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How to find the right wedding dress

March 6th, 2024 11:00 AM

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MARIA O'DRISCOLL-COOPER of Brides Of Eire in Clonakilty, who has been advising brides for over 25 years, gives us her top tips on finding the perfect dress for your big day.

YOU'VE said yes, set the date and now it’s time to say yes again – this time to the dress.

While lots of us have some idea of the style of wedding dress we want, there are still many things to consider when searching for ‘the one’.

1: Timeline

Give plenty of time before the big day to find your dress.

‘We would suggest shopping for the wedding dress nine to 12 months before their wedding date. This should give you time to do your research.’ explains Maria.

‘I would advise to research online the styles that you like but at the same time to always keep your options open because what you think you like isn’t always the dress that suits.’

2: Budget

Setting a limit on your budget, whether big or small, is a must.

‘Budget is a huge thing, so try to determine that before you start wedding dress shopping.’ she explains. ‘When you know your budget, then you will have an idea of what shops carry dresses in your price range.’


3: Entourage

When deciding who to include in the wedding dress search, choose wisely to ensure an all-round positive experience.

‘It’s very important who you decide to bring with you when choosing your wedding dress. It’s important that they are supportive and honest with the bride. You want to bring friends and family who know your style and what you’re looking for. They also make the experience, they make it exciting for the bride.’

Maria also recommends keeping the ‘entourage’ to three or four people maximum.

‘If you bring any more it can get chaotic and confusing for you. It’s important to bring the right people with you.’

4: Underwear and shoes

Wearing the right underwear and heels is a must for getting a sense of what the final look will look like.

‘We would advise brides to wear the right underwear – they should wear nude underwear as it works best under the dress.’ says Maria.

Along with underwear, having an idea of the height of heel you plan on wearing on the big day will help in the decision making process.

‘If you’re a tall bride maybe bring a pair of heels in case you need to get the dress made longer. It’s good to have an idea of what heel height you plan to wear on the day,’ she explains

‘And don’t wear false tan, because the dresses are expensive and it’s not fair to the next person trying them on.’

5: One-to-one

As most bridal shops now offer one-to-one appointments, having an expert opinion can be a big help when finding the right dress.

‘You get booked in with your stylist, which is lovely. It’s like a personal shopper really and you get to know each other and she will pull dresses she thinks will suit you. If it is the first dress you find don’t be afraid to say “yes”. You might be thinking it can’t be that easy but it can be, and it’s wonderful when you do find “the one”.’


6: Alterations

Alterations are all part of the process, so don’t be alarmed to find that buying off the rack rarely happens when buying a wedding dress.

‘Most dresses will need to be altered, so allow time in your schedule for it to be altered. We will recommend a seamstress that a lot of our brides have used. I would also factor it into the overall cost of the dress, as it’s quite a big thing,’ Maria advises. And as mentioned already, ‘also have the right shoes and underwear ready for your fittings to ensure the alterations are perfect.’

7: Veils and Headpieces

All hail veils are making a comeback.

‘I think because of people like Kourtney Kardashian, veils are becoming more popular from long to short. Wearing a short dress with a funky veil is very in. Once you find your dress, we would then look at accessories that would complement the dress. This is when you start to think about your hair and accessories and the overall look. I think when you start picturing yourself on the day, then you can decide.’

8: Trends

For the coming season, Maria predicts that every style will be in vogue.

‘It’s details versus minimalist big-time this year. You have the very simple bride who wants a good cut and simple fabric, to the next bride who wants head-to-toe sparkle dress or 3D florals that are very popular. There are no two brides the same.’

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