My Honest Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

Well hello Wedding Chat! Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on the blog about my wedding dress shopping experience, but here’s a quick update on it. I wanted to write an honest post on my experience, my thoughts and any advice that I can offer to all of you.

We get married in June this year and I booked to visit three different bridal stores in Leeds back in January. I thought I had plenty of time and felt very relaxed about the whole thing, that’s until I went to my first appointment and panic swept over me when she informed me I would have to pay a rush fee to get the dress in on time and quite frankly, I felt that I needed to choose my dress there and then. In my mind I knew I had two more appointments to go to the very next day, but I just prayed that I would find my dress at the first store I visited (optimistic I know). I tried one dress on in particular which is something that I normally wouldn’t go for and I really liked it, but it wasn’t giving me that “wow” feeling. I started to question myself: is there such thing as the perfect dress? Why am I not loving these dresses? How should I be feeling about it all right now?

Luckily, I took my Mum and Sister with me, who offered me advice from the very start and were there for me when I felt like I was going to have a breakdown. To cut a long story short, I didn’t find my dress within this city centre wedding dress shop and literally felt like I wasn’t going to find my dress at all. I’m not an overly fussy person but I do have my own unique style and wanted something a little unique and different.

It’s safe to say that I wasn’t overly happy with the way I looked either which wasn’t helping the situation. I had gained some more weight around Christmas time and wasn’t feeling my best, but I’ll leave this for one another time, as I’m currently on the health train and I have changed my lifestyle for the better – let’s keep it positive people!

It was a new day and off we went to my next dress appointment at Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden. At first I thought this bridal store was very traditional and wouldn’t really be for me, as I was looking for a boho/chic dress but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Walking into the store, I felt quite calm and not as anxious as the previous day. The style of Ava Rose is classy, chic, unique and they have a vast amount of different styles of dresses. Ava was my personal stylist for the day and really listened to everything I was saying, offered me advice and kept me calm. I tried on around 5 different dresses (maybe more haha!) and then I came across a dress that was quite different. I tried the dress on and fell in love with it. I went into Ava Rose with an open mind and I wasn’t too fussy about which designer I was wearing and so on, but I was so happy to find out that this particular dress was by one of my favourite bridal designers “Essence of Australia”. The best thing was there was no rush fee and Ava didn’t seem to worry that I had left it quite late. By the way, I must point out that the Ava Rose store is on Say Yes To The Dress with Gok – WOW!

Although I had pretty much made my mind up, I did have another appointment to go to and didn’t want to let them down and I was curious to see if anything was going to top this dress. To cut a long story short, it didn’t and I called Ava Rose the next day to purchase my wedding dress. Even typing this is making me so excited. Like I said, I’m not at my ideal weight for the wedding (yet) but I’m getting there and Gareth and I are working so hard towards a healthy lifestyle, which we want to maintain after the wedding anyway as we’ve always been happy, healthy and fun-loving people.

I asked you over on Instagram Stories if you wanted any questions answered. Find below my top tips and advice that I can offer you:

  1. If you don’t want to be super stressed like me, start looking way in advance. However, if you don’t have long to purchase your wedding dress, find a store that won’t pressure you into buying there and then. I personally didn’t think that I had actually left it too late, but I started feeling as if I had when they mentioned the words “rush fee” before I had even tried anything on.
  2. If you’re not feeling you’re best and you want to loose some weight, don’t worry as they can take it in (up to) 2 dress sizes
  3. Don’t book a ton of different stores, you will feel overwhelmed and confused. I selected three and I’m so happy that I did
  4. Start a Pinterest board to get an idea of what you like, this helped me at Ava Rose
  5. Try on different dresses, even the ones you hate. You might surprise yourself.
  6. Enjoy the experience and accept the free prosecoo. It will calm your nerves – trust me!
  7. One of the questions before I forget, was would I purchase a dress from a second hand store? Yes, why not! Like I say I wasn’t too fussy about the designers, I just wanted something that I loved.

All in all, I’m so excited to head back to the amazing wedding store Ava Rose to try on my wedding dress. My feelings right now are all over the place, I’m a bag of emotions but I’m so excited to marry the love of my life.

For more Wedding Chat click here:

Choosing your bridesmaid squad
Searching for the perfect wedding venue
On the hunt for my wedding dress







  1. 01/04/2019 / 1:34 pm

    Congrats on your impending wedding! I’ve got my 5 year wedding anniversary in June too.
    Sounds like your dress will be amazing. I got my dress from BHS online! I didn’t have much money so went for the easy option. I do wish I’d tried some boutiques for the experience but it all worked out ok in the end!
    I wish you the best with your wedding planning xx

    • doorwaysanddresses
      01/04/2019 / 2:41 pm

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post Abbie. Congratulations on your anniversary coming up too, it’s such a great month to have it. I head back for the fittings at the end of May so I’m very excited and just hoping it all goes according to plan xxxx

  2. Chevy Takes The Mic
    01/04/2019 / 4:27 pm

    Congratulations you’re getting married! I can’t wait until it’s my turn to go crazy while planning my wedding. Thanks for the dress shopping tips because I’m pretty sure I’ll need them soon.

    • doorwaysanddresses
      02/04/2019 / 8:08 am

      Thank you so much and thanks for reading. When are you getting married? If you need any advice at all just send me a message ❤️

  3. Sarah Mark
    13/04/2019 / 7:39 pm

    Congratulations on getting married! You’re wedding dress will be beautiful as will the big day when it arrives!

    • doorwaysanddresses
      24/04/2019 / 6:13 am

      Thanks very much Sarah, I can’t wait for the big day. Not long now and I will be heading back for my second fitting eeek xxx

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