Wedding Dress Tips & Advice

Find your perfect…dress

Expert wedding dress advice from Sassi Holford and Clifton Brides

I am delighted to have two fabulous bridal boutiques contributing their expertise to this feature on finding the perfect wedding dress. Firstly, we have Sassi Holford Taunton which is a beautiful boutique in Taunton’s Independent Quarter. The atmosphere here is relaxed and the consultants are friendly and very knowledgeable. In store, you’ll find stunning gowns for the bride, bridesmaids and the bride’s mother. I also have the wonderful Clifton Brides giving their advice here. Clifton Brides have been established for over 30 years as an independent family-run business. Their reputation is based on a personal service, experience and of course a stunning collection of wedding dresses.

Before I start looking for the perfect dress, what are three top tips to make sure I start out in the right direction?

Sassi Holford:

1. Do your research! Use social media to find and bookmark gowns - Pinterest and Instagram are great.

2. Think about the style and themes of your wedding, particularly the venue and the season, which can be reflected in your dress design.

3. Draw up a shortlist of designers whose style you like and make appointments to try on their dresses.

Clifton Brides:

1. Think about your venue and what style dress you would feel comfortable wearing there.

2. Think about your budget before you start trying - have a chat with your planned boutique before booking.

3. Think about how many guests you will take to appointments - too many can be overwhelming!

What is the process of trying on wedding dresses? Is it by appointment only, are there any charges and what is a typical time-frame?

Sassi Holford: If you can, start trying on gowns 9 to 12 months prior to your wedding day. Remember to keep an open mind and try on several different silhouettes. Since you are just starting your search, it won’t hurt to try a few gowns that aren’t typically your style or aren’t exactly what you have in mind - you might just be surprised! Make the most of your bridal stylist’s knowledge and experience as they are a fantastic resource for you. Every bride is very important to us so we try to work by appointment only; but we will accommodate drop-ins if we can. Our boutique does not charge for appointments.

Clifton Brides: All our brides are seen by appointment only, to give the utmost personal attention. We currently only charge £20 for our Saturday appointments, other days are free of charge. Appointments will usually last 1.5 hours and the typical time frame to order a wedding dress is 5-6 months, but usually brides order around a year ahead.

I’m on a budget, what are my options?

Sassi Holford: Our gowns start at £1,200.00, however we do hold sample gown sales twice a year in January and July.

Clifton Brides: If you are on a restricted budget, or simply don’t want to spend thousands on a dress, our samples are a perfect choice. Gorgeous samples are available from £600. Our dresses made to order range from £1000-£2300. The average cost falling around £1300-£1600.

I’ve said yes to the dress! What happens next?

Sassi Holford: Congratulations on finding your perfect dress! The team will talk you through your wedding gown journey, schedule measurement and fitting appointments and advise how you should prepare for them.

Clifton Brides: Congratulations, time to celebrate! Leave everything to us to order your dress as discussed with any changes to style / fabric. Then you can move to your other co-ordinating pieces such as shoes, jewellery, bridesmaids outfits, flowers… there’s so much to think about!

On the wedding day itself, do you have any advice to keep the dress looking its best?

Sassi Holford: It is your bridesmaids’ responsibility to look after the dress by making sure it isn’t trodden on and the train is set for photographs. We always recommend having an emergency kit - safety pins, needle and thread etc – for your chief bridesmaid to look after.

Clifton Brides: On your wedding day, your dress will be ready to step into as it will have been prepared and steamed by us. Do make sure you remember to show your bridesmaid where the bustles are!

What can I do with the dress afterwards?

Sassi Holford: Have your dress professionally cleaned as soon as possible after your wedding to prevent any stains from settling in. If you are storing your dress, perhaps to wear again or to pass it on to a future generation, you’ll want to make sure it is packed in acid-free paper in an archival box.

Clifton Brides: After your wedding, you really should clean it as soon as you can after your big day, whether it’s to store it, sell it on or wear on your anniversaries to come! We offer a service to arrange cleaning and boxing for you.

What other questions are important to ask my bridal shop?

Sassi Holford: How long will my appointments be? How many people can I bring with me? Do you have an in-house or recommended seamstress?

Clifton Brides: Well, anything dress or wedding related it’s always worth asking questions - if we can’t help, we will probably know someone who can!

The wedding dress is probably the most talked about thing on a wedding day and I am constantly amazed at the sheer variety of styles. I have trawled through the many weddings I’ve photographed to find different examples; from A-line to fishtail, lace to satin. Often these dress shots are captured in the moment, but others may need a little help to show them off in their full glory, especially those with long trains or veils!

Choosing a wedding dress is such an exciting and momentous occasion - I hope this article has given you some helpful tips and advice about how to start your search. There are so many great opportunities to capture images of your beautiful wedding dress on your wedding day, from bridal preparations to first looks, to the couple portraits and not forgetting your first dance! You may want photographs of your dress hanging up before you put it on and once on, I try to capture the details of the dress to really show it off in all its splendour. When your dress is cleaned and safely packed away after your wedding, it isn’t something you are going to be looking at every day, so great shots of your dress really are important.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer who can capture the elegance and grace of not only the way your wedding day looks, but of how it feels, then I would love to hear from you. I am taking bookings for 2021/22 and I travel across the UK. You can contact me here.

Check out the other articles in the Find Your Perfect series:

Find Your Perfect Band

Find Your Perfect Make Up Artist

Find Your Perfect Florist

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