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How many ways to buy a wedding dress?

How exciting......the ring is on your finger, the date had been set and now you can start the 'journey' of finding the perfect thing to wear on the big day.

You will probably start online.

Pinterest is the go to option for comfy armchair scrolling.

So many pretty styles, so many colours, in fact so many of!!!

Step one is to relax. It may be the most important outfit you will ever wear and its probably the most expensive one, but panicking and getting stressed could lead to a very costly mistake.

Step two is to be realistic with your dreams. We would all love to be just like the models, 7', size zero with perfect skin etc etc. The reality is we are ALL unique, beautiful and gorgeous just in our own way.

Issues that you may have, and believe me we ALL have them, can be disguised, diffused or hidden. Those bits of you, you are most happy with we enhance, complement and accentuate.

Everything needs to come together to be YOU but on a good day!!!

So you've researched all the millions of designers and styles, trends etc and make the appointments for you and your entourage to see the real deal.

The first thing to forget about is the size label. Most dresses are produced smaller than normal clothing......god knows why but it does. At the end of the day its just a number and can be cut out....nobody needs to know.

Most stores stock one of each size as a sample. Some have a range of sizes, some only small, some only larger.......find out when you book your appointment what your shop has before you go.

Even if the size isn't right for you, most of these boutiques can order the correct size for you and it will then be fitted and tailored to fit like a glove by a brilliant me lol. Just ask again prior to the visit if they can order and how long they take to arrive if you are on a timescale. The last thing you want is to find the ONE but its the wrong size, discontinued and unavailable.....

Feel free to try lots on but you will soon find yourself drawn to a certain shape or fit. Go with the feel as well as the look. Your venue and theme need to be taken into account too.

Bouncy castle??? Space hopper??? Underwater???? LOL

It is easy to get overwhelmed so its definitely worth stepping away at the end of your appointment to consider your purchase. Even if just a cuppa but try for at least a sleep on it.

Never sign on the dotted line without reading the very small print.

Reputable outlets will ensure they have the at least the 14 day cooling off period which is standard for most purchases by law.

If its a made to order however, that may not apply. Check this again before you buy.

What is the difference in the way you buy a wedding dress?

Depending on the choice of seller, you will find the three main ways you can buy a wedding dress are:

Off the peg

Made to measure


Off the peg is pretty obvious. Its the one you try in the shop. It might be perfect and brand new. It may be a sample so check for odd imperfections. This is usually reflected in the price if so and will be sold as seen. Some are very old stock bought from bankrupt stores or as bulk sample buys. These are great for a bargain but will be older styles and the price should definitely reflect this. Check for any marks especially on the hem and underarms. A good professional dry clean may work. If tis being shortened, the hem will be cut off anyway. Rips and damage are harder to sort though. If you buy and find a fault after taking it away, you probably cant return it.

Made to measure is a bit misleading. You try a sample in store and a new dress is ordered for you. You will get measured BUT this is so your consultant can order the closest to your size. You will still receive a standard size gown. You won't have it made to your size, but it will be the nearest and usually to your largest 'attribute'. These will most probably need a tweak to gain a prefect fit so ensure you have a seamstress to hand to help you out. All reputable stores will either have in house or a list of recommended dressmakers for you.

Remember to budget for the alterations though. It can be anything from £200 upwards depending on what needs doing and dress construction.

Bespoke/ Couture is a the highest end of the market and you will need to see a designer with a dressmaking team or she will personally make it for you. You will have discussions on the initial design including fabric choices and colours. You will be measured precisely and then a number of 'toiles' are made in a basic fabric to clarify fit, style and proportions. Sometimes this is a first attempt success story, sometimes a few need to be made. The process is an organic one so changes can be made as you see them materialise. Once the final decision is made. the real fabric is cut and sewn and you have your dream dress. This process wont require alterations so although normally pricier you get a lot for your money. No compromise and no need to stress getting it altered.

Whichever way you find your wedding dress, I hope you have fun, enjoy the process and the end result is all you've ever wanted.

Keep Calm........YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!

The Karen Dornellie Artisan Collection


Unit 2,

Isle of Wight Pearl

Military Road

Isle of Wight



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