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Ten Wedding Dress Shopping Tips & Tricks

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Interior of Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire showing pink decor and rails of wedding dresses

Just call us your wedding fairy godmother, as we’re bringing more fabulous hints, tips and tricks your way in this must-read post to help make your dress shopping experience A-MA-ZING!

Welcoming new brides-to-be to our gorgeous North Yorkshire bridal boutique every week, we know exactly what goes into making the journey to finding your dream dress truly special and, of course, super fun!

As such, we’re sharing our sparkling wisdom and top Little Pearl pointers to set your search off on the right track and ensure it’s a memorable and enjoyable part of the wedding planning that you’ll treasure for years to come!

Close up of rail of beautiful wedding dresses at Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire

1. Put In A Little Prep

To get your wedding dress search off to a strong start, we’d always recommend you begin with a little research. Pour yourself a prosecco and enjoy scrolling through Pinterest and Insta, saving the gowns and designers that catch your eye and spark your heart! Think not only about what fits with your personal style but what will work with your venue, setting and the season in which you wed. Next, search online for boutiques that stock your top designer picks or the styles of dresses that you love, and see if their approach and ethos aligns with yours. Finally, have a budget in mind before visiting boutiques to avoid that miserable I’ve-fallen-for-a-dream-dress-I-can’t-afford disappointment.

2. Shop For Your Shape (not size!)

A Little Pearl pointer that we will never tire of because it makes ALL the difference. We can get hung up on sizes at the best of times...changing room meltdown when trying on Zara jeans, anyone?! But seriously, shopping for your shape is a game-changer in that you’ll find a dress that accentuates your awesome figure, feels comfortable and gives you the confidence of queen Lizzo! We’re so passionate about this topic, in fact, that we’ve written a blog post on How To Find The Best Wedding Dress For Your Body Type, so be sure to check it out as part of your prep!

3. Swot Up On Bridal Boutique Events

Ok, we said “a little prep”, but knowledge is power, ladies, and this ‘homework’ might just save you a pretty penny on your wedding dress, making it 100% worth it. Throughout the year, bridal boutiques will host a number of exciting events ranging from designer days and trunk shows to accessory styling evenings (we have an accessory event taking place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th November - full details below). Not only will they often include priceless expert advice, bubbles and treats, but sometimes there is a glorious discount on offer too for purchases made on the day. The bargain-hunters amongst you will also want to keep your eyes peeled for sample sales, where you can bag yourself an ex-display or sample designer gown for a fraction of its original price. Which naturally means more money to spend on shoes!

P.S. You can check out the fabulous events we have coming up at our beautiful North Yorkshire bridal boutique here.

Interior of Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire showing pink decor, rails of wedding dresses and comfortable seating area for guests

4. Keep Your Dress Shop Squad Tight

Another ‘Pearl Of Wisdom’ you may well have heard us mention before, but that’s because we want you to have the best wedding dress shopping experience...and in this case, less is most definitely more! We recommend extending precious invites to just two or three of your nearest and dearest to avoid landing yourself in overwhelm and opinion central. Ideally, those who you pick will know your style and be honest with their thoughts in helping you find the dress of your dreams...and not of theirs! Keen to assist you further, we have a How To Choose Who To Take Wedding Dress Shopping With You blog post outlining the key benefits of streamlining your squad.

5. Trust Your Bridal Stylist

Consider us stylists your ultimate wedding wing woman! Being in this game, we’ve built up a hella load of experience, not just in all things bridal gowns but also regarding figures, body hang-ups, self-esteem issues and general wedding wobbles. So, fear not, as we’re here to help, support, guide, inspire and empower from beginning to end of your bridal dress journey. This means you can confide in us, ask us anything and trust that if we send a dress ‘wild card’ your way, it’s definitely worth exploring.

6. Stay True To You

While we’re happy to share our suggestions, it’s of utmost importance that your chosen dress genuinely sends you all love-heart-shaped eyes. As we say, you will want to feel comfortable and confident...but most importantly, you! So don’t be afraid to speak out if something doesn’t float your big day boat. On this same note, you shouldn’t feel swayed by trends or other people’s #weddinggoals, and you most certainly shouldn’t feel at all pressured to change your body for your wedding day. The person marrying you fell in love with you for exactly how you are now, not how you will look walking down an aisle (which, of course, will be crazy beautiful!). Seriously though, losing weight does not require a spot on your wedding ‘to do’ list.

Interior of Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire showing pink decor and rails of wedding dresses

7. Allow Time For Ordering & Alterations

If you want to shop smart, we’d say the dream time to start your dress search is around 12 to 18 months before your big day. This would give you enough time to comfortably visit several boutiques before making your decision but also not leave too long before your wedding for you to potentially change your mind as new dresses filter through. When you find ‘the one’, your measurements will be taken, and your size will be ordered. The time the dress takes to arrive will depend on several factors, including the complexity of the gown if it’s fully made to measure, where the designer is based, and the number of orders they’re receiving at that point. When your dream dress does arrive at the boutique, plans will be made for your fittings, which usually take place a few months ahead of your wedding, so you’ll need to account time for those too.

8. Consider More Than One Dress

It might sound a little extravagant, but if you’ve got your heart set on more than one big day look, a dress duo could provide the perfect solution. For example, it may be that you’re planning a traditional church ceremony for which you’d like an elegant ballgown, but then you want to go all-out with a short, glamorous dress for the evening reception. Alternatively, you could be stretching the celebrations across more than one day with a low-key legal ceremony and extravagant follow-up party, or marrying overseas with a select guest list and having a UK celebration when back on home turf. If two gowns are a budget stretch too far, consider looking for your gowns at a boutique sample sale where you could stand to save hundreds (if not more!) on spectacular designer dresses. Sticking to just ‘the one’? Then a fabulous styling trick is to go for a versatile dress that offers multiple looks. So think detachable overskirts, capes and sleeves that can be fashioned differently for various elements of the celebrations.

9. Factor In Bridal Accessories

The finishing touches are where you can really make your wedding look your own, so you’ll want to make time to shop for them and save some of the budget to spend on them. We’re talking shoes, jewellery, veil and hair accessories. Think about how you can reflect your own personal style through such pieces whilst working in harmony with your chosen dress. Again, to help switch up your look, you can pick accessories for different parts of your day. So perhaps dainty by day and dazzling by night! Just be sure you’re complementing rather than clashing. For styling advice, look out for those dedicated accessory boutique events we mentioned or seek suggestions directly from designers.

P.S. We have an accessory styling event at The Little Pearl on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th November. We can advise on those all-important finishing touches with gorgeous pieces from our amazing designer collections. Plus, we’ll have a selection of beautiful off-the-peg bridesmaid dresses available to purchase too. Secure your place by booking an appointment for the event here.

Beautiful bridal accessory display at Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire housing bridal shoes, wedding hair accessories and bridal bags

10. Practise Walking In Your Wedding Shoes

Heels...remember those? After what seemed like an endless period of slipper-wearing during those dreary lockdowns, we can be forgiven for not being so hot on our heels these days. But, regardless of whether you’re going for striking skyscrapers or fancy flats, your feet will thank you for bedding in your wedding shoes ahead of the big day. Perhaps just make sure your other half is out, and the curtains are drawn, if you intend on channelling your inner Tyra Banks!


Enjoy The Experience

Neither a tip nor a trick but most certainly a necessity, your dress shopping experience should be fun, memorable, and special. So, try to relax, enjoy the process, and listen to those gut feelings. Oh, and ladies, once you’ve found your dream dress (or two!), call off the search to avoid unnecessary did-I-make-the-right-decision wobbles. Instead, focus on how amazing the dress made you feel when you put it on and get excited about those amazing feelings flooding back x1,000 come your big day!


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