FAQs and expert advice about wedding dresses

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourhampshiredorset.wedding


Do your homework

Do your homework

Q. We've recently booked our wedding venue for next year and I'm excited to get cracking with shopping for my dream dress but need to keep a tight rein on the purse strings. What would you advise so I can enjoy the experience to the full?

A. Mary Cox says: Mary says: Now you have your venue, you can think about what dress will suit both you, the setting and theme (if you have one). To help get you started, here are some of my top tips:

- Research online for dress boutiques near you.

- Check out their websites and make a list of your favourites.

- Ring round and make one or two appointments initially.

- Ask what the price range is, if not advertised. Let them know your maximum spend and don't be embarrassed to say that you're on a tight budget.

- Find out if the boutique sells from stock samples at a reduced price and if you've spotted some designs on their website that you like, what sizes are available to you.

- If you've no pre-set idea what's likely to suit you, be guided by the staff.

- You can also find places that sell pre-loved gowns.

- Shopping at a boutique gives you the opportunity to not only try on the dresses, but also take advantage of the staff's expertise and experience. Your appointment is most likely to be one-on-one and the aim is to make you feel relaxed. Remember you are as important as any other bride who walks through the door, so enjoy this special time.

Mary Cox, Twirl Bridal Boutique


Something old, something new

Something old, something new

Q. I want to not only look great in my wedding dress, but feel good too! I'd therefore like to find something with green credentials but I'm not sure where to start. Can you help?

A. Erica Arnold says: Erica says: Finding a genuinely eco-friendly wedding dress can seem like a tricky business. If your heart's set on a new dress, then try to find one made in the UK with fabrics carrying the Global Organic Textile Standard or Made in Green by OEKO-TEX label. However, if you're looking for a pre-loved option, there are eco-friendly dry cleaning companies that specialise in wedding dresses, which you will probably have to have done, especially if it's been in storage. Original vintage dresses require specialist treatment however and personally, I only use eco-friendly methods. If the vintage look isn't for you though, a contemporary dress made by reworking old fabrics and gowns is an ethical way of having something unique to you without blowing your budget.

Erica Arnold, Real Green Dress


Finding the one

Finding the one

Q. How long before my wedding should I be looking at buying my dress?

A. Patricia Ireland says: Patricia says: If you want a bespoke gown for your wedding day you should ideally start looking at least 12 to 18 months before your big day. For designer collections, times vary. Our main supplier Victoria Kay has a lead time for dresses of between 16 and 20 weeks from the date the order is placed by us.

How long should I allow for any alterations?

If you've bought a dress off the peg it's best to allow three to four months before your wedding for any changes to be completed. Even bespoke dresses will require small adjustments before the big day. We complete all alterations to our brides' dresses as close to the wedding day as possible to ensure the perfect fit.

Patricia Ireland, Test Valley Bridal Services