The Essential Guide to Bridal Wear
Choosing your bridal wear is one of the best parts of wedding planning. Many brides have been dreaming about what they will wear on their wedding day for years! However, it can also be a bit overwhelming. There are many different styles of wedding dresses, from skirt shape, neckline, material, embellishments and so much more.
The search for your perfect bridal look involves understanding what you are actually looking for! Here, we will guide you through all aspects of bridal wear, from wedding dresses to accessories. So, when you go bridal wear shopping, you will have a better understanding of what you are looking for. And you can express it to those at the boutiques!
Want to know something specific? Hop to a section for everything you need to know:
- Top bridal boutiques
- Styles of bridal wear
- Types of wedding dress shapes
- Different wedding dress lengths
- Types of wedding dress necklines
- Bridal wear alternatives
- Different bridal wear fabric
- Types of wedding dress sleeves
- Different wedding dress backs
- Types of wedding dress trains
- Different bridal wear colours
- Types of bridal wear embellishment
- Different bridal accessories
- Where to get bridal wear
Not all bridal wear will fit into these categories. Some will fit into multiple categories! However, you will often find bridal wear described in terms such as these in, for example, magazines, bridal stores or on websites. By understanding these themes, you can decide what theme, or combination of themes, describes your perfect dress. These are some of the most common styles or themes of bridal wear collections.
Bohemian chic style is perfect for those who simply want a more laid-back and relaxed look. This bridal wear tends to be less structured, feature soft fabrics and reflect an effortless beauty and a touch of whimsy. Whether the skirt is fuller at the hips or flows straight down close to the body, the key is comfort and an effortlessly glamorous feel. Also, understated detail, such as floral lace and embroidery, is often an important feature.
Contemporary bridal wear features high-quality fabrics and daring silhouettes, inspired by catwalks. Sleek and sophisticated, this bridal wear is inspired by the latest high-fashion statements. Crepe wedding dresses are the epitome of a modern bride and will make you feel royal and elegant. Curve-hugging silhouettes, understated design, and feminine flourishes come together to create the ultimate modern wedding dresses.
Bridal wear that’s ready for the beach can range from simple and elegant to decorative and flamboyant. However, in general, they are made with lighter fabrics, such as lightweight silk, chiffon or lace. For a casual destination look, looser, easier fits with a few accents are a fantastic combination. For a more traditional look, simpler, fluid shapes are best, paired with loosely woven lace or relaxed embroidery. Essentially, this is bridal wear that can withstand travelling and the weather!
Some bridal wear recreates the glamour of the Hollywood red-carpet, for those who want to feel like an A-lister on their big day. This is all about making a dramatic statement, whether that’s through texture, colour, beading or silhouette. For example, a mermaid or fit and flare silhouette will showcase your body shape to create a classy but sultry silhouette. If you want drama, ruffles or feathers are a statement feature which are sophisticated but also glamorous! For a daring, celeb-inspired look, there are also statement wedding dresses with modern twists. For example, endless colour possibilities and 3D detailing, such as flowers or geometric patterns, make for an eye-catching feature.
Traditional and classically romantic bridal wear is still incredibly popular. This is the more simple, elegant, and refined approach, perfect for a sophisticated classic wedding. They tend to feature clean, structured fabrics often adorned with tasteful bows or lace. Or, the traditional ‘princess’ style of bridal wear often falls into this category. These are bridal dresses with a fitted bodice and a full skirt that starts at the waist and grows in volume as it reaches the floor. The embellishment needs to have a touch of sparkle to reflect the classic fairytale image which could be crystals or diamantes.
If you’re going back in time for your wedding day, then vintage bridal wear tends to fall into two categories, pre- or post-twentieth century. Think tea-length dresses reflecting the 1950s. Full lace gowns, such as those in the traditional category, can often reflect a Victorian or even earlier style of bridal wear. The other category includes the Art-Deco/1920s style, characterised by beading, usually combined with the understated yet stunning straight dress. Another popular vintage style reflects the 1970s. Similar to the boho dresses, these dresses are soft and flowing but exaggerated sleeves and pussy bow necklines.
Wedding dresses come in all shapes and sizes! Here we have a handy guide to the most common wedding dress shapes.
A-Line Wedding Dress
Simply, an A-line dress resembles the letter A! It features a fitted bodice through to the waist with a skirt that is narrower at the top, flaring gently wider toward the bottom. The A-Line can be slim and narrow or it can be quite wide, needing a hoop. However, style is very simple and elegant, with less volume than a ball gown.
Ball Gown/Princess Wedding Dress
A ball gown is a traditional ‘princess’ style wedding dress; think Cinderella! Characterised by a very full skirt, it has a full bodice and a cinched waistline. Ball gown skirts achieve their trademark meringue look when gathered or pleated heavily at the waistline. They are usually worn with a hoop underneath.
Column/Sheath Wedding Dress
The straight or column dress has a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem. This straight or column silhouette tends to hug the body and is fitted closely to the hips before gliding straight to the floor.
Empire Wedding Dress
An empire line wedding dress has a bodice gather just under the bust and fall gently over the hips. Skirts on this type of gown are generally loosely fitting, skimming the body and giving a high-waisted appearance.
Somewhere between an A-line and a mermaid, this dress is quite literally a ‘fit-and-flare’. It features a gradually-flared skirt and a close-fitting bodice that skims the lines of the body, through the hips. The most trumpet wedding gowns begin to flare at about mid-thigh.
Mermaid/Fishtail Wedding Dress
The mermaid skirt is extremely fitted from the chest to the knee before reaching a flair at the base of the skirt below the knee. The fishtail is a variation on this look, the only difference being the presence of what is effectively a short train.
A majority of wedding dresses are the traditional floor-length. However, there are a variety of lengths that are still bridal wear appropriate.
Short Wedding Dress
Perfect for a more casual or destination wedding, short wedding dresses ten to hit the centre of the thigh. However, they don’t always have to be modest and casual! For example, short dresses are often highly decorated with beads, jewels or embroidery. So, short wedding dresses can still look every inch the part while deviating from tradition.
Tea-length Wedding Dress
Perfect for vintage lovers! Commonly associated with the 1950s, these skirts often fall just below the knee. The main plus of a tea length wedding is that it’s comfortable and flexible while still elegant!
Ballerina-length Wedding Dress
Ballerina length is probably the most common after a floor-length dress. This dress falls to about your mid-calf. So, perfect if you want to have a short dress, but don’t want anything too daring!
Floor-length Wedding Dress
The traditional skirt length! Many brides choose long gowns so they can feel like a real princess on their special day. After all, you don’t get to wear a full-length gown that often!
As with the dress shape, wedding dresses can have a variety of necklines. These can be paired with almost any of the skirt shapes. Here is a guide to the most common wedding dress necklines.
Also known as a boatneck, this neckline draws a straight line from shoulder to shoulder in the front, grazing the collarbones. Recently modelled by Meghan Markle at the royal wedding, this vintage-style neckline is conservative, elegant and minimalist.
Currently trending in the fashion world, cowl necklines feature fabric that is draped and folded at the front, creating an elegant, sophisticated look.
A halterneck often features a high panel on the front which then comes together at the back of the neck, leaving the back, shoulders and arms bare. You can add a keyhole detail to this neckline as an extra touch.
Often associated with classic icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, this neckline sees the chest and back are covered with fabric. While this can be the most covered neckline, you don’t have to feel too buttoned-up! Also, illusion details are common in high necklines, which can soften up the sophisticated look.
Illusion refers to any neckline that is created by “sheer” or translucent fabric, such as lace or netting, rather than an opaque material or strap. You can find this in a variety of styles, such as v-necklines, plunging, sweetheart or high necklines.
Also known as a T-shirt neckline, the jewel neckline is slightly rounded, resting above the collarbone and at the base of the neck.
Pretty self-explanatory! With this neckline, one shoulder is bare while the other is covered, either with draped fabric or with one long sleeve. This fashion-forward, asymmetrical look highlights your collar bone and the exposed shoulder.
Off the Shoulder Neckline
This neckline sits below the shoulders, with straps or sleeves on the arms. Effortlessly graceful shows off your upper chest, neck, and back.
The portrait neckline is characterised by a wide, soft scoop from the tip of one shoulder to the tip of the other.
For the more daring bride, a plunging neckline dips low, elongating your torso, and adds a flash of skin. If you want something more conservative or less revealing you could find this look with an illusion neckline.
Queen Anne Neckline
This regal neckline is a high collar in the back with a dipped neckline, usually scoop, v-neck, or sweetheart.
Also known as a “ballerina neckline”, this U-shaped style is often cut low, and occasionally the scoop will continue on the back of the dress. The low, circular neckline accentuates the collarbone and lengthens the neck to create an elongated and sleek silhouette.
A straight neckline is often seen on strapless dresses and provides a little more coverage than a sweetheart neckline.
Often paired with an empire dress, this neckline features an angular silhouette that rests on the points of the shoulders.
Possibly the most common neckline, this features a small plunge in the front in the shape of the top of a heart.
A popular neckline, it is characterised by a plunge in the front shaped like the letter “V”.
Not every bride wants to wear a dress on her wedding day. Your bridal wear should be whatever you envision and feel comfortable in. So, here are a few of the most popular bridal wear alternatives you could explore.
Whether you want to be unconventional or just relaxed, jumpsuits are a perfect choice. They can be simple and elegant or a dramatic statement, available in a range of silhouettes. Whatever your style, jumpsuits are comfortable yet event-appropriate. You can also wear them again, more easily than a wedding dress!
A bridal suit is chic and elegant. From trousers to skirts, classic to modern, bridal suits can suit every taste. Increasing in popularity, bridal suits can be structured and tailored or sleek and slinky. You can choose a variety of different colours, patterns, and materials depending on what statement you want to make.
Bridal Two Pieces
Two-piece bridal wear is a recent trend being embraced by bridal designers. A two-piece bridal outfit gives you the flexibility to change up your outfit throughout your big day. There are so many options out there so you can mix and match bridal bottoms with bridal tops to put together your very own unique bridal look. So, you can pair flouncy skirts with crop tops and bodysuits or luxe sweaters and pretty camis with suit trousers. Multiple looks throughout your wedding days mean you can adapt your outfit from ceremony to dinner to dancing, letting your look match these different settings. Also, a two piece means you can use elements of your bridal wear in different outfits on other occasions!
Bridal wear fabric is actually more complicated than it looks! There might only be a subtle difference between silk and satin, but it is there. And these are just two of the many materials commonly used in bridal wear. Here, we have outlined fabrics you are likely to come across when searching for your bridal wear.
Brocade is an elegant fabric made from silk or synthetic fibres. It is recognisable by the raised designs woven in the fabric which creates a classically ornate effect. This material is stiff but lighter than satin, perfect for structured bridal wear.
Chiffon is a lightweight, sheer fabric made from silk or rayon. It is often used as an overlay or in layers due to its see-through nature. Chiffon creates a delicate, floaty, and soft look.
Crepe is soft and lightweight, made from rayon or silk. It is known for a crinkled or crimped surface. This material is perfect for elegant, figure-hugging silhouettes.
Woven from silk or cotton, lace can take the shape of many different kinds of weaves, including alencon, chantilly, embroidered, eyelet, guipure, honiton, knit, and venise. Most often, lace is used as an overlay or detail. Lace is used to create delicate detailing and intricate embellishments.
Organza is a sheer and lightweight fabric, traditionally made from silk. While delicate, it can hold a more structured silhouette, with a shiny finish and crisp drape. So, it is often used for adding fullness to layered gowns, ball gowns, trains, and veils.
Satin is a popular material for bridal wear due to its versatility. This fabric is heavy and smooth with a lustrous sheen. It is a supportive fabric, perfect for ruched, draped and ballgown styles. Made from silk, there are a variety of types, including Duchess satin, Italian satin, slipper satin, and peach satin.
A classic fabric for bridal wear, silk is timeless and versatile. Known for a muted shine, it comes in a variety of styles, such as silk gazar, silk Mikado, and dupioni.
Taffeta is made from silk or synthetic fibers, with quality increasing with stiffness. This material is light, crisp and can come in almost any colour.
Tulle is characterised by a sheer, open weave similar to netting. It is delicate and airy, yet it often comes in different weights and levels of stiffness. So, it can be used as a gown’s lining and ruched to add structure and volume to a gown.
There are five common types of wedding dress sleeves; straps, capped, short, three-quarter length and full length. However, these different categories have different variations themselves which may influence your bridal wear decision!
Straps can come in a variety of styles. Spaghetti straps are very thin, a timeless and classic style. These are perfect for brides who want something close to the strapless look with a little more support. Or, there are straps that are a little wider, similar to a regular tank top. These straps provide more support and coverage, popular with v-neck and A-line dresses. Sleeveless gowns, often confused with strapless gowns, feature wide straps over the shoulders to hold it in place, providing more coverage than simple straps.
Capped sleeves are very short, attached only to the top of the gown and covering the uppermost portion of the shoulder but with no fabric under the arm. There are a variety of styles available, such as flat, ruffled, fluttered, puffed, all of which add a delicate touch to a wedding dress.
Short-sleeves on a wedding dress will be a similar length to a t-shirt. So, they’ll end about halfway between the shoulder and the elbow. The sleeve will surround the arm completely, and will come in many styles, such as flat and puffed.
Three Quarter Length Sleeves
A three-quarter-length sleeve will fall a few inches below the elbow. Bell sleeves, which are fitted near the shoulder and then dramatically flare out at the bottom edge, are typically three-quarter-length.
Full-length sleeves are an elegant touch to any wedding dress. Options are varied, from tight-fitting and sheath sleeves to flowing bell or bishop sleeves.
Wedding dress backs can be just as interesting and dramatic as the front! Every detail of bridal wear is important, so why not use the back of your dress to make a statement! So, here are some popular backs you might find when exploring bridal wear.
Best paired with an understated front, backless wedding dresses provide an elegant and intricate detail in an unexpected place! This detail adds visual interest to an understated front and is a wonderful surprise for guests who may spend most of the ceremony staring at your back.
If you want a backless dress, but don’t want to feel too exposed, a sheer illusion back will look breathtaking. Often paired with lace tattoo-style embellishments or buttons, illusion backs can create a gorgeous statement.
Often in the style of a v, cut-outs can be a large or small one, accentuating your back as much as you wish. If you choose to have small cutouts, you can have multiple in different shapes, depending on the statement you wish to make. For those who can’t decide if they want an open back or a large cut-out, a keyhole back design may be the perfect compromise. You will get to show a little skin while having coverage along the top of your back.
Traditionally seen on a princess-style dress, luxurious bodice lacing looks classically beautiful and ensures the dress fits like a glove. A lace-up back dress with elegantly simple lacing enhances your shape and keeps your dress secure, while still being comfortable!
Buttons are typically placed along the zip, running down the back of the dress, with elastic loops to close over the zip to create a perfect detailed line. They can be beautifully detailed as well as practical! For example, wedding dress buttons can be satin-covered, crystal, pearl or even beaded.
A train is an extra length of fabric that extends from the back of your wedding dress and trails behind you as you walk. It may be part of your skirt or a detachable piece. Trains come in different styles and lengths, which are suited to different dresses.
A sweep train is the shortest train, usually about six inches longer than the wedding dress skirt. So, it is a subtle way to add detail to a wedding dress skirt. Practical for an outdoor wedding, this style looks perfect with trumpet or mermaid-style gowns.
A court train is similar to the sweep train in that it is a comfortable length, However, it is a little longer, creating a more sophisticated effect. This style extends from the waist rather than the hem of the dress, offering an elegant, flowing look with a touch of grandeur. A court train looks beautiful with mermaid, trumpet, A-line and column/sheath wedding dresses.
The most common train choice, a chapel train is between 12 and 18 inches long and is the perfect blend of elegance and practicality.
A cathedral train is 22 or more inches long, perfect for a more formal or dramatic statement. This style is best paired with a ball gown or A-line dress. However, they require a fair amount of attention! So, you might need to add looking after your train to your bridesmaids’ duties.
A royal or monarch train is fit for a princess! The longest of the trains, this option extends a yard or more on the floor and will definitely require bridesmaid assistance. This train is often seen on royalty, such as Kate Middleton, whose train was nine feet long, or Princess Diana whose train was an incredible 25 feet long! While yours might not reach these dizzying heights, make sure your venue has the space to accommodate this train. Also, you might want to consider a detachable version to allow yourself some movement later on in your wedding, such as for the first dance.
A detachable watteau train is unusual in that it can be considered a combination of a veil and a train. It attaches to the shoulders or upper back of the bodice and can be virtually any length. So, you can essentially wear a cape on your wedding day! Since this type of train is detachable, it’s ideal for destination and outdoor weddings and gives casual wedding gowns some formal flair.
Of course, traditional wedding dresses are white. However, modern bridal wear can come in a variety of colours. Even white comes in different shades! Some colours are more popular than others, but you are almost guaranteed to find the colour you want if you look hard enough. Here we have some of the most common colours for bridal wear.
White Bridal Wear
White bridal wear is the most traditional option. However, they come in a variety of shades. Pure white is the brightest, crispest white possible! It can have blue/ UV violet shimmers in photos and is difficult to pull off, especially if you are fair. Diamond white is a shade below pure white, less bright with a silvery tint. Natural or off-white is a softer and warmer option.
Ivory Bridal Wear
Increasingly popular, ivory bridal wear has a slight tint of cream, which gives it a warmer colour. There are a range of ivory colour names, such as bone, eggshell, almond-white or candlelight. However, they are all ‘sunny’ in appearance and look more golden next to white.
Champagne or Nude Bridal Wear
Champagne features gold undertones and is often used as a lining for a lace or tulle gown. This colour can appear slightly pink or have a more earthy hue, like the colour of light sand. While champagne is lighter, cooler and less vivid, whereas Nude is usually closer to mid tone beige, camel or honey. Nude is also often used as lining, although you can find dresses made entirely from these colours.
Blush Bridal Wear
Blush is becoming an increasingly popular way to add subtle colour to a wedding dress. This colour is a soft pink with subtle hues of grey. Blush is a romantic colour which works well with lace, tulle, chiffon, and organza.
Colourful Bridal Wear
Plenty of other colours can be found in bridal wear. Pink is more saturated than blush, appearing brighter and more colourful. Lavender and purple shades of wedding dresses became very popular in 2018 as one of the major bridal runway trends. These shades offer a slightly more elegant and mature look. Metallic wedding dresses, highlighting gold, silver or bronze are glamorous and popular. Blue, black, red or even green are also options. You can choose soft shades offering a hint of colour or go for a bold statement with a completely colourful dress.
Although you can have a sophisticated, simple outfit, a lot of bridal wear comes with some form of embellishment. Bridal wear embellishment creates different looks and can enhance a bridal look. Here are some common forms of bridal wear embellishment.
Beading is a great addition to simple elegant wedding dresses, often popular with vintage styles. Common options include all over beaded bodice embellishments, beaded illusion necklines or delicate appliques. Beads can be added to the dress randomly or in certain patterns.
Fabric embellishment can come in several forms. Ribbons can come in the form of decorative bows or are often used instead of waistbands. You can even have a colourful ribbon to add a fun touch, perhaps your something blue! There is also edging, either in the form of tassels or lace embroidery. Edging is often seen on the hem of the dress or the bottom of the sleeves.
There are several different types of jewels that are used to embellish a wedding dress. Crystals are a popular choice, as they come in a range of sizes, so you can add or detract sparkle based on your preferences. In addition, crystals come in different shades, such as clear and topaz. Usually, crystals are used for the bodice embellishment. But, the sleeves and skirt adornment with crystals will add more sparkling to the gown. Gems and rhinestones are imitation crystals. They cost less, but can do the same work. Though the gowns with crystals seem to be more refined and stylish, the gems also look good. Also, pearls add a classic, romantic charm to any wedding dress, looking beautiful and timeless, especially on vintage dresses.
Lace or Floral Detail
Appliqué lace refers to various types of lace where the decorative motifs are sewn to fabric such as tulle or netting. This often comes in floral designs. Other floral options include floral beading, colour or 3-D embellishment.
Small or large sequins, depending on the statement you want to make, add a romantic sparkle to any dress. Sequins are often sewn into lace applique, either on the bodice or the skirt.
Bridal wear does not end with the dress! A complete bridal look involves many accessory options, from extras such as veils or cover-ups to essentials such as shoes or lingerie! Proposals Bridal Studio loves adding a personal touch to a bride’s look with accessories: “Elegant, sophisticated or just quirky, we love to personalise your dress to whatever your heart desires. Extra appliqué on your dress where you want it, beautiful sparkling veils with a matching added trim… Endless possibilities!” Here we have the different types of bridal accessories you’ll want to consider.
A bridal sash or belt has practical and decorative purposes. It can help enhance your bridal look while cinching in your waist! Wedding dresses completely transform when a bride adds bridal belts or bridal sashes, whether it glitters with beaded crystals or adds a modern, geometric touch. Bridal belts can be sewn onto the dress or simply tied at the back.
Bridal cover-ups, or jackets, come in many different forms. It largely depends on why you want a cover-up. This could be for aesthetic reasons, religious reasons or practical reasons. So, the choices for bridal cover-ups range from a light and airy shawl to the modest look of a cardigan, caplet, or jacket. A wedding cover-up can also add colour and texture to your outfit or a touch of sparkle and shine, a crocheted detail, sheer sleeves, or crystals and sequins.
Bridal Hair Accessories
Bridal hair accessories are often influenced by your wedding hairstyle and whether you are wearing a veil or not. If you already have a look in mind, speak to your hairdresser about what might go best. If not, you could build your hair around a statement piece. Bridal hair accessories can include hair combs, hairpins, headbands, flower crowns or even tiaras!
Bridal jewellery is the last exquisite detail that helps tie your bridal look together. Keep in mind that your wedding jewellery is an extension of your wedding dress. Match your jewellery to your look, for example, with vintage jewellery or modern pieces.
Bridal lingerie choices are endless. For example, the type of bra you wear underneath your wedding dress will depend on your shape, wedding dress style and preference. Traditional choices for wedding lingerie include bras, stockings, garters, silk robes, underwear, or matching sets.
Bridal shoes for the bride are an integral part of creating a cohesive ensemble for your big day! Whether you choose classic heels, comfortable flats, or statement boots, your bridal shoes offer an opportunity to show off your personal style and have a little fun.
A wedding veil is a classic choice, often enhancing her wedding dress by complementing the lace or embroidery. However, there are many different styles and lengths of veil. Your veil will help shape your style on the big day, so naturally, you’ll want something that balances the vibes of your dress without overshadowing it. If you’re hoping to add hair accessories to your look, let your bridal stylist know what you have in mind so she can help you choose the right veil style that will suit your accessories.
A cathedral-length wedding veil is the longest veil type, creating a regal look. This veil will reach well past the end of the wedding dress, often measuring 120-144 inches in length.
A chapel or church-length veil is slightly shorter than cathedral wedding veils. This veil is often chosen by brides who want the effect of a train without actually having one on their dress. A chapel-length veil often sweeps across the floor behind the bride, extending slightly past her dress and measuring somewhere between 90 and 110 inches.
A waltz or ballet veil falls between your calf and ankle and measures somewhere between 54 and 60 inches.
Perhaps the most popular option, fingertip veils all just beyond the bride’s hip. They’re often single-tiered, sheer and measure around 40 inches in length.
An elbow veil is incredibly versatile, falling gracefully over the bride’s shoulders to her elbows. Slightly shorter than the fingertip veil, elbow wedding veils typically measure 25 inches in length.
A shoulder-length wedding veil falls to your shoulders before being cut off. They’re usually around 20 inches in length and are a great option for brides who want something understated which won’t compete with their dress.
A blusher or wedge veil falls over the face and ends as the dress starts. Since it covers the face, it’s often pulled back by the bride’s partner at the start of the ceremony to reveal her face.
Bird Cage Veil
A birdcage or bandeau veil is the shortest option, skimming the nose or falling to the jawline. This style is usually made of a net or lace.
Bridal boutiques are the most traditional place to shop for bridal attire. The traditional boutique has a curated selection from different labels. The best shops pair each bride with a dedicated stylist for an hour-long appointment, with no more than two brides in the store at a time. Before you make an appointment, check what dresses a bridal boutique carries and see if they meet the look and style you’re after. Also, check the price range and the sizes. If the majority of the dresses aren’t in your budget, you can save yourself the heartache and go elsewhere.
Bridal wear sizing can be difficult. There are designers who include or specialise in plus size brides, but most salons have a bridal 10 or 12, which is equivalent to a 6 or 8. If you need a bigger size, ask if it can be called in ahead of time. Or you could consider a custom or altered dress to ensure your bridal wear fits you perfectly. Make sure you look into all the options for where you can get your bridal wear. For example, bridal boutiques, high-street shops, online, rental, sample sales, second-hand and charity boutiques. Then, be prepared for the post-purchase process of fittings and alterations. Don’t forget that during coronavirus, bridal wear shopping might be different from what you imagined. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find your dream bridal wear!
Looking for somewhere to find your dream bridal wear? Here we have our top bridal boutiques so you can discover the perfect place near you to find your perfect bridal wear.
Location: Witney, Oxfordshire.
Designers: Sincerity, Rebecca Ingram, Maggie Sottero, Sophia & Camilla and Kenneth Winstone
Proposals Bridal Studio is dedicated to making you look and feel wonderful on your special day. They have a fantastic, wide range of bridal wear, including many from the leading designers. Elegant, sophisticated or just quirky, Proposals Bridal Studio loves to personalise your dress to whatever your heart desires. From extra appliqué on your dress where you want it to beautiful sparkling veils with a matching added trim, there are endless possibilities. With bridal wear available in sizes 2-30, Proposals Bridal Studio is sure to make your wedding dreams come true.
One bride said about Proposals Bridal Studio: “I had the most amazing experience at Proposals! The ladies were all so welcoming and friendly… They helped pick out things I didn’t even know I wanted and helped me find my dream dress! They really listened to the little alterations I was hoping for and came up with some amazing suggestions as to how to really make the dress unique and personal to me and our wedding. I cannot wait to wear the dress on the big day and would not hesitate to recommend Proposals to any bride looking for her one-of-a-kind gown.”
Location: Halesowen, Birmingham,
Designers: Enzoani, Mori Lee, House of Mooshki, Justin Alexander, Ronald Joyce, Sottero and Midgley, Eddy K, Mikaella, Wendy Makin, Randy Fenoli Bridal, Badgley Mischka, Modeca, Rebecca Ingram, Riki Dalal, Lillian West, Phil Collins Bridal, AIRE Bridal, Nicole, Eternity Bride.
Here at TDR Birmingham, we not only have the most fabulous dresses but our service is absolutely unrivalled! The Dressing Rooms (TDR) is a friendly down to earth store with a can-do attitude. We have the most amazing dresses from all around the world and thousands of happy brides. After 12 years’ experience in the bridal industry, we know what it takes to make every single bride’s experience unique, personal and memorable. We have over 400 designer wedding dresses in the store, with new dresses arriving all year round. Also, we keep up to date with modern trends and we know that we have dress styles to suit every bride no matter what shape, size or budget.
We don’t just sell wedding dresses, that’s the easy bit! We look after our brides every single step of the way, having fun, sharing special times and creating lifelong memories for you to look back a treasure. Your wedding dress has to be something you feel as well as look fabulous in. There’s no hard sell, no sales targets, no commission, just a whole bunch of lovely ladies who love what they do.
All our alterations are done in-house, ensuring the perfect fit. We know that finding your wedding gown is not just a process, it is a journey. We make this journey one which you will treasure, cherish and remember for the rest of your life and here at TDR we hold your hand and guide you through the whole journey.
One bride said about TDR Bridal: Absolutely loved my experience buying my dress at the Dressing Rooms! Liv made me feel so comfortable straight away and throughout and made me feel amazing in the dress I chose! Their service was incredible from start to finish and I’d recommend them to anyone and everyone!
Location: Wallingford, Oxfordshire
Designers: Alice Temperley, Lyn Ashworth, Jenny Packham, Alan Hannah, Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero, Hayley Paige, Jesus Piero, Sassi Holford
Bridal Reloved is a multiple award-winning bridal boutique offering new, sample and immaculate pre loved, high-end designer dresses all at half the RRP tag! They offer exclusive, 2-hour appointments styled entirely around you. Bridal Reloved knows how hard it can be to get the bridal party together. So, there are evening and Sunday appointments available too, all free of charge.
They also have an amazing bridal seamstress who loves nothing more than customising dresses so you can have a gorgeous, unique wedding dress without having to compromise in any way. Prices and sizes are designed to suit everyone as Bridal Reloved is dedicated to finding a dream dress for every bride.
One bride said about Bridal Reloved: I can’t thank Lee and Amanda enough for all of their help with trying, buying, and altering my wedding dress. I had a lovely experience at Bridal Reloved – Lee is very welcoming and reassuring. I went in a very nervous bride but had the best time trying on dresses. Lee knows her stuff…I actually ended up going back and buying the first dress she suggested I try. The detail and care that Amanda put into the alterations were fantastic. She created a unique dress that I absolutely loved wearing. Thank you, ladies. I can’t recommend them enough.
Location: Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes, and actually cover the whole of the UK. We have brides travel to us from all over, including Scotland and Wales!
Designers: Phoenix Gowns, Bianco Evento, LiRi Bridal, Tiffanys, Millie May, Special Day, Richard Designs, Paul Zeni, British Bridal, Lou Lou Curve.
New Beginnings Bridal is a family run Bridal Boutique based in the beautiful, historic town of Newport Pagnell. Our aim is to provide affordable luxury and an unbeatable experience to every bride, no matter your budget, size, personal style, orientation etc! We carefully select our designers for their quality, design, structure and price. By doing so, we can bring you amazing quality, designer dresses and accessories for less than you expect. We stock stunning, fresh and unique designs, so you have something special and completely ‘you’ for your special day.
Unlike a lot of boutiques, we carry our samples in a variety of sizes to ensure ALL brides are able to try on dresses. We aren’t a ‘plus size’ boutique, we are an ‘all size’ boutique!
One bride said about New Beginnings: Rhian is truly a bridal gown angel. NOTHING was too much trouble and she made me feel completely at ease during my many MANY appointments (most indecisive person in the world here!) She truly listened to all of my wants, needs & concerns and gave me so much helpful advice whilst never ever pushing me into a decision. I honestly felt like I was choosing a gown with a friend. She has gowns to suit every size, shape, style and budget. Would 100% recommend New Beginnings Bridal to anyone
Location: Bicester, Oxfordshire
Designers: Rasha Kashou
Rasha Kashou is a bespoke bridal wear design service where designs are modern, timeless and always represent the individual’s own style & personality, creating a wedding look that is unique only to you using expertise and tried & tested methods to guide you through the process.
Other services include accessories, bridesmaid outfits, and a tonal matching service where we will match illusion tulle/lining to your own skin tone. Book your free consultation today.
One bride said about Rasha Kashou Couture: When a date for the wedding was set, I had no doubt in my mind as to who would be in charge of creating my full wedding look. I trusted fully in Rasha’s talent and skill and was incredibly excited to have her work on my wedding dress, veil and shoes. I owned ‘old’ plain satin shoes that had a lot of sentimental value to me, and Rasha suggested adding lace to them to coordinate with the lace on my wedding dress. I was thrilled with the end result and now these shoes mean even more to me today. I was equally thrilled with my dress and veil. The dress fitted perfectly, the level of detail of the lace and beading was outstanding. Rasha’s workmanship is to the highest standard. My wedding was an exceptionally special day and I felt truly special as a bride.
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Designers: Eternity Bridal, Art Couture, Richard designs, Emma Bridals, Bianco Evento, Rainbow Club plus our very own Posy & Pearl Brand.
Posy and Pearl is a beautiful bridal boutique based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. They offer a stunning range of wedding dresses from a variety of leading designers. Also, Posy and Pearl are able to cater to all your wedding needs, not just bridal wear! For example, they can offer selections for bridesmaids, flower girls, or mother of the bride. There are also shoes that can be dyed, hats and fascinators, belts and all accessories including in house created bespoke headpieces and jewellery to match.
One bride said about Posy and Pearl: Beautiful shop and Donna is friendly and knowledgeable. Highly recommend a visit if you’re looking for a wedding/bridesmaid dress or accessories.
Location: Bicester, Oxfordshire.
Designers: Madi Lane Bridal, Essence of Australia, Kenneth Winston and Maggie Sottero
Butterfly Bridal is a beautiful luxury award-winning bridal boutique located in Bicester, Oxfordshire. Established for 10 years providing a 5* customer service experience to brides when choosing the dress of their dreams. Partnering with lead bridal designers we offer 150+ gowns in our collection, from boho style to traditional gowns, we have a gown for all brides. Our main collection @ £1,100 – £2,500. Our “Take me home today” (sale) gown collection @ £395 – £1,200. Book your exclusive appointment to choose your dream dress & join the Butterfly Bridal family. “Where Brides arrive as strangers & leave as friends”.
One bride said about Butterfly Bridal Boutique: I visited Butterfly Bridal this weekend with a very strong idea of the dress that I wanted. Rach & Meg gave us the warmest welcome and were amazing from start to finish! Meg made sure I tried on various different dresses and styles before I tried the one that I had my eye on. Even after I tried THE dress and loved it she suggested I tried one more just to be sure.
I left feeling so sure of my decision and so in love with my dream dress.
Location: Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire
Designers: SAVIN London, Stephanie Allin, Lillian West
At White Lace & Butterflies we are all about the experience and believe that each and every bride deserves nothing but the best whilst choosing her wedding dress which is the most important dress of her life. We strive to offer a personal and individual bridal service with a fresh and honest approach in finding you your dream wedding dress. From the moment you walk into our Buckinghamshire Bridal Boutique, we want you to have fun. It should be an enjoyable and easy-going experience, with absolutely no pressure and most importantly an opportunity to decipher which styles suit you and eliminate bridal styles that don’t. We are a family run wedding dress shop and this of course only adds to our passion and love for finding our girls their dream wedding dress. We are so proud of what we do and love every second of it and this is reflected in our 5* reviews from our brides and their loved ones.
Our wedding dresses are meticulously handpicked by us, we never stock a gown that we haven’t seen in the flesh and are passionate about our choices. Our Buckinghamshire bridal boutique offers wedding dresses to suit everyone’s taste, from handmade couture British bridal wear to elegant and beautiful ‘boho’ wedding dresses. We have a particular passion for British bridal design and work closely with our fabulous British designers, ensuring total perfection for our brides. Our boutique is currently filled with stunning collections from six fantastic designers and all our dresses can be found on our website.
One bride said about White Lace & Butterflies: If you are looking for your dream dress then don’t pick one until you have been to see Amy at White Lace and Butterflies. We have spent weeks looking for “the one” in and around Buckinghamshire but our experience with White Lace and Butterflies was like no other. Amy, thank you so so much for the time and effort spent with my daughter and I, she looks absolutely stunning in her dress. It’s perfect. You really do know your brides and we are so grateful for your expertise, guidance and advice. Shopping for a wedding dress is both exciting and terrifying but you have made it so much easier and the most enjoyable experience. You get a feeling like no other when you walk into your shop, (and trust me, we’ve been in a few!) nothing is too much trouble, you’re not pushy, just genuinely lovely and passionate about what you do. That passion cannot be “trained” into a person and I think that’s what sets you apart from the rest. Plus…you have a beautiful shop (that smells amazing) in a beautiful village. We are so looking forward to our wedding journey with you both.
Location: Ashtead, Surrey
Designers: Enzoani, Sophia Tolli, Blue by Enzoani, Martin Thornburg, Romantica, Enchanting, Etoile, House of Nicolas.
My name is Lorraine and I am the owner of Brides Visited in Ashtead, Surrey. Our team of three, Tracy, Helen and I have been here now for over 20 years. We work hard to give the best service we can to our brides and customers. There is a sign in our shop; “Enter as Strangers and Leave as Friends” and we strive to make this happen.
We know what will look good on you such as the right dress for your body shape. After a very short time into your appointment, we also get to know your personality and your confidence levels. Do you like a bit of sparkle, lace or satins? Or are you at the beginning of your journey and want to see what is right for you? This, along with budget and location, helps us to find the right dress for you.
We know what we have here on our rails so we can show you gowns that tick your boxes. We joke that there are not many businesses where if the clients cry then you know you have got it right. One of the things we often say to our brides is to be brave. Be braver than you have ever been when buying a wedding dress. Think slightly outside the box, you want the wow factor, you want to look the best you have ever looked, you want to feel confident but most of all you want to feel beautiful. But, don’t change you.
Bridal shops like us are here to help and it gives us great pleasure when our brides-to-be say “Yes to the Dress.” So put yourselves into the hand of the professionals and book an appointment with Brides Visited, where the magic happens!
One bride said about Brides Visited: The ladies at Brides Visited were absolutely incredible. They suggested styles and guided me perfectly whilst letting me make my own decisions. Without their expert knowledge about dresses, I would never have chosen my wedding dress because I was looking in completely the wrong direction. I am so thankful to the ladies for listening to me and finding me the dress of my dreams! Their range is stunning and the customer service is impeccable. So good we went back for my mum and now have her beautiful ensemble including a hat! The in house tailoring service was quick and of the highest quality- we are both thrilled! 3 weeks to go and one very happy bride and mother of the bride.
Location: Bicester, Oxfordshire.
Designers: Stella York, ‘Blue’ by Enzoani, ‘Beautiful’ by Enzoani, La Sposa by San Patrick, Dando – London.
Maddy and the team at Bicester Bridal always go above and beyond to make choosing your wedding dress an extra special experience. Visit one of the largest bridal boutiques in the area to find a beautiful and varied collection of stylish dresses by leading designers. Choose from the very latest styles in spacious and comfortable surroundings while our friendly and fully trained stylists assist you every step of the way. We look forward to meeting you and hearing your ideas!
One bride said about Bicester Bridal: Maddy & the team are so warm & welcoming, I put my trust in them and so glad I did! The dress I ended up choosing for my wedding day was recommended by the team, not one I had chosen to try on – but I’m so glad I did! They knew what would suit me and I fell in love straight away. I ordered my dress. shoes and veil plus my bridesmaid dresses. such a great service and stress-free experience.
Location: Erdington, Birmingham
Designers: Ronald Joyce, Victoria Jayne & Sofia Bianca
Lula Ann Bridal is a boutique dedicated to making you welcome, relaxed, supported and inspired during your wedding dress shopping experience. We would love to share your bridal journey with you and, hopefully, find your dream gown together. Lula Ann Bridal doesn’t do pressure sales, we do honesty; that’s what we feel works for us! We have the most amazing and diverse collection of gowns, from our little gem of a salesroom to the couture lounge full of one-off pieces. We have on-site luxurious alterations studios and neighbouring shops catering to other members of your bride tribe!
One bride said about Lula Ann Bridal: I got married on the 12th August this year and cannot thank Lula Ann Bridal enough, for helping me pick the dress of my dreams. I am not a typical woman, I do not really enjoy shopping and the thought of trying on lots of dresses, in order to pick the most important dress of my life, was daunting, to say the least. I entered your shop feeling stressed, excited, sick, overwhelmed, and anxious. After trying on a few dresses and been supported by my wonderful bridesmaids and your amazing staff, I found my dress at ease. What I anticipated to be a stressful experience was one that I really enjoyed, thanks to all of you at Lula Ann. Unfortunately, right before my wedding, I broke my ankle. The staff was supportive, encouraging and accommodating, with dates in order to make alterations to the dress, at such short notice. Thank you to you all from the bottom of my heart for your well wishes, comfort, and understanding. You may not know this but you made my whole experience a magical one. I will most certainly recommend you to others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Designer: Susie Grist Couture
I am a bespoke wedding dressmaker working form my home studio based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire where I create a relaxed and friendly experience to help guide you through the process of having a bespoke wedding dress made from the initial design consultation to choosing the fabric and all the fittings and alterations. By the end of the process, we will have created an absolutely stunning and unique gown to reflect your style and personality, so you feel confident on your special day.
One bride said about Susie Grist Couture: Susie has been working on my wedding dress design for my summer wedding, and the whole process from initial consultation, design, fabric choices, and fittings has been a fabulous experience. Susie has listened to what I wanted – even though I wasn’t quite sure – and made great suggestions when I’ve dithered, and I can’t wait to wear the finished design in July. Would 100% recommend Susie.
Location: Axbridge, Somerset
Designers: Justin Alexander, Essense of Australia, Paloma Blanca, Adriana Alier (Rosa Clara), Dessy, Richard Designs and Randy Fenoli.
Rookery Bridal is an independently owned Boutique situated in Rooksbridge between the towns of Burnham on Sea and Weston Super Mare in Somerset. Owner Sarah has many years of experience within the bridal industry and for her, the Rookery Bridal experience is all about customer service. Our aim at Rookery Bridal is to provide our brides with a beautiful setting, a relaxed atmosphere and our knowledge and experience to help them find their perfect gown.
The journey to finding a wedding dress can sometimes be quite daunting, or even stressful. We want to dispel these fears and make our brides feel as comfortable as possible, allowing them to make the right choice of gown. We do not restrict our brides in terms of how many gowns they can try on. We also can tailor the timing of your appointment, so it allows you to spend as much time as you need with us. Perhaps an evening? We are also happy to meet our brides for as many consultations they need to find ‘The One’.
Our Designers allow us to offer a comprehensive range of gowns to suit all shapes, styles and budgets. We fully appreciate that an individual’s requirements, financial or personal, in terms of their purchase and we do our best to ensure that we can offer every bride that special experience irrespective of their need to be cautious or prudent.
Rookery Bridal Boutique is committed to finding every bride exactly what she is looking for. If you do not live locally to us, there is no need to worry! Here at Rookery Bridal, we also can offer you a virtual appointment. Virtual appointments can sometimes be very useful for a bride to ask as many questions as she needs and get that reassurance before attending a consultation. Why not try it out for yourself? We hope to see you very soon so we can help you find your dream gown.
One bride said about Rookery Bridal Boutique: I’d just like to say how much myself and my bridal party loved our experience with you last week, thank you so much for being so accommodating for such a large group and also for making me feel at ease and like nothing was any trouble! I’d also like to say how beautiful your shop is and how all the dresses are all so stunning! I’m so glad I chose Rookery Bridal for my dress! Sarah was dressing me and was so lovely throughout with absolutely no pressure and at no point did I feel at all rushed and I tried on several dresses and some twice! I now have purchased the most beautiful dress from Rookery and I couldn’t be happier! Would 1000% recommend this lovely boutique! I just knew before I even entered this shop I would find my dress here and I did!
Location: Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Designers: Sassi Holford, Suzanne Neville, Jesus Peiro, Charlie Brear and Made with Love
At Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique, we like to spoil our clients. Regardless of where they are in their journey, we want them to feel proud to be an Ellie Bride and raving about their wonderful experience. The Oxfordshire Ellie Sanderson Boutique is located in beautiful Woodstock close to Blenheim Palace. Our sister boutique is located in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
Ellies’ Philosophy is simple, she truly believes in offering brides a memorable experience and offers a fabulous collection of dresses that excite her clients. It is central to all that she does. Blending the best of British designers with the latest new and up-and-coming labels from around the globe, Ellie is scrupulously selective. She only chooses to work with the very best designers and those she can forge a personal, meaningful relationship. These great relationships mean that Ellie can offer her brides a truly individual experience and look, with an unparalleled choice of bespoke changes. Add to that a huge focus on providing a personal experience for each bride that walks through the door and you have a total winner!
One bride said about Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique: I am so glad I walked into the Ellie Sanderson boutique in Woodstock yesterday!!! I had read the reviews on here that said they were miracle workers, well they are!! I picked the dresses I would like to try on and they were all lovely, and Ruby picked one that she thought would be a good choice. The minute I tried on the dress she had chosen I just knew that it was THE DRESS. I would recommend any bride to go, Ellie and Ruby are so lovely, down to earth and I never once felt under any pressure which was something I was worried about because I had never been wedding dress shopping before, I had no idea what to expect. In terms of the current COVID situation, I felt really safe everything is spotless, both Ellie and Ruby wore masks. They also have a stand to hold your phone video chat with family/friends and that for me was a really good experience. My sister said it was just like being there! You can bring a guest with you but due to travel restrictions, I wasn’t able to. I found parking really easily there is a free car park behind the fire station and even on a sunny Saturday afternoon I easily found a spot. I said yes to that dress (thanks to Ruby’s expert eye) and I was told they do everything for me from here on in! So I don’t even need to worry about a thing, what more could I ask for. Please go brides, you will be so glad that you did.
Check out even more fantastic bridal boutiques in your area or, if you’re still looking for bridal wear inspiration, browse through our extensive collection of wedding dresses from top designers or take a look at our dedicated Pinterest board for this Essential Guide.
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