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Wedding Dress Shopping: What To Know Before Your Appointment

There will be champagne.

12/07/2016 7:44 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:57 PM AEST
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"A little bit of fancy dress never hurt anyone." 

Whether halter or v-neck, off the shoulder or sweetheart, it's fair to assume most brides dream of a timeless gown when they say "I do".

Not only does the dress set the tone for the day, but it's likely it will feature on the mantelpiece for generations to come (and we all know what chiffon puffy sleeves does to a gal).

Perms and 80s fashion aside, there is a crazy amount of pressure that surrounds finding The Dress One.

Dan Jones, designer and founder of UNBRIDALED by DAN JONES sees this first-hand which is why he's a big believer in trusting your gut instinct when it comes to making a decision.

"If there is any hint of doubt, don't hesitate to ask questions which will help you come to a conclusion," Jones told The Huffington Post Australia.

It's part of my job to help guide the bride in a direction that I know she is going to be comfortable with but also, one she's going to look her absolute best in, will push the envelope a little and bring some real pizzazz to the whole day.

For him, ensuring the experience of finding, and then falling in love with a dress is just as important as the dress itself.

"It's part of my job to help guide the bride in a direction that I know she is going to be comfortable with but also, one she's going to look her absolute best in, will push the envelope a little and bring some real pizzazz to the whole day," Jones said.

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Be open


For Jones, one of the first things he will ask is how far into the dress hunting journey you are.

In doing so, he can get an idea of styles she has tried and liked and those she didn't love so much.

"More often than not it's the style the bride least expects that is the one she can't stop thinking about," Jones told HuffPost Australia.

Jones' mantra? A little bit of fancy dress never hurt anyone.

"At the end of the day there is no harm in trying it on, sometimes you will decide before it's even zipped up that it's not right and other times you will burst into tears before we can get the buttons done up," Jones said.

Time is your friend

Lead times differ from designer to designer. Some may require as little as three months while others may require six to nine months for more intricate styles.

"The lead time for an Unbridaled by Dan Jones gown for example will depend on the style and its components. Embellished styles are finished by hand, therefore we would require a six month lead time," Jones said.

It's not crazy by any means to start gathering your thoughts and setting out for a couple of weekends 12 months out from the wedding date.

As with most things, shopping is never pleasant when rushed.

"It's not crazy by any means to start gathering your thoughts and setting out for a couple of weekends 12 months out from the wedding date," Jones said.

You can always start early and when you have narrowed down your top designers and styles, have a break and get back to it. Obviously making sure you don't miss lead times.

Choose support wisely


Planning a wedding is a big project and having a good support network -- or even just a sounding board -- is absolutely necessary.

"Bring people you are comfortable with and I would suggest not bringing too many. Maybe a close friend, your sister or your mum. Although your instinct is important here as well," Jones said.

For the modern bride, Jones said it's not unusual for women to bring their husband-to-be.

"Whilst it's not the 'traditional' path to take, it's super cute to watch him suggest styles and join in on the fun," Jones said.

Listen to your instinct

"My general rule of thumb is 'if you ain't feelin' it, you just ain't feelin' it and that adheres across the board -- not only to the dress but the designer, venue, celebrant, florist -- you name it," Jones said.

If the experience isn't planning out to be as special as you hoped for, don't bring the entire party, I would suggest enjoying the journey solo.

Being vocal about your concerns is what will help you out here. If there's any doubt, ask questions and if you feel like you're being swayed by friends or a family member, Jones recommends returning to the designer or store alone.

"If the experience isn't planning out to be as special as you hoped for, don't bring the entire party, I would suggest enjoying the journey solo," Jones said.

Just have fun!


"It's very easy to get caught up and be overwhelmed," Jones said.

"Make sure you set yourself plenty of time and don't force yourself into countless weeks of dress shopping," Jones said.

"When you feel it's time to set out and start meeting designers and trying on gowns -- then it's time."

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