Behind every bride is a boutique full of experts, ready to turn your dress dreams into reality. All they ask in return? Honest communication and an open mind...

At one time or another, whether we realised it or not, we’ve all compromised. 

But when it comes to your wedding dress, and, most importantly, how you feel in it? We’d argue there’s absolutely no room for compromise. This is your day, your dress and if there’s anything the bridal experts are sure of, it’s that you can have it all.

All of the confidence – without the compromise.

Two sleeved wedding dresses both with applique shown on models side by side

Left: Kansas luxurious lace mermaid dress with corseted bodice and feather-lined sleeves by WÓNA Concept, £POA; Right: Naroza off-the-shoulder boned-bodice gown with sequin floral embroidered lace and Chantilly lace by Blue by Enzoani, £POA, both Opus Couture

Do I have to wear something traditionally bridal to my wedding? 

“One of the biggest myths out there is that you need to stick to something that is ‘traditionally’ bridal,” says Kudos Bridal Boutique Dunfermline’s manager Megan Carberry. Whether this means wearing white or sticking to a specific style, it can cause lots of brides to feel limited by what is ‘expected’, she tells us. 

Lynsey Thomson-Wilson, director of Aimee Bridal Couture in Glasgow, says she often hears a lot of things like “I’m too curvy to wear a fitted gown” or “I’m too short to wear a princess dress”. To this, her reply is: “Try it on and see how you feel.” 

Susan Lightbody, business manager of West Kilbride boutique Opus Couture, follows this up with a plea to brides: “Don’t tell your consultant what you think you can wear, tell us what you want to wear,” she says. 

“We’re not compromising, remember. So don’t show us pictures and say: ‘I think this is the kind of thing that will suit me.’ If you would love to look really soft, romantic and flowy, tell us that instead!” she says. 

The most important thing you can bring to a dress fitting

Wondering what’s the most important thing you can bring to a dress fitting? “An open mind,” states Opus Couture bridal sales consultant Sophie.

“If you come in with too many preconceived ideas, you can really limit yourself. I will encourage you to try on all of the silhouettes, then at least you’ve ticked that box and you won’t walk out of the appointment with regrets, thinking, oh, what if I’d tried on that fishtail…” 

“Rather than telling us what you think you can wear, tell us what you want to wear"

Lynsey of Aimee Bridal Couture suggests that a great place to start the search is by adding in-store gowns to your wishlist ahead of your appointment.

“We start with these and then quickly figure out which shapes, fabrics, necklines and so on you like (or really don’t like!). Our stylists can then go from there and make suggestions based on the feedback.” 

The reality for most brides is that no matter how prepared you feel, or how sure you are in your choices pre-appointment, until you are physically wearing the dress, you just won’t know for sure.

“I’d say 80% of brides end up with a dress that’s the complete opposite of what they expected,” smiles Sophie. “So don’t worry about being in something you never imagined yourself in – it’s actually more ‘normal’ than coming in, showing us a picture and purchasing that exact dress.” 

Wondering what to expect at your bridal appointment? Find 'the one' with our guide to stress-free wedding dress shopping

Who should I bring wedding dress shopping with me?

Kudos Dunfermline’s Megan says: “I know that everyone gets caught up in the excitement of dress shopping but sometimes too many opinions can work against you. Bring just two or three guests whose views really matter to you.” 

Opus Couture’s Susan agrees and adds that you should “bring along the people who know you really well and will pick dresses they know you will love. Don’t bring a pal who’ll pick a super-sparkly dress for you just because she loves sparkles herself.”

Two wedding outfits shown on the same model side by side, one a two piece and the other a flowy gown with a train

Left: Ariana crepe and lace two-piece bohemian gown with illusion bodice and keyhole back, by Maggie Sottero, £POA; Right: Charlize satin corset mermaid dress with sweetheart neckline and stretch jersey lining by Maggie Sottero, £POA, both Kudos Bridal Boutique Dunfermline

How do I make sure my body insecurities don't stop me from saying 'Yes to the dress' I love? 

Body insecurities – we all have them, and as there is currently no magic spell promising a ‘poooof! I now love every inch of myself’ solution, bridal consultants have learnt great techniques for handling the hang-ups.

Here’s one from Megan at Kudos Bridal Dunfermline: “We’re always told to wear something ‘flattering’, but I feel the best approach is to find something that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed and makes you forget about all those pesky insecurities that run through our heads 24/7.”

So what does comfort mean to you? “Whether it’s a soft, floaty A-line that hides your tummy, or a structured mermaid gown that accentuates your curves, your dress should be designed to bring out all the bits of your body that you love while disguising anything you’d rather not have on show,” Megan says. 

Let your consultant in on all your least favourite features (and your favourites too – don’t forget about those!) and they’ll get to work coming up with savvy solutions to boost your confidence.

Insecure about your arms? Megan suggests popping an off-the-shoulder strap on for some coverage. Feel like your bust should be a highlight? She’ll find a plunge neckline for you to try.

"We're always told to wear something 'flattering', but I feel the best approach is to find something that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed"

How can I alter a dress to ensure I'm comfortable at my wedding?

“We’re not compromising, remember," Opus Couture’s Susan says, "so decide what is important to you on your day and let the dress work for you.” 

Let’s say you love the idea of sleeves, but know that once that 10pm DJ set comes on you’re going to want to ‘raise the roof’? In that case, being able to quite literally raise your arms higher than shoulder height will be a priority for you. Or, maybe you’ve got little ones you know you’ll be picking up for cuddles and photographs all day long.

This is where Susan’s expertise comes in and she’ll say, “Let’s swap the fitted sleeves for detachable ones – that way, you still get the look you love but you can take them off as soon as you’re craving that additional range of movement.”

Detachable elements, whether overskirts, trains, big bows or spaghetti straps, are really changing the game, Susan explains. “There are lots of things we can do, without altering the dress permanently, to make you feel fantastic.”

Two form-fitting wedding dresses shown on models side by side

Left: Solace V-neckline fit-and-flare gown with vine-inspired lace on an illusion bodice by Madi Lane, £POA; Right: Sydney square neckline body-hugging crepe gown with pearl detailing by Evie Young, £POA, both Aimee Bridal Couture

Is it normal not to cry when I say 'Yes to the dress'?

No sign of any waterworks at your bridal fitting? Don’t stress, urges Lynsey of Aimee Bridal Couture. “So many brides-to-be expect to cry when they find their gown, but not everyone is the gushy, emotional type.

Some brides are so happy it brings them to tears but for others it’s a transactional process, just a dress, and the marriage is the best part for them. Every bride is different, just as every woman is different, and that’s okay – we have no expectations of how you should react.” 

Sophie from Opus Couture tells us she once had a bride say “yep” to the dress – a full “yes” was just a little too scary!

What's the biggest bridal shopping myth?

According to Kudos Dunfermline’s Megan, it’s the notion of ‘having to sleep on it’ before confirming your big pick.

“It is very easy to forget how a dress made you feel once you leave the boutique. You are likely to over-analyse photos of you in a sample gown that may not have fitted you properly rather than focusing on the emotions that gown made you feel when you tried it on. It’s impossible to recreate the moment you find ‘the one’ if you decide to revisit later.” 

Final tip from our consultants: Voice any worries you have while you’re in the store so the experts can help you find a solution.

That way you’ll leave worry-free, with a stunning dress to boot. 

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