Congratulations!  You’re engaged! 

You might be at the newsagent, buying every bridal magazine going, scouring the internet for venues, photographer, cake makers and even the wedding dress, but before you start trying to Instamessage Claire Waight Keller to request a replica Meghan dress, I have other advice.  

I would highly recommend just enjoying being engaged for a while.   You’ve just made a huge decision which is going to affect your life forever so let it all sink in: enjoy phoning friends and family to tell them the good news; bask in the ooos and ahhhs that you receive from people when they see the engagement ring; recount the proposal story to anyone and everyone who’ll listen.  It’s a once in a lifetime moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a party pooper – it’s time to celebrate too!  Have a party! It’s an excuse to drink fizz whenever you tell someone new and an engagement photo shoot is a lovely way to capture this time for the rest of your lives.  

And then once you’ve told everyone, celebrated, basked, recounted and looked at your betrothed gooey eyed enough times, you can focus on the detail.  And what a lot of detail there is. 

As a wedding dress alteration specialist, I’m going to give you a few tips on the experience of choosing your bridal gown.

When you’re ready, it is a good idea to start buying magazines or scouring the internet for dress ideas.  This is likely to be the most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought and bridal stores can be overwhelming, so it’s worth doing your research.

Locate local bridal shops

If you live near London then you might want to consider a trip there but otherwise, I’d recommend keeping it fairly close to home.  The dresses on the rails may look ‘ready to wear’ but rarely do they fit perfectly.  Unless you come to an independent seamstress like me, you are likely to be returning to the shop for consultations and alterations.  Also, find out when they’re open and whether you need an appointment. 

Think about that first appointment – it’s exciting!  Who do you want with you?  Bridesmaids?  Mum?  Nan?  Or perhaps you want to go for the first time on your own so that you can make up your mind.  Either way, think it through.

You’re through the bridal wear shop door and there are hundreds of dresses to try.  Often the sales assistants in the shop will step in at this point and help you here and I’d suggest that you let them – they have years of experience and know what to do.

It’s a good idea to try lots of different styles and shapes on even if they don’t appeal on the hanger.  I’m going in for the cliché – you might have thought you didn’t want a meringue dress but then once you try it on?  Mind changed.  You’ll be amazed.  But there really are many different styles of dress and then lots of combinations of skirt and neckline so if, say, you like the skirt on one but you want sleeves a la Kate Middleton, the sales assistants should be able to show you something similar.

It could be that you know what you want but can’t find it anywhere in which case you might want to consider having a bespoke dress made.  This may sound onerous but you know that if it’s done properly, you should walk down the aisle in a, literally, perfect-for-you dress.  This is something I could help with and, quite frankly, love! 


I love anything bridal wear but alterations are my passion!  I’ve even picked up the nickname of the Wedding Dress Surgeon!  Assuming that you have quite a lot of lead up time to your big day, your body may change so alterations are always going to be necessary.  It’s really important that you discuss the price of fittings and alterations with the store or someone like me (or preferably both so that you can compare) so that you can factor them into your budget.  Yeah, I know really boring, but it’s so important – you don’t want to be hit with a huge bill that you hadn’t expected. 

Enjoy it! 

That’s my last piece of advice.  Looking for a bridal gown, trying them all on, creating memorable moments with friends and family and then finally making the big decision should all be special days – just like the wedding day itself.