BY LAUREN BURVILL
If you’ve seen the cult-reality-tv classic Say Yes To The Dress, you may think you know everything there is to know about buying your wedding dress from a bridal boutique. But while the flamboyant stylist and demanding bride or bridal party is fun to watch on TV, this kind of scale and drama is far from the reality of buying a dress from a boutique.
To take a peak beyond the bridal store window, we spoke to Emma Meek-Marshall about what it’s really like to shop for your wedding dress at a boutique.
If the thought of tackling the high street crowds in search of the perfect dress fills you with dread, and you’re tired just thinking about endlessly scrolling the internet for wedding dresses, then shopping at a boutique is sure to come as welcome relief. With your wedding dress appointment booked, you’ll be welcomed into a peaceful space by your own dedicated stylist and offered a glass of bubbles. If only all shopping could be like this!
You get to shop with a stylist
“Wedding boutique stylists know you might be nervous and need inspiration and hand holding in equal measure,” says Emma. “One of the absolute unsung but most important benefits of boutique shopping means you have a dresser, ladies maid, stylist, confidante and personal shopper in one.”
According to Emma, most wedding stylists with have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the wedding industry, and be able to offer styling tips, recommendations and answer any ‘what if’s’ that you may have.
These are not walking billboards, or paid for preferred supplier lists; they are a lifetime of invaluable contacts and opinions at your service.
There will be plenty to choose from
Not quite sure how that small bridal boutique on the corner will have enough dresses for you to look at? You’d be surprised.
“In the same way a chef will wax lyrical about sourcing the best ingredients, a boutique owner will scour the globe to bring the best apparel to their emporiums,” says
“Whether a boutique stocks locally sourced dresses made in tiny quantities by hot new British designers, or giant global brands, traditional or avant-garde, British, European, or New World, the choices will have been researched and sourced with the utmost care.”
They’ll guide you through the process
If you’re concerned about being overwhelmed with too much choice, or not even sure about the type of wedding dress style you want, a boutique stylist will ease your worries. With years of experience, most stylists will take the time to get to know you, your wedding plans and budget before suggesting styles that will flatter your body shape or suit your wedding theme.
“Reputable boutique owners know their clients intimately,” says Emma. “In the buying process for their shop, they will have channelled, funnelled, edited and curated the bewildering choice available to what they know their brides love.”
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- You’ll get exactly what you want
While buying your wedding dress online can come with a series of risks, shopping at a boutique means not only being able to try the dress on that you want, but also being able to customise it.
To use the restaurant comparison again – a great boutique means not having to settle for a takeaway when you really want the best table.
“Think of a bridal boutique less of a shop of products, and more like an interior designer’s studio, full of swatches & match pots. Yes, there are dresses to try on, but these are examples of what might be, not what has to be,” says Emma.
Your dress will fit perfectly
We’ve all heard the horror stories of brides-to-be buying their wedding dresses online from China only for it to arrive five sizes too small.
Unlike high street and online stores, when it comes to buying your wedding dress from a boutique, there’s no such thing as one size fits all (or for that matter, five sizes too small). Not only will the dress you want be made to your size, but most reputable bridal boutiques will also offer a full expert fitting programme, so your dress sits perfectly on the day.
According to Emma, boutiques can often tailor these plans around your lifestyle too. “Do you live abroad? Are you actively changing shape? Can you only be fitted on a certain day at a certain time? Let your boutique into your plans, and the best advice is on hand,” says Emma.