I’ve got to admit it; I was literally bursting with joy when I became engaged and an official fiancé! I can honestly say it was one of the most exciting times of my life! Just as soon as I was wearing my engagement ring I started making over the top exaggerated hand gestures with my left hand and almost constantly flicking my hair! I also practiced future signature options with the new surname that I was going to inherit. I loved the fact that I was going to become Mrs Abigail Neill, and no longer be Miss Abigail Joyce! Actually I remember being caught at my office desk by a colleague wedding day dreaming and practicing new signature options. She blatantly laughed out loud and made me feel as daft as when I was caught by Mum practice snogging on the back of my hand aged eight! (lol, cringe!) tell me that I wasn’t the only one to do that, please!?!?
Snog practice aside; in my opinion getting engaged and becoming a fiancé is really special! Everyone feels differently and I guess that some may not see it as a big deal but I was so excited about planning our wedding and for the first time I felt completely secure in my relationship! Don’t get me wrong, lol, it’s not that I felt insecure in my relationship with Rob but it meant a great deal, call me a traditionalist but I just wanted to be the love of my life’s Wife, and I wanted to be able to call him my husband. Okay, so this might sound a tad gushy and fluffy to you and I am sorry if you’re feeling queasy reading this but becoming engaged and then planning a wedding together is a really special time in your lives. FACT! And it’s something that we at Abigail’s Collection get to celebrate with our customers virtually every day.
‘Congratulations on your engagement’ wasn’t something that I was wished by the wedding shop assistant that served me way back in 2004 when I started the search for my dream wedding dress. Oh no no no …. I barely received service with a smile and certainly not a congratulatory welcome or the offer of something nice to drink. On reflection it was actually that less than special wedding dress shopping experience that helped me to formulate the plan that I had for our own lovely bridal business. Within trade circles I’m known as one of those retailers who ‘decided that I could do it better’ and for that reason I’m heckled slightly but it was true, I did think that I could do it better than the shop that I had visited plus I know for a fact now first hand that we do, the vast majority of the time.
An appointment at Abigail’s Collection isn’t at all like the wedding dress shopping experience that I endured 13 years ago; You see we love to welcome you into our warm and unintimidating wedding shop. We always want to hear about your wedding plans and it’s a genuine interest too, we’re not going through the motions, it’s not because it’s our job or just what we do it’s because we are genuinely happy to hear your story and we love to hear all about how you met your fiancé and the wedding that you are dreaming about. Essex is swamped with wedding dress shops, there are lots in Colchester and we are all very different which is fantastic. It would be a good idea to do some research before you venture out and if possible grab some recommendations from friends and family perhaps. Check out some of the potential wedding shops Facebook pages as well as facebook or google reviews to make some informed decisions about where to visit. When you talk to them (or us) you’re going to get a really good idea about the kind of service you’ll receive and how interested in you and your wedding they (or we) are, here’s some good indicators for you. Are they friendly? Are they interested? Are they helpful? And are they congratulatory?
Lots of brides get in touch before planning a bridal appointment and ask ‘when is the best time to actually start wedding dress shopping? There’s no real ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question because it very much depends on each individual bride. But there are a few things that might help you to understand this subject….
So first of all it’s best to start wedding dress shopping when you have your date and venue booked. Shopping without having these things confirmed is like packing for a holiday without knowing where you are going or when! You see how we style our brides for a wedding abroad in a contemporary hotel maybe different to how we’d style a bride for a dream do at an imposing historic castle or a local country house hotel. We’ve been fortunate enough to dress brides and grooms for all kinds of weddings and for all kinds of wedding day budgets; from OK magazine stars (Oooooo, get us) and upmarket weddings that have taken place at St Pauls Cathedral to fish & chip supper style barn dances and DIY weddings at village halls. It really doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, what budget you have or what style of wedding you’d like to achieve we will do our very best to be at your service and find you the dreamiest of gowns to suit you, your personal style, your physical frame and your incredibly exciting wedding day!
The next thing that’s important is to make sure that you select your #IdoCrew or #BrideTribe and bring them along with you. You see wedding dress shopping is magical and you never know when you are going to have that ‘moment’ and fall in love with a gown. There is often only ‘one’ of those moments during your bridal dress buying shopping experience, so, if it is important to have your Aunt, your Mum or your Bestie with you (or all three) then do ensure that your appointment is made when they’re all able to attend too. Honestly if we had a pound for every bride who said ‘oh my goodness I just didn’t expect to find the one today’ lol …. So avoid being a bride whose loved ones miss out on that moment and make sure they come along with you for your appointment. Oh and don’t bring an entourage, that’s a subject for another post another day but again; trust us when it comes to wedding dress shopping ‘the more the merrier’ doesn’t apply, it can be very stressful for the bride.
Finally my last piece of advice regarding ‘when is the best time to start shopping’ is to do so whenever you are in a position to make a decision and to financially make a part payment to secure an order for your dress. Bearing in mind that it can often take 8 months for a dress to be made and also that dresses are regularly discontinued, this isn’t a sales pitch it’s real. Sometimes months after brides have been trying on dresses and ‘getting ideas’ they return to try a gown again and place an order having decided it’s the one only to find that the dress is no longer order-able. This, believe me is not fun to witness, it’s actually heart breaking.
Hopefully this blurb will help ready you for a fabulous wedding dress shopping trip! If you have any questions just shout, we’d very much love to help you. Enjoy your engagement, celebrate it together shout it from the roof tops. Oh and make sure get practicing those unnecessary left handed hair flicks so that you can show off your engagement ring constantly, lol …. Have fun, enjoy x
At Abigail's Collection we are an award winning wedding dress / bridal wear shop based in Colchester, Essex. Visit us and book an appointment for beautiful wedding dresses and bridal wear for Brides, and Bridesmaids.