Wondering when to start shopping for your wedding gown?

Read on…


Since we opened in 1997 one of our most frequently asked questions here at The Pantiles Bride is “When shall I start looking for my dress?” The obvious answer is “When you’ve found the love of your life, he (or she) has ‘put a ring on it’ and you’ve replied with a resounding ‘Yes I’ll marry you’. The timeline between saying “Yes to the proposal” and “Yes to the dress” varies from bride to bride. If you’re just getting started on your search for “the one” (and I don’t mean your groom) then these are my top tips for what to consider before you even make that first appointment.

Season and style of wedding greatly affect your choice of gown so my first tip is to start looking for your gown when you’ve decided on your venue and set the date. If time allows I suggest trying on in the season in which you’re getting married so 9 to 12 months before the wedding is ideal.

Think about your wardrobe for any special occasion – what you’d wear glamping in Glastonbury would be vastly different to a romantic rendezvous in Rome. It’s no different when it comes to choosing your wedding gown. If you’re getting married abroad you’ll probably want a flowing, lighter weight dress that travels easily whereas a church wedding followed by a marquee at your parents place may call for a more formal gown.


If you’re still deliberating over cathedral or country house, vineyard or village hall, French chateau or a friend’s field. Mykonos or Margate, tropical temperatures or a winter wonderland then now might not be the best time to start your dress shopping and it could end in you (and your team) getting confused and frustrated.

You’re probably hoping that after deciding on your venue that I’m going to suggest booking appointments. Not just yet patience please!! Before firing off e-mails to all the boutiques that have been on your Insta feed since (or admit it even before) he popped the question my next tip is to do some research. If you haven’t already got a Pinterest board then get one pronto and start pinning gowns like crazy considering your venue, style of wedding, body shape and budget. £250 will buy you a gown on the high street or on-line and expect to pay anything from £800 to £8000 at an independent bridal boutique. Here at The Pantiles Bride our designers range from £2000 and up to £4500 for a bespoke bridal gown.

Until recently we had 5 bridal shops in Tunbridge Wells. Speed dating had nothing on the way some brides would race from shop to shop with nothing to show except a headache and a bill of £100 for Saturday booking fees. If they had looked at Luxe Bride (of which The Pantiles Bride is a member) then they could have used a filter for designers, price and style which would have helped them find the right boutique with the right product and the right vibe which would have helped them get one step closer to finding their dream dress.


Speaking of venues…

Here’s a gallery of some of our Pantiles Brides in various beautiful wedding settings.

My final tip is to not wait until you’ve lost weight. Even if you do drop from a 14 to a 10 your basic body shape will be the same but just smaller ie “Once a pear shape always a pear shape”.
Waiting until you’ve said goodbye to your weight could mean kissing goodbye to your most pinned gown because you’ve left it too late. Lead times vary from designer to designer with other factors being time of year, the design chosen and how much we customise the gown for you. Add onto this another two months for fittings and it’s not surprising that your Bridal Consultant might greet you with “You’re cutting it a bit fine”. With ASOS and other e-commerce sites offering same day, next day and Sunday delivery options I appreciate how alien it is in our instant, want it now society to even wait four days never mind four whole months for something! The difference between buying on line and choosing a wedding gown from an independent bridal boutique is that every gown is made to order so there isn’t a warehouse with masses of inventory waiting to be picked and packed that day. Hence a longer lead time.

At The Pantiles Bride we understand brides want to look and feel their best and the thought of measurements has the same appeal as going to the dentist for a root canal or your doctor for a smear test! Come and see us even if you’re not as gym fit as you’d like to be, the diet hasn’t even started yet or if you’ve just had a baby – we can advise you on what and when to order. Once you’ve chosen your gown and paid a deposit we can often defer measurements until closer to the wedding. Forget about size as we focus on fit and we pride ourselves on an exemplary fittings and styling service that is second to none on the beautiful Georgian Pantiles.

So what are you waiting for? Get that venue booked, get Mum and your team sorted (more on that in a future blog), get your Pinterest boards saved, forget size and be selective about the boutiques you’re going to visit ensuring that there’s a match with your style and budget. If you want a luxury experience in the wonderful location of Tunbridge Wells with a team with almost 60 years in bridal between me, Alexandra and Donna then look no further than The Pantiles Bride. One thing I can promise is that you’ll never be greeted with “Why are you looking so early?” or “You’re cutting it fine!”

The Vibrant Pantiles and Pantiles Bride