After locking in the venue, event planner and photographer – it was time to lock in the dress. In all honesty, I was expecting to just order online (which I was super happy to do, much to mama bear’s dismay), given the next to none timeframe to get one the “traditional” way along with my mum really wanting to come all the way over from Melbourne. Thankfully, it was actually possible in finding my dress!
Originally I was planning to have a dress that had straps, tulle and a splash of rainbow. That was all I had in mind, but given that it was less than 5 months till the big day I didn’t expect this would be possible so was open to anything. The one thing I wasn’t keen on was lace. No idea why, but I wasn’t a fan of lace on a dress for me.
A few things to note before dress shopping:
1. Be prepared for a big day with a good nights sleep! It’s a long day which will leave you exhausted and tired.
2. Bring your shapeware and shoes so you get a good idea of what to expect “on the day”
3. Don’t eat a massive breakfast
4. Wear comfy clothes that are easy to get in and out of!
5. Allocate time in-between for breaks and to debrief – you will get overwhelmed!
6. Try to limit how many people you take – too many opinions will not help your decision making.
7. Not all places allow you to take photos – please check with the store beforehand and RESPECT this decision.
7a. Don’t be that person that goes to bridal shops just to try on dresses, take photos and then get it made somewhere else. This is a major dick move.
Disclaimer: I’m quite a short and curvy gal, so I was a bit nervous about going into bridal shops and dresses not actually “fitting” me properly and expecting to just make do and “imagine what it would look like” and thankfully didn’t have to do that for most of these bridal stores.
These shops are not sponsored or endorsed, I chose these specific stores purely for their location.
So finally, on a cold and dreary Wednesday we stocked up on coffee and made our way down Oxford Street.
Stop 1: Bridal by Aubrey Rose
Bridal by Aubrey Rose was a great first stop to ease into the experience. Although there were a handful of dresses that were available given the timeframe, style and budget in mind, “the one” wasn’t there, however there were some great options to try on to give me an idea of what I did/didn’t like. The staff were phenomenal and very friendly in helping me with ideas and options.
Stop 2: Oxford Hotel
Now clearly it’s not a bridal shop but the oxford hotel needs an honourable mention no matter which way you go up/down oxford street for your dress shopping.
We had a few hours spare after Bridal by Aubrey Rose before the rest of the appointments for the day so we stopped in for a light lunch and a sneaky bottle of bubbles before the rest of the appointments. The share platter is perfect – not too heavy, not too light but just right and goes down beautifully with a glass of bubbles. Definitely stop in and get this to make time and de-brief in between your dress fittings.
Stop 3: Tuscany Bridal
Before heading in to Tuscany, I honestly thought that this was going to be the place where I would find my dress. They had a few V-neck and tulle styles that were right up my alley on their website however they did not have any in my size and just had to imagine as I put the dress over the coat hanger. Now, given the time frame I completely understand that you cannot try on everything, when you are investing a lot of money on a dress you want to at least try it on but being told that there were only 3-4 dresses in my size in the entire shop regardless of style/budget in mind was a bit disheartening and you want to at least try the dresses on. Both my mum and I had found that the attendant (fitter? Stylist?) was very pushy and not really that caring, just merely wanting a sale, as opposed to the other dress shops I had been to.
There was some really great dresses if you want something that’s outside of the typical bridal look, but if you were a size say 6-10.
Stop 4: Oxford Bridal
Initially, I wasn’t really sure what to expect at Oxford Bridal but I booked in with them anyway because you never know! This place did not disappoint. The dresses are absolutely amazing and managed to squeeze some fittings in. As I said earlier, I’m not a fan of lace but this place swayed my choice of style. The dresses I tried on (that fitted like a glove as well) were pure princess goals, yet still being a little bit alternative (one was an off lavender coloured a line style as I recall) and none that I originally wanted but damn did I look good! The attendant on the day was fantastic in all aspects and although “the one” wasn’t here it was a lovely experience.
Stop 5: Kat’s Kurvy Bridal
This was a last-minute appointment after the end of the day that we squeezed in as I mentioned it in passing to my mum and she insisted that we go and check it out at least. As at July 2020, Kat’s Kurvy Bridal is unfortunately closing down and is only selling off the rack, so if you get the chance please check them out! Their range was mostly princess style dresses however there were some quirky picks which I adored, but the one for me wasn’t there sadly!
Before we go to the “one” I’d love to do an honourable mention to A&A couture – This was the first place that I went to look for dresses as I saw a dress in their window that was to die for and they have some really great affordable options as well for a bride (and also bridesmaid dresses!).
Stop 6 (the next day): Luv Bridal
I had the pleasure of being in here before with a friend trying on dresses – I was very overwhelmed to begin with as there were so many different styles (when I came into the store was so daunting!). Thankfully, Aby was outstanding in every aspect throughout this journey. She was so friendly, making the experience just that much more special and makes it feel like she was a friend helping me choose dresses and not someone who was after a commission and did not push me into trying something I didn’t like. At luv bridal I was lucky to try on so many dresses of different styles, even ones I wouldn’t have imagined myself in which made me say yes to the dress!
I highly recommend booking in with Aby at Luv Bridal if you get the chance. She made the experience that much better and coming into the store to check and have a final fitting it was like popping in to visit an old friend.
Thank you Aby and Luv Bridal for the best wedding dress experience I could have ever asked for!