ordering your dress and having fittings, so don’t worry too much. However, we encourage brides to maintain their weight as much as they can as almost all wedding dresses can be taken in 1-2 dress sizes but not all dresses can be let out. We suggest you discuss any weight change plans with your bridal stylist before ordering your dress.
What underwear should I wear?
Brides can of course wear a bra to their appointment, but we do recommend at least trying the dresses without a bra as almost all dresses have built-in cups. We also recommend plain, nude, seamless pants for your appointment so there are no harsh lines or bright colours visible!
On the wedding day itself how long should I allow to put on my wedding dress?
Ask to try your dress on in the shop and have one of your wedding party who will be there on the day to be there so they know how it should be fastened, especially if it is a corset or buttons. Don’t leave yourself as the last person to get dressed and try and aim to be ready at least 30 minutes before the time you need to leave, ideally an hour if possible. Our three top tips before putting on your dress are – have a wee, drink a sip of water and eat a biscuit!
Thank you to the team at Brides at Waterfields for their brilliant advice and good luck if you are about to embark on a shopping trip to find your wedding dress!