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Questions to ask when shopping for your Bridal Gown

It can be overwhelming when you first start shopping for your bridal gown - you simply don’t know what you don’t know yet and it’s a very steep learning curve. Knowing what to ask from the outset will make it easier for you to compare gowns and make the right decision for you. With that in mind, we here at Emerald Bridal have put together a list of the questions and answers to help you start saying “yes” to the dress!


Q: How long before my wedding should I start looking for my gown?

A: This answer varies, as all do, depending on your particular circumstances but in an ideal world, around 6-9 months before your big day. This allows all necessary fittings and alterations but it also isn’t so far out that fashions would have shifted. If you find something too far in advance, you run the greater risk of falling out of love with your perfect dress when the next seasons offering comes in. Be sure to mention your wedding date in the boutique to ensure that they are able to meet your deadline. 

Q: Are appointments really necessary?

A: Yes. Shopping for your wedding dress is not like shopping for any other outfit. Trying them on often requires extra assistance and expert knowledge regarding design variations that you may require. Although many boutiques are open for browsing, they are often unable to accommodate on-the-day fittings due to prior appointments. It’s a good idea to call ahead and make a time for yourself, family and a couple of trusted friends who are going to help you make your choice.

TIP: Always ask before taking photos of the dresses. Different boutiques have different policies but it’s not uncommon for a designer to ask you to refrain to guard against copying of their designs.

Q: What gown will suit me?

A: This depends on your body type as much as it does your personal sense of style. Allow yourself to be guided by in-store experts who specialize in matching gown and body shapes. Better yet, get a head start by checking out our guide on different dress silhouettes for different body shapes here.

Q: Can I make changes to the gown?

A: Again, this will vary from boutique to boutique and from gown to gown but it is always worth asking. More often than not, the dress you are trying on is not the actual dress you will be buying. If your dress is being made to measure, chances are that you can alter several aspects like colour and fabric. If you are having a pre-made dress tailored to you, there may still be scope to adjust certain elements like sleeve and hem length.

Q: Are alterations covered in the cost of the gown?

A: It is most likely that the ticket price is for the gown exactly as it appears. Alterations are more often additional to this price and dependent on the extent of the alteration. Be sure to ask for a quote on alterations so you know the price of the finished gown. At Emerald Bridal, our ticket price also cover the the alteration, so please be sure to check with us again when you are in store. 

Q: How many fittings will I have?

A: It is usual to have three fittings for a custom-made gown to account for any changes in to your body over the period leading up to your wedding. What you want to find out is if the boutique will do these fittings for you in store or if they can direct you to a trustworthy tailor. At Emerald Bridal, we do all our fittings and alterations in house.

Q: What underwear should I wear?

A: A wedding gown is no ordinary dress and as such, it often requires specialty underwear like a strapless bra or corset and nude colour is highly recommended.  Also the consultants in the boutiques should all be able to give you recommendations. In the case of some highly structured gowns, it may even be possible to have the support you need built into the bodice.

Q: How do I put on my gown ?

A: This may seem like a silly question but we understand bridal gowns do have lots of additional bits and pieces you’re not accustomed to wearing by yourself. So It’s a good idea to get these instructions with a friend/family who’s going to be there on the day to help you get dressed.

Q: How practical is this gown?

A: There is no point having a full ball gown with extra long train and veil if you’re planning a beach wedding! You’ll be in your dress all day so bear in mind how easy it will be for you to walk, sit, eat, dance, go to the bathroom in your gown in the circumstance that you’ll be wearing it. At Emerald Bridal, we offer several styles that allow for easy adaptation from full formal for your ceremony to a simpler version for your reception. Spring Love Collection

Q. Can I buy the sample?

A: If you’re lucky enough to be a ‘sample size’ (usually sizes 6-12), you may be able to pick up a bargain at a boutique’s sample sale. These gowns will most probably have been worn by models for photo shoots and are sold ‘as is’ for a deeply discounted price.

Q: What about accessories?

A: You may not have decided if you want a full veil or not but it can’t hurt to try some on while you’re wearing a gown, along with various other options for headpieces and jewelry. Your consultant may be able to suggest things you hadn’t previously considered so don’t be afraid to ask. The boutique is likely to stock styles that best compliment their gowns and this could ultimately save you a lot of time and heartache sourcing them yourself.

Q: How and when will I pay for my gown?

A: This varies from boutique to boutique – some stores will expect full payment up front, whilst others accept partial payment initially with the balance due upon delivery. Whatever the case, it’s good to ask up front so you’re clear about the boutique’s policy and can make arrangements accordingly. At Emerald Bridal, a 50% despite is required for all orders. 

Q: Will my gown be ready to wear when I collect it?

A: At Emerald Bridal we ensure your gown is delivered to you fully pressed, ready to wear and transport in it’s own garment bag. The last thing you want to do is walk down the aisle in a crushed gown, so make sure you understand what, if any, further care needs to be taken before getting dressed on your big day. Be sure to ask any questions you have about how to clean and store your dress afterwards as well.

We hope we’ve answered most of your questions but please feel free to ask us any others at info@emeraldbridal.com.au or on (+61) 02 9808 5535 or via our social media.