Shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most exciting experiences of your life – but it can also be the most emotionally exhausting. To prove you’re not alone in the emotional rollercoaster that is shopping for a wedding dress, we’ve mapped out the emotional stages for you.

Get yourself a cup of tea, read through the list and hopefully you’ll feel ready to get straight back out there and hit the bridal boutiques in the pursuit of your perfect wedding gown.

1. You Get Engaged…And it All Hits You

Oh…em…gee, it’s happening! It’s actually happening. You’ve fawned over your friends’ engagement rings and selflessly given up your Saturdays to help them shop for their wedding dresses and now it’s your turn. Of course, you should probably look for your venue first and set a budget and all that but…let’s log in to Pinterest and stack up those Confetti magazines. It’s time to get inspired!

2. It All Continues to Hit You

It’s been six hours and you think (no, you know) you need to eat and wash your hair and feed the cat…but if you stop scrolling on Pinterest, you just might miss the one. RSI, be damned – this is important work.

3. Time for a Pintervention

Your married friends get it; they’ve been there. Before you know it, they’re pulling you away from your laptop, feeding you wine and encouraging you to think rationally. Start from the beginning: what kind of wedding dress suits your body shape? What’s your budget? Which styles do you like and which do you loathe? Get to know wedding dress designers for more ideas.

4. Booking Your First Appointment

Eek, you’re doing it! This time it’s you taking an entourage of girls to a bridalwear shop on a Saturday morning and it’s all about you. Think about what you need to consider when it comes to booking your wedding dress appointment. Are you willing to pay for an appointment? Who do you need to take?

5. Attending Your First Bridal Shop Appointment

You’ve brushed up on everything you need to know before you go wedding dress shopping and you’re ready to hit the shops. Just keep your mum away from the free bubbly – she won’t need any extra encouragement when it comes to weeping!

6. Trying on the Wedding Dresses

Oh, it’s so pretty, it’s definitely the one. But wait, this one is so lovely and you look like a princess and it’s definitely the one. That one is gross and you won’t ever love it and why are they making you try it on and oh…

7. Finding the Curveball

You agreed to try it on after the shop assistant suggested it but you knew it wasn’t what you were looking for and – uh oh – curveball! You love it and now you’re doubting everything you thought you ever knew. You’re not saying it’s the one, but you definitely have to reconsider your search criteria…

8. Trying on a Veil

You didn’t think you even wanted a veil, but before you could voice your opinion one was placed on your head and oh my – you are a bride. You’re welling up, your mum is welling up, your bestie is welling up. Would it be weird to give a speech? Probably. Moving on…

9. Getting Carried Away

I mean, if you didn’t think a veil was necessary, it’s likely you were wrong about the tiara, right? Maybe you should just try a few on, the sparklier the better. Suddenly you have a Katie Price-esque crown on and everyone’s looking alarmed. Scale back, scale back.

10. When You Discover…

…That some wedding dresses have pockets?! This is a revelation and, whilst you were already pretty into wedding dresses to begin with, your love for them has just skyrocketed. Think about what you could stash in there: tissues, snacks, emergency eye makeup… The possibilities are endless!

11. This is Definitely the One

You’ve found it. This is it. The one. The last time you were this sure about anything, it was about agreeing to marry your partner. Better just find out how much it costs, though…

12. The Budget Bite

Oh, ouch. You’ve always had expensive taste, but you have outdone yourself this time. Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board, visit a few more shops and try to find a gown that compares. Or, you could do something else…

13. The Budget Reshuffle

You’ve basically had ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ by Sinead O’Connor in your head on a loop, playing over a video montage of yourself in that dress for days. It’s time to do something. You tell (yes, tell. Now is not a time for a discussion) your partner you need to revisit the dress budget. You crop a few guests to the evening list and you sack off the (previously essential) post-first-dance piñata. Boom. Dress budget expanded.

14. It’s Finally Yours

You’ve paid your deposit and that dress will be on its way to you as soon as it’s ready. Yes, the cost of alterations was a further wince-moment but by now, money is just a number on a spreadsheet and you can cut a tier from your cheese stack cake, right? You are done!

15. But Then You Realise

The dress is just the start – now you need accessories, shoes, hair and makeup ideas, bridesmaid dresses…back to Pinterest you go!

Are you yet to experience all of this? Make sure you read up on the 17 things every bride needs to know before she goes wedding dress shopping!


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