All about finding my wedding dress: my experiences shopping for a bridal gown!

In this blog I will take you along in the search for my wedding dress*. How did I found my  wedding dresses fit, how does the fitting of bridal gowns go and how did I find beautiful wedding shoes which were not white! Finally, I give some tips for when you are going to try on wedding dresses!


Choosing a wedding dress

Yes, it worked, I searched, found and wore my bridal gown and would not have wanted any other one! But before I was so radiant in that beautiful dress during our wedding weekend in France, it was a quite a big search. Or well, it actually went pretty quickly. And yes, the cliché is true (for the most part): when I had my wedding dress on (even before I had my wedding dress on) I knew this was going to be the one. But let’s not get ahead of the facts. It started with a completely blank mindset and I had no idea what kind of wedding dress I wanted.

Help me find a wedding dress: Pinterest!

And then what do you do? You go on the internet and look on Pinterest. Or actually, my friends looked on Pinterest and sent all kinds of different wedding dresses asking if they were the ones for me. I wasn’t really into it that much myself in the beginning. Where many girls dream about their wedding and wedding dress from an early age, I hadn’t thought about it for a second. But when the first contours of our wedding weekend in France were slowly sketched in May 2020 and I had been receiving wedding dresses for weeks, I opened Pinterest.

About half an hour later, despondent and overwhelmed, I closed Pinterest again. After an overload of white, glitter, lace, satin and huge drags, I really didn’t know what to do anymore. All those dresses didn’t feel like me. I didn’t want anything figure hugging, I didn’t want glitter, stones or lace. What I was looking for seemed almost non-existent: a simple wedding dress, classic, romantic and without fuss.

In the weeks that followed, I sometimes reopened Pinterest. Looking for a bridal brand that made classic dresses without being some kind of ballroom dress. After a while I came across the Spanish brand Jesus Peiro, where I finally saw a few dresses that got me excited. Dresses that were classic, without being boring. I saved three dresses on my phone as an example for when we went to a bridal shop.

Wedding dress shopping

If there is anyone who knows me very well, and understands what suits me and what doesn’t, it’s my mom. She was the one who had to be there on bridal gown shopping sprees. Because of corona, I couldn’t bring more than one person so the choice was easy. On a rainy Wednesday morning, we started at the Dutch bridal shop Ann & John located in Eindhoven.

I chose this bridal shop to go to first as my parents live nearby. That seemed like a good place to start my search. And that turned out to be a good choice. I may not have found my dress here, but the staff was nice and down to earth.

Fit different types of wedding dresses

The lady who helped us listened to my wishes and indicated that (as I already thought), it would be good to try on some other types of dresses. It often happens that a bride thinks she wants one thing and ends up with something completely different. So I tried on dresses with lace, dresses with rhinestones, dresses that were figure hugging, boheimian dresses and large princess dresses. And that was good, it was a confirmation for me that these dresses were indeed not my thing. The pair of classic dresses were beautiful but certainly didn’t have a wow effect and so two hours later we were outside again. Without a dress, but with a better idea of ​​what I was looking for.

In the afternoon we also visited the outlet store of Ann & John at another location in Eindhoven. We didn’t succeed there either, but we did see dresses with a very attractive price tag (500-800 euros per dress).

A bad experience at a bridal shop

The second fitting session was scheduled a month later. This time in Amsterdam at the popular bridal shop I Do I Do. This store is chic, has good marketing on Instagram and is more expensive than for example Ann & Johns. But more importantly, this is where Jesus Peiro was sold, the only brand whose dresses I found fit what I was looking for.

Unfortunately, it was not a nice experience. The lady who helped us was pushy, dresses were brought that went above my budget and the price was kept secret. I don’t want to be too negative and go into it deeply, but actually I already found my wedding dress here. However, something wasn’t right. The skirt looked completely different from pictures I had seen and just wasn’t as pretty. This was, denied, and it was again stated that only today the dress had a specific discounted price. Intuitively, my mother and I felt that it wasn’t right, and we decided not to buy anything. And how happy I am about that. Yes, we walked out of the store with a bad feeling, but that intuition turned out to be correct… Hopefully this was just bad luck, and other girls have far better experiences at I Do I Do.

I found my wedding dress!

After this unpleasant experience, I called two other stores that sold the Jesus Peiro brand: Covers in Utrecht and Look of Love in Bergen op Zoom (both Dutch cities). They both told me what the skirt of the dress looked like and the lady from Look of Love was even kind enough to make a video of the dress on a fitting dummy. And guess what: the skirt was indeed different from the one we had seen at I Do I Do, so our intuition was right.

I would have loved to have gone to Bergen op Zoom because Angelique, the lady from Look of Love, was so nice, but because of the distance we decided to check out Covers first. Even though I had this dress in my head from the very beginning, maybe it wasn’t the one at all.

Saying yes to the dress

And so on a summer day we visited the Covers store in Utrecht. This time I was allowed to come with two people, so I asked my father. People were surprised by that, because fathers don’t often come along to a fitting session, but it was so nice that he was there.

After trying on some other dresses first, I stepped into “my dress”. After Delia, the nice lady who helped us, tied my hair up nicely and put a veil on me, I showed the dress to my parents. No, there were no tears, but it felt good right away. This was my dress! It was exactly what I was looking for: classic but romantic. Due to the unique fabric of the body, absolutely not boring. And the tulle of the skirt makes it feel as light as a feather, perfect for our French outdoor wedding.

It was a special moment: with champagne and a Polaroid photo to capture the moment. Because I want to have the dress adjusted in the form of a ribbon at the waist instead of the original (somewhat frumpy) bow, the seamstress immediately came by to find the right ribbon. The rest of the adjustments will be made in March 2021 when I have the first fitting session.


The fitting sessions of my wedding dress

This blog was written at different times in 2020 and 2021. Since it initially looked like we were going to get married in June, the first fitting session was planned for March 2021. Due to corona, our wedding was postponed to September and I am finally ready at the end of June try on for the first time for the fitting session.

The first fitting

In the middle of the summer I’m at Covers in Utrecht with friends Susie, Nicole and my parents. So nice to finally try on the dress after almost a year and to show it to my friends. The fitting actually goes very quickly. I put on the dress with the help of a different shop lady this time. Once outside the fitting room, I show the dress and we have a moment all together. Then the seamstress comes and she finishes the dress. The bottom is cut so that it comes just above the ground and the body is made slightly tighter. 45 minutes later we are outside again. A lot faster than expected. I am now being told that I am not supposed to lose weight or gain weight in the next three months, because the dress is now really made to measure.

The second fitting + picking up the dress

The last fitting also goes very quickly. This takes place two weeks before our wedding and this time my parents are with us again and my mother-in-law is also there. The nice lady Melanie is helping us this time at Covers. I put on the dress, my shoes and my wedding jewelry to see how it all fits together. The dress fits perfectly and it’s so nice to see myself “all dressed up” now.

I go for a practice walk down the aisle with Dad supposedly, Mom and I get some tips on how to put the dress on and then the dress disappears safely in its cover.

Tip: be aware that having a wedding dress dry cleaned is very expensive. After the honeymoon, I immediately took the dress to the dry cleaners. The cost of this: 100 euros. Not cheap, but online I read that it is much more expensive in other cities. So keep this in mind. Friends have done this themselves with green soap.


How does an appointment in a bridal shop work?

Something I hadn’t the faintest idea about beforehand was how it actually goes, such a wedding dress shopping session. I had read everything online including a lot of conflicting information. For example, I sometimes read that you were absolutely not allowed to take pictures and elsewhere I read that it was no problem. And now, four bridal shops later, I can tell you that a bridal gown fitting session is different in every shop. But there are some similarities:

Wedding dress shopping: what does it look like.

Usually you make an appointment in advance at a bridal shop for a certain time slot. You indicate how many people you will bring  and what your budget is. You will then arrive at the store at the agreed time where an employee will ask you a number of questions. Often you have your own space where the people you have brought can watch how the dresses fit you. Based on what you tell the bridal shop assistant and any examples you show, she goes into the store, looking for dresses for you. It is often not the intention that you go and look between the racks yourself, although sometimes you can if you ask. You will usually try on between six and eight dresses in a two-hour session.

Covers trouwjurk gevonden

Trying on wedding dresses

In general, the store employee helps you with the dresses, but during corona it sometimes happened to us that my mother had to do this due to mandatory distance. Do you already know which shoes you are going to wear, take them with you, if not, the store often has fitting shoes.

Tip: wear skin-colored and seamless underwear. This is least distracting when you try on a tight dress, for example.

Once out of the fitting room, look at the dress and indicate what you like and don’t like. Sometimes you will also try on a veil, to  paint a complete picture. At Ann & Johns we were allowed to take pictures, at I do I do, this was strictly prohibited. So this depends on the store.

How far in advance should you buy your wedding dress?

When you find your dress, you often make a deposit on the spot and plan a follow-up fitting session. Please note that some dresses have to be ordered and have up to eight months delivery time. I started my search for a wedding dress about 13 months in advance and found my dress 10 months before the wedding.CR Ceremonie 009 websize

Other bridal shops in The Netherlands

I visited four stores in total. Below are a few other bridal shops in The Netherlands I’ve considered but haven’t been to for my own wedding dress.

  •  Look of Love in Bergen op Zoom. This is a wonderful store with many different brands. In the end I didn’t come here for my own dress, but I did when my friend Michelle was getting married. Angelique, the owner is warm and friendly and has a wide collection of dresses in my style. In addition, she likes to think along with you and you can do a total look experience here. This means there is a make up artist and hair dresser who will do you hair and make up for free. And you will be given jewelry to try on. This will give you a better idea of ​​what the overall picture will look like on your wedding day.
  • La Bella Blanca in Zwolle. This store has lavish dresses in the slightly higher price range. You will find the Israeli brand Riki Dalal and several Eva Lende dresses here.
  • Wild At Heart in Nijmegen. Are you crazy about the very modern or bohemian look? Then Wild at Heart is the place to try on a wedding dress. This lovely shop focuses on Australian brands and has dresses in a high price range.

How did I find my bridal shoes?

Yes, now you may have thought, okay, so the dress was purchased 10 months before the wedding, then it will be quiet in the following months. But no, none of that! Right after I found my dress, I started looking for shoes. Why the rush? Because I would already need shoes during the first fitting session in March and it was almost autumn when I bought my wedding dress. I don’t want white wedding shoes, so I have to rely on the summer collections with sandals and pumps in light colours. And they quickly disappear from the shops in the fall.

The reason I don’t want white and real bridal shoes? Well firstly because I don’t like the white satin bridal shoes. Secondly, you only wear the wedding dress once, I want to be able to wear those shoes more often and that is only possible if they are not real bridal shoes. And thirdly, all products that contain the word “wedding or bride” are three times as expensive anyway, regardless of the quality. Bridal shoes are ridiculously expensive while summer pumps or sandals don’t have to be!

My beige bridal shoes

I ordered light sandals with different heel heights from different stores. They all have a block heel, because a stiletto heel doesn’t seem very useful to me on the pebbles and grass at our location. Most are beige or nude in color, but there is also a pair of lavender blue shoes that are very cute. In the end I kept two pair of sandal shoes. One is suede, the other leather. Both shoes are very comfortable and are also fairly priced due to the sale. And so I decide to keep them both, if I want to alternate that is possible and because they are the same height, it has no consequences for the length of my wedding dress.


What accessories did I wear on my wedding day?

Besides a dress I wore a few accessories. Here’s an overview:

Veil:

Yes, I went for a very simple veil (2.5 meters long) with only a satin edge. It fits nicely with my dress and has a handy clip to tuck it into my hair bun.

Tip: veils can be very expensive. I ended up buying my veil from Ann & Johns because it was much cheaper there than other bridal shops.

Tip 2: Make sure your veil is no longer than your wedding dress train. Otherwise it will snag everywhere and believe me, that is not nice, every time these tugs on your head.

Bridal Jewelry:

  • Earrings: I ordered my pearl earrings from Rosalia an online store. I also like the earrings from Maison Sabben, but these very expensive and a bit less subtile.
  • Bracelets: I wore four narrow gold bracelets. One bracelet was an heirloom of Ries’s mother. In addition, I had two bracelets from Isabel Bernard (given by my parents and Ries). And finally I wore a bracelet from Vedder & Vedder which is equal to the ones my friends Susie and Nicole have.
  • Rings: in addition to my pearl ring (given from my parents) I naturally wore my engagement ring and wedding ring.

Tip: bring hair ties, safety pins (baby variant in white) and possibly magnets. I was very worried about the train of my dress for the opening dance. In the end it turned out not to be too bad and I put my train in a bun with a hair tie around it. Looked less charming, but still very useful during the opening dance and the party.

CR Getting Ready 015CR Getting Ready 108

Make-up & hair for the wedding:

My hair and make-up were done by friend Evelien who is very good at it. We went to the MAC store together in advance to buy good products and to try make-up. Evelien paid close attention and then remade the total look in France. I am so happy with it!CR Getting Ready 069

Bridal lingerie:

Some things remain private ;-). Although I do want to say that I wore a garter 😉


And that was it: all about finding my wedding dress and all the other accessories. A completely different blog than I normally write, but I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe it will help you! If you have any questions, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Love,

Charlotte


* All wedding pictures in this blog are made by our amazing wedding photographer Femke from Storytelling by Femke Dam

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