At Tickled Pink we have some thirty years experience in helping brides make their bridal gown choices, so to help make things go smoothly, here’s a few friendly words of advice.
Expect to make an appointment
At least an hour will be set aside as your personal time for you to select a dress. If you call in ‘on spec’, you may find an appointment slot free, but otherwise you’ll need to be prepared to wait or to have to call again. Popular shops with a good reputation will be busy, especially on Saturdays and during school holidays.
Keep an open mind about styles
Try dresses on to find the shape and size that suits you. You may have decided on a particular look you love, but until you try it on, you won’t really know what suits your body shape and overall style. A professional sales assistant will listen to your wishes before making suggestions. In most shops you can expect to find over a hundred dresses to choose from in a variety of styles, sizes and colours. The most popular shade by far is ivory, diamond white, or pale cream, or sometimes champagne, light gold or blush. Normally, these are all sample dresses for you to try on and find your favourite. Brides usually know instinctively when they have found “the dress”. There’s no place for pressure selling in a bridal shop.
Once your decision is made, the shop will order a new dress in your size and colour of choice.
If you search any well-known label’s website for ideas, there will be a huge collection of dresses linked to suppliers. Bear in mind these suppliers dresses are available worldwide to retailers, and only a proportion will be found in UK shops.
Looking for a wedding dress with sleeves? An option is to choose a strapless wedding dress and add in a shrug or bolero for the ceremony.
Plan ahead, if you can
It takes about 5-12 months from ordering a wedding dress to delivery as each is made for individual brides. Unless you have and pay extra for a “made-to-measure” dress, you may need alterations for a perfect fit, (alterations are at an extra charge) adding a few weeks more. A further few weeks extra gives peace of mind, so 6/8 months is a comfortable minimum. Some styles can now be ordered to different skirt lengths which cuts out some alterations.
Shop policy on photographs
Many shops only permit brides to take photographs of dresses after the dress is ordered.
Weddings at short notice
One of the first questions you will be asked will be your wedding date. Some suppliers now make rush orders for weddings at short notice, and it’s also possible to buy “off-the-rail” if the retailer is prepared to part with a sample that fits you. Some of Tickled Pink’s wedding dress suppliers now provide a rush cut on certain dresses.
Have a budget in mind
The sales assistant should show you a range of dresses and mention price points, so this is the time to set boundaries, if you don’t want to go over a certain price.
If you are after keeping the price down, look out for sample sales. Samples can also be sold off during the year if it is the dress for you, your size and colour, at a “sale” price.
What is a sample dress? To give brides a wide choice, retailers in the UK purchase a range of dress sizes of each style they want to stock from a supplier. After the bride has tried on dresses and her measurements taken, a new dress is ordered just for her, leaving the sample to be tried on by another bride. Some months down the line, the shop-owner may decide it is time to sell the sample (sometimes at a discount, but available immediately).
Be prepared financially
An initial payment is required to place an order – usually 50 percent of the retail price, or by arrangement. The rest is due when the dress arrives in the shop. The bride will be expected to sign a legally enforceable contract to pay for the dress fully, in the same way that the shop-owner makes a binding contract with the supplier for that dress. Most shops take credit cards and some offer staged payments. Some retailers arrange monthly payments and place the order for the dress once the half-way mark is reached.
Once the wedding dress is delivered and fully paid for, some “tweaking” by a seamstress is usually required for a perfect fit, expect to pay for this expert service. As the dress belongs to the bride at this stage, she may choose to have alterations done by a trusted dressmaker or friend.
More than one fitting may be needed. If the customer changes shape after the final fitting, expect extra charges if the dress needs altering again. Choose shoes and lingerie early on so that you have your basic body shape and heel height in place when trying on dresses.
Caring and cleaning
Silk, satins, and taffetas are very durable fabrics but many dress trimmings include fine lace, chiffon, net and delicate beadwork which need extra care. Specialists can clean the dress after the event to preserve it in pristine condition – best done immediately after the wedding.
Buy from a reputable bricks and mortar shop
The temptation to buy over the internet is always there, but we strongly advise against it. On many occasions we have had to rescue upset brides who have ordered from internet-based websites, and the dress has been a big disappointment – a poor copy, wrong colour or size, or not delivered at all. And of course, there is no chance of trying on beforehand.
Beware of websites claiming to be able to supply labels normally found in bricks-and-mortar retailers. These dresses will be copies and poor ones at that. There may also be hidden charges for carriage and import duties, as this gets round certain import restrictions.
An online purchaser has no UK consumer protection, if there is no UK or European base.
Planning an overseas wedding?
There are a wide selection of dresses for the growing number of weddings abroad. We will help pack your dress for your flight. Travel size boxes are available to buy; these can also be used for your gown to be stored in after it has been cleaned.
Any further queries?
We will be delighted to help. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01302 842234 extn 20. Tickled Pink is located in Hatfield Doncaster Yorkshire UK DN7 6SB, on the A18 seven miles east of Doncaster.