Your wedding dress journey, from start to finish

How to choose your wedding dress from start to finish

From pinning your fave styles to going to your final fitting, here’s the what to do and when of your wedding gown. 


You’re engaged – YAS. Now is a great time to start your wedding dress Pinterest board and have a flick through wedding mags to get plenty of inspo.

It will help if you have a time of year in mind for your big day or, better still, a confirmed date and venue to help you envisage a style in keeping with your setting.

Keep a note of the styles and designers you’re most drawn to and use this to decide which boutiques to visit first (the designer’s website will often be able to point you to your nearest Scottish stockist).

Don’t forget to check out our online directory at to read customer reviews of Scottish bridal boutiques and find out about in-store events.


Around a year before the big day, hit the shops to try on gowns. Although it’s helpful to go in with an idea of what you’re looking for, try to have an open mind as this is where boutique staff can use their expertise to help you find a dress you’ll look incredible in.

Once ordered, most gowns can take around four to six months to arrive in store. The exception to the rule is if you buy a sample dress, which you’ll be able to take home that day, or if you buy a vintage wedding dress.

Before you buy, ask about the cost of altering your dress, as this is an additional spend that’ll need to be factored in.

Fancy having a bespoke dress designed instead? Now’s the time to seek out a dressmaker to start making initial sketches.

DON’T FORGET… Once you’ve said yes to the dress, you’ll be expected to pay a deposit – usually 25-50% of the total cost of the dress. Buying a sample wedding dress?

You’ll normally have to pay the full amount upfront.


Book in your first wedding dress fitting.

When you’re having measurements taken, remember to take along the shoes and underwear you’ll be wearing on your wedding day (many dresses offer enough support not to require a bra underneath, but do whatever makes you feel most comfortable).


To ensure your dress fits just right, have your final fitting close to the big day so that any last-minute alterations can be made.


It’s time to have your dress dry cleaned. Ask your boutique as most work closely with a trusted dry cleaner throughout the season.

Fancy taking a more charitable route? Some branches of Oxfam are dedicated to selling bridal dresses (while some have wedding departments), or you could donate your dress to Cherished Gowns, a charity that turns wedding gowns into burial outfits for stillborn babies.

EXPERT ADVICE… “Some boutiques will offer an aftercare package, which includes dry cleaning, repairs and boxing of the dresses.” Karen, Anne Priscilla Bridal 


Find out how our lead designer Laura got on when she went shopping for her dream wedding dress in her Bride’s Diary