Wedding and Prom Dress Buying Guide

Finding the right fit: Why you should book a bridal or prom dress fitting

If you can’t find the right wedding dress or don’t know how to properly shop for your dream prom dress then appointment-only, one-to-one dress fittings may be perfect for you

Choosing the right style, colour and fit for your dress

Flexibility is key. Even though you may have envisioned your dream prom dress or wedding dress beforehand, it is important to come into your fitting appointment with an open mind and be willing to try on a variety of gowns or occasion dresses.

Carla Lynch, owner of appointment-only boutique Dress Code Nine near Kelvedon, advises you to ‘go out of your comfort zone’ when trying on a prom dress or bridal dress.

While also considering the location and time of year of your wedding or prom, you should make an effort to ‘try a style or colour you wouldn’t normally wear as you may well be surprised’.

As it’s best to bring family and friends along, they can look for bridesmaid dresses or wedding guest dresses – a great chance to bounce ideas and thoughts off each other.

Is buying a wedding or prom dress online safe?

While the open marketplace of the internet may well give you a large selection of cheap wedding dresses and occasion dresses, some sites are unreliable and there is no guarantee that what you see in an online picture is what you get in real life.

Carla has said that she’s worked with clients who have experienced these exact problems: ‘Customers have come to me where they’ve bought a dress online and it’s completely the wrong material as described, it hasn’t come in the right sizing and it’s completely different to the pictures.’

In a bespoke appointment, you can feel the dress and have your measurements taken to ensure that what you order is precisely your size and what you require.

Can wedding and prom dresses be altered?

The one-on-one approach of bespoke fittings allows your measurements to be taken in a relaxed, hassle-free environment so you can be sure that the dress you order will be the ideal fit and size for you.

Sometimes alterations are needed and the personal nature of appointment-only fittings means you can specify exactly what you need. Dress Code Nine have three seamstresses that work close to their rural boutique and they will make any necessary amendments for the perfect fit.

Carla says: “When I take the measurements I will order the dress in the nearest size that will fit them best, sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes it does require a slight adjustment. If I can’t get it to be perfect then the seamstresses can make slight alterations to make it fit perfectly.”

When you should do a dress fitting

Arranging your fitting as far before your wedding or prom is vital to allow for any delays in delivery or for any size alterations to be made.

As a bride or prom-goer, be prepared to set aside an hour or two for your appointment as this will be plenty of time to cover your measurements, desired size and style and answer any questions you may have.

Appointments at Dress Code Nine typically last 90 minutes and in that time you’ll be able to have refreshments in between trying on as many dresses as you would like.

“The sooner they come to see me, the sooner they can get the perfect dress,” says Carla. “Once they’ve found the perfect dress, the worry is out of the way.

Preparation needed for a dress fitting

Flexibility and the need to have an open mind are once again important but there are a few elements you should consider beforehand. The location of your wedding or prom, in particular, will guide not only your choice of dress but also of your shoes and underwear.

This consideration of location is particularly important to Carla: “Is it abroad or is it in the UK? That could determine whether you go for a heavyweight or a lightweight dress or whether you have to pack it in a suitcase.”

Don’t forget to consider the time of year: as a bride, there may not be much value in looking at summer wedding dresses or thin lace wedding dresses if you’re having a winter wedding.

Bringing along friends and family to the fitting is also advised as these second opinions can be very useful. They may also pick out some wedding dresses or prom dresses for you to try on, again giving you the opportunity to try something you may otherwise not have thought about.

As opposed to a bridal shop, wedding dress shop or prom dress shop, fittings at Dress Code Nine take place in a relaxed, unpressured environment where you and your party are the only ones in the store. There is also parking right outside the boutique’s door, making it accessible for everyone visiting.

All of this means you don’t have to worry about what you wear to the fitting or any other thorough preparation, just simply come to your appointment and try as many dresses as you wish until you find the perfect one.