Hey, how exciting for you, your big day is coming. If I could do it all again I would love to, I had the most amazing day and enjoyed every moment. I found most of the process leading up to our wedding day very enjoyable, but with a few stressful moments. Dress Shopping (for me) I definitely found to be one of the most enjoyable parts, I mean who could complain about getting to try on a few beautiful dresses. I have a video here with some tips and some points and links below.
You can read all about my own bridal look and style at a later point, I knew when I started my bridal outfit journey that I wanted to keep everything sustainable and eco friendly. It was still a concept that was quite new to me this time last year so I learnt some bits as I went along. I went to about four different shops and tried on many different dresses before I found the one for me. You can read all about my shopping trips below
My advice for any future brides is……..
- Go solo or go with a few you trust. Ok, not so much an eco-friendly or cruelty free tip, more so something every bride should keep in mind. Bringing all your people also brings in lot’s of different opinions. I think you need to go shopping either by yourself or with a few people you trust that won’t stress you out. My cousin ‘gets’ me more than anyone and at one point I had something in my head that I couldn’t explain to the woman in the shop in simple english, no one bar Caoimhe knew what I was trying to say and was then able to say it to everyone in a way that it was clear and understood. Sometimes I only need to be thinking it in my head and she will know exactly what I am thinking and be totally on the same wavelength as me. My sister Orla, may not always ‘get me’, but she certainly tries and no one makes me laugh quite so easy as she does. My mom is my mom and picked out the dream dress so what can I say. There were a few more people I could of had on this day and while I love them all, I knew if I took too many people that too many different opinions would be thrown around and that was what I wanted least. So either go by yourself and have an idea of what you like stress free before you take anyone or else take those who know you better than anyone.
- Charity Bridal Boutiques. You don’t need to stick to the usual wedding shops, I tried out all the wedding charity boutiques in Dublin and even came across a beautiful dress that I was so close to buying, the only problem was that it didn’t fit around my bust and was designed in a way that I wouldn’t of easily been able to alter it without complications. But bridal charity boutiques such as Oxfam Bridal or Barnardos Bridal Rooms have so many beautiful dresses on offer, as well as beautiful veils, shoes and accessories and it’s great to know that your buy in these shops has no environmental impact (these dresses are donated already made by designers or by bridal shops) and the profits go towards a good cause.
- Check out some pre-loved dresses. I would highly recommend the website Still White, which is a worldwide pre-loved online bridal boutique. Other places I kept my eye on, were SellMyWeddingDress.ie and a pre-loved bridal facebook group. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on these websites if you have a particular dress or style in mind, not only will you reduce your carbon footprint but you will be paying a lot less for your dress.
- Think About Expenses. On the subject of point 4, really think about how much you want to spend on your dress. Let’s be real with each other here, we all want to look like ‘WOW’, but we all also need to keep in mind that this is a dress for one day. I just came across someone who spent over €7,000 on a custom made wedding dress, what the actual F!! Now I am not here to judge and if I had money to blow, who knows what I would do with it, but €7,000 on a dress she will only wear once is insane! I knew what I would and wouldn’t pay for a dress for one day and this is also were being thrifty with how I bought it came in handy. Think about what you, yourself are comfortable to pay and make the decision that you won’t go over it. A wedding day is amazing, but not having a debt to pay for a dress afterwards is also a good feeling. A lot of the time as soon as people hear the word ‘wedding’ all prices go up. So just be smart and stick with what you decide and what your gut tells you.
- Good Designers & Brands. If second hand or from a charity bridal boutique isn’t for you, you should next start to research some designers and brands that use organic, eco friendly and sustainable materials and brands that you know like to make sure they are known for being socially responsible. The Good Trade has done a nice list – here which you can look into.
- Rentals. Last but not least another good idea is to rent a dress for the big day. Companies like BridesFirstChoice.ie cover dry cleaning and some accessories too. I actually think this can be a great idea too, as you aren’t trying to keep your lovely dress safe at home, you don’t need to worry about dry cleaning or the likes and of course that good ol carbon footprint that I keep talking about is left with minimum to no damage.
My Shopping Trips
The First Shop was in France about a week or two after I got enagaged. The shop was closing down and I actually did buy a dress that I ended up wearing for the party instead. Here are some pictures from my day there….
The second shopping trip was in Barnardos Bridal Rooms – Dublin where I came across some beautiful dresses but not the one for me. You can read below why I recommend having look in Barnardos above.
The third trip was to Oxfam Bridal Dublin, where again there was some beautiful dresses but not the one for me, although I did come very close to falling in love with a fairy tale style dress, but it never would of fitted around my chest properly without some severe alterations. Here are some pictures …..
The forth trip was to Folkstar Bridal Boutique which I would highly recommend if you are looking for something different but absolutely beautiful that is ethically sourced.
The fifth and final trip was to Truly Bridal Boutique Naas in which you pay a fair price of €25 or €30 for two hours just to yourself and your gang to try on dresses, it was here that I found my ‘actual’ dress, but as I said above, I wanted it to be ethical and sustainable so I decided if I could find one that was pre-loved in my size or one size bigger and have it taken in then it was the dress for me and after a lengthily / 4 week Google session I found it. Bar the first shop in France, this was the only time I went shopping with other people. I took my mom, sister and cousin with me and had a lovely day out. We also went mother of the bride shopping and bridesmaid dress shopping on this day and had such a nice time.
So there you have it, they are some of my top tips when selecting your dress while also trying to aim for a bit of an eco-firenldy approach. If you have any more tips please be sure to let me know.