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A Guide to Wedding Dress Shops, Gown Hire, Dress Design & More

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When it comes to getting the dress, you will need to determine whether you plan to buy or hire the dress, get it made, or even get it designed. However, even before that decision is made, you will need to go shopping for it!


Regardless of how you ultimately obtain the dress, the same basic principles apply. The key to it all is to make sure you allow as much time as possible. It is never too early to start, and with so many options available you will need to begin narrowing down the field asap. Our advice is to make, where possible, a final decision on the dress and placing an order around 6 to 8 months before the Big Day.


Of course, if there is one thing that women rarely need to be asked to do, it is to go shopping! The vast majority of Bride's-to-be will want to start looking for the dress of their dreams as soon as the date has been set. And the best way to help track down this 'gown from heaven' is to shop, shop and shop some more.


The first thing to do is to pick a day when both the Bride (or the Bride and a trusted friend or family member, usually the Chief Bridesmaid or Bride's mum) can spend the day immersed in dress shopping. Book as many appointments as possible in a familiar town or city, remembering:

    1. Most dress shops operate between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
    2. To allow at least an hour to an hour and a half for each appointment (ask how long each store allows when booking appointments).
    3. To leave enough time between appointments for travel between shops.
    4. To eat lunch - you will soon start to flag and tire if you don’t!

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