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We ask real brides about their bridal boutique experience. Bride Alex bought her Charlotte by Chic (by Hollywood Dreams) dress at Heritage Brides in Hertfordshire.

Still looking for your perfect bridal shop? Browse our edit of the best bridal boutiques in London.

Real bride Alex in her Hollywood Dreams wedding dress

Unlike lots of brides, Alex knew from the start she wanted to buy her wedding dress from the beautiful Heritage Brides. She adored the personal service she received from the boutique, amongst other things:

“I loved the boutique due to Sam’s knowledge and understanding of what I wanted. She listened and offered something very bespoke.

“Friends and family were allowed in and the doors were locked, so I had Sam and Wendy’s undivided attention. It felt like the best girls’ club! I was also blown away by the amazing choice.”

Read more: The key wedding dress trends for 2019

Before visiting Heritage Brides in Hertfordshire, Alex wasn’t looking forward to the whole wedding dress shopping experience. She explained she’s not a big shopper, and it wasn’t until she met Sam, the owner of Heritage Brides, that she realised it could be a fun experience.

“I loved the personable atmosphere at Heritage Brides, where you get Sam and all her gorgeous gowns all to yourself. Over the year leading up to my wedding, I took my sister-in-law, mum, maid of honour, and even nephew to view my chosen dress.

“Sam’s years of experience and knowledge of the dresses meant that I had brilliant guidance throughout the process. And Wendy, Sam’s seamstress, was effortlessly professional.

Read more: How to shop for your wedding dress

“My dress was perfect. I was able to bunch up the train for extra movement, the brocade was exquisite to the touch and the scalloped edge gave the structured style a softened edge. It was perfect for the grand Elizabethan venue of Hatfield House!”

Alex in her wedding dress bought from a bridal boutique

We asked Sam from Heritage Brides for her top tips when it comes to shopping for your dream wedding dress…

1) Be open minded. The images of dresses you have found on Pinterest that set your heart racing might not work for your body shape. Try the styles the bridal boutique recommends. They work with brides of all shapes and sizes and can instantly tell what style will flatter.

2) Give yourself enough time. Most wedding dresses take between four and six months to arrive back in a boutique once an order has been placed and then you need to allow time for alterations. Make sure you are actively looking for your dream dress at least 9 - 12 months before your wedding has planned. And the majority of quality bridal boutiques will operate on an appointment-only basis. Ringing on Friday for an appointment on Saturday will usually end in disappointment.

3) Think creatively. If you find a dress that ticks the majority of your boxes, then start imaging some custom tweaks which will not only turn the gown into your 10/10 but will also make it more bespoke, without the couture price tag. Straps can be made slimmer (or added); sleeves can be created; fullness removed and sparkle sprinkled. The only limitation will be your imagination.

Ready to start shopping for your wedding dress? Browse bridal boutiques near you now.

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