Real Bride, September Edition 22, Wedding Advice

Wedding Dress Shopping 101 with Sheer Luxe

Last weekend we went to the National Wedding Show in London, where SheerLuxe was hosting a wedding panel. They kindly asked me (Georgie Le Roux, founder of G&O) to chat to them all about wedding dress shopping 101, how I found my wedding dress and all the helpful tips I learnt along the way. Q&A below:

You've just got engaged; now what?

  • Set the budget, find a venue and choose the date; the latter may or may not dictate the type of dress/outfit you want.
  • Then you can start to book your dress appointments.
  • Pull together a Pinterest board or save any images of dresses/outfits you love and begin to get an idea of what sort of bride you'd like to be.
  • Research any designers you love and see where they have stockists close to you.Β 

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What was your personal wedding dress shopping experience like?

I really enjoyed it! I went to a lot of different places:

However, ultimately I couldn't find anything I loved, so I went to see Emma Beaumont, who made me my dream dress - I loved this entire process.Β 

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What are the biggest no-nos when it comes to shopping?

  • Ideally, you want to go dress shopping when you feel fantastic, so I wouldn't go if you don't feel well / or are up for it.Β 
  • I personally wouldn't take a massive group of friends either - it can feel really overwhelming, so adding 7-8 opinions on your initials fittings can be a lot.Β 
  • Don't choose your dress unless YOU love it, even if it's your mum's favourite on the day, you need to wear it and love it.Β 

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What should you be considering when it comes to finding the perfect dress?Β 

  • Is this what I want to wear?Β 
  • Will I feel my best in this?
  • Is it within my budget?
  • Do I want to wear a veil? Does this dress suit a veil?
  • Does my outfit suit my wedding date/venue/choice?
  • Make sure you are looking ahead to Trunk Shows and sample sales of your favourite designers, they often only happen once a year.

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Any trends to follow or ignore?

  • I'm a huge fan of hair bows and beautiful hair accessories, of course! We make a lot of bows at Gigi & Olive, and they are a big trend for Brides. They are the perfect items to add to your look that can feel really personal to your style. Bridal bows are also a great way to slightly change your look in the evening; I wear Gigi Embroidered Bow after dinner to dance in.
  • Trends to ignore are the ones that don't suit you / where you don't feel like yourself.

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Who should you take with you?

  • Someone whose opinion you trust, and I also found it so helpful taking the same person to each!

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Anything you should know before you go? E.g. what to take with you, what you have to pay for etc.Β 

  • For some boutiques, you do have to pre-pay for appointments.
  • Not everywhere you can take photos/videos.Β 
  • A pair of shoes with a similar heel height to what you're envisioningΒ 
  • Take nude underwear.Β 
  • Go when you're feeling fantastic and make an afternoon of it. (I booked a haircut around the 1st appointment, so I went with a lovely blow-dry which made me feel great).

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Advice for lead times? When is crunch time?Β Β 

  • It depends on how long your engagement is! I would say 9 months is a great time to shop; this allows you a couple of months to go to lots of places and try options.Β 
  • Many designers charge a rushed order fee for anything under 6 months.Β 
  • If you buy ready-to-wear or from smaller boutiques, they may require less time, but you may also run the risk of items selling out or not being available.

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Just how much can you customise a dress?Β 

  • It really depends on the dress. If you buy something RTW, you can visit a tailor/wedding specialist and alter it.
  • If you want to make alterations to a designer's dress, it's always worth asking, but often it can be costly to make what you might think is a small change.
  • Factor in additional costs for any alterations you want to make, including taking it in or out.

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What if you want to get one made...

  • I went to Emma Beaumont, which was the most incredible experience; I loved it.Β 
  • I think it's best to have a pretty clear vision of what you'd like if you want something bespoke. You will also need to be invested in going to fittings and visuals - it's a more complicated and unique experience.Β 
  • Start by speaking to the designer and explaining your vision; the world is your oyster! Ask what the pricing is and the lead times are, too, so you're on the same page.

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Did you have an outfit change?

  • I did! I had a 2nd dress from Emma Beaumont, so I could dance more freely and paired it with a Gigi & Olive bow. I felt like a princess and am already thinking about when I can wear it again!Β 

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Any nice sentimental details you've seen that you really like?

  • I love embroidery - again, it's something we do a lot of at Gigi & Olive. I find it so timeless and chic, and it can be very subtle too.
  • Also, I love the idea of 'something borrowed' too!

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Alternative ways to find your dress? E.g. renting, pre-loved etc.Β 

  • Stillwhite is an excellent 2nd hand wedding dress platform with many designer dressers - I looked for ages here, but as I am tall (6ft), a lot of what was selling had already been chopped, so it depends on your height.
  • By Rotation and Hurr offer some great Bridal pieces you can rent.
  • Many RTW designers have now launched their best-selling items in white/ivory or created whole bridal ranges. I particularly love Reformation and Rixo for dresses under Β£500. Net-a-Porter also offers exclusive bridal pieces worth keeping an eye on, especially from designers like Galvan and Rasario.

It's a fantastic time to be a bride; any bride you want to have all these options! Enjoy every moment; it goes so quickly!

*All photographs by the wonderfulΒ Benjamin Wheeler

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