The lovely people at Guides for Brides have put together some really clear guidelines for shopping for your wedding dress during Covid-19 & we wanted to share it with you to make sure you're prepared.
Shopping for your wedding dress during the Covid-19 is going to be very different than it was in 'the before times'. Guides for Brides recently published their shopping guidelines in order to help you prepare for your appointment and find your dream bridal dress in the safest possible way for all of us! We wanted to share their advice with you as we believe it is really easy to understand and important for you to know before you visit us at Bellissima Weddings or any other wedding shop during your big day journey!
Guidelines for Shopping for your Wedding Dress During Covid-19
The government recently announced that they intend to allow all non-essential retailers “from department stores to small, independent shops” to re-open from the 15th of June 2020, as long as they are ‘COVID secure’. This means that bridal boutiques and menswear stores will likely be able to open as long as they have the necessary safety equipment and procedures in place. Here’s our guide to help you prepare for your shopping experience and know what you can expect.
Should I book an appointment in advance?
Yes, almost certainly! In order for many stores to be COVID secure, it is likely that they will be by appointment only. Simply popping in to browse will not be a possibility for the foreseeable future. Your entourage will also be limited and you may be encouraged to come with just one person to help with decisions. Some boutiques will be encouraging customers to have a live video link with bridesmaids or other family members to help with any decisions and join in the experience while minimising the number of people in the shop.
Boutiques will want you to have all the time you need to make such an important decision without feeling rushed. There will inevitably be fewer appointments available to allow time for deep cleaning between customers so it is even more important than before to do your research online and on social media before booking an appointment. This is so you know that the boutique stocks the styles you like in the right price range for you. You won’t want to waste an appointment! Many bridal boutiques already have a waiting list for appointments so that they can get started as soon as they are permitted to open. (All the wedding dresses we have on our website are in-store, and we share prices online to help you with your decisions)
Some boutiques ask for a small fee to book your appointment. This is to ensure you are serious about purchasing so that they can dedicate their time to help you; if you purchase your wedding dress from that boutique, they will usually take this amount off the final bill. Each store’s policy is different so check with them individually before booking an appointment.
How should I prepare for a bridal boutique appointment?
Remember, if you or anyone in your household have coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is COVID positive, you should postpone your appointment immediately and isolate for the government-recommended amount of time. If anyone in your entourage is experiencing symptoms they should not attend the appointment with you.
Check that their range fits your budget. If there is a particular dress you want to try on, check they have it in stock.
Pinpoint the right boutique before booking an appointment. You can do this by seeing who they stock online, looking at their photos to see if you like their style and then contacting them in advance.
Do your research prior to the appointment and discuss your style preferences with the team to ensure they have what you are looking for.
For many stores, it will be unlikely that you’ll be allowed to spend time browsing as they’ll want to limit touchpoints and their staff will take the dresses you choose into the dressing room.
If you have a particular style in mind, print off pictures to take with you or send them in advance, rather than handing them your phone to look at. They may have the exact dresses that you are looking for or be able to find similar styles for you to try on. (We have a wish list facility on our website which we'll guide you through before your appointment)
Be aware that there may be less stock due to the knock-on effect of coronavirus. So, if there is a particular fabric, style or designer you are looking for, ensure the team knows, so they can advise you prior to the appointment.
Ask the store what their policies are and what you can expect from your shopping experience. They will provide you with information about the safety measures they have in place and any further information you will need prior to the event.
Ask if there is anything you need to prepare or bring with you to ensure that you are complying with the guidelines set by the government. For example, they may not be able to provide you with a beverage and may need you to bring some water with you in your own bottle.
Will I be able to bring my bridesmaids to my wedding dress appointment?
You’ll be encouraged to only bring just one member of your bridal party with you to minimise risks. The other members will be more than welcome to attend via video link though, if possible. While we are still waiting for the government to announce what it means to be ‘COVID secure’, it is worth being aware that the person who attends the appointment with you may need to be someone from your own household. This could prevent a challenge for the many couples wanting to follow the tradition of the partner not seeing the wedding dress until you walk down the aisle.
Who should you take on the appointment?
The person you bring with you may have to help you to dress to minimise contact with the team so choose someone that you are comfortable with.
Brief whoever is accompanying you so that they know the safety regulations set out by the bridal boutique or shop. Everyone will need to comply and there will be no exceptions.
You may feel safer bringing someone from your own household, which could be your partner. It may break with tradition, but it is more important to stay safe. Remember, you’ll try on several dresses so you can agree on a code word with the boutique so you can let them know which is “the one” and keep your partner guessing which you’ll be wearing on the day.
What will my shopping experience be like?
This will differ depending on the store and their policies, but we can be certain of 4 things:
The store will need to put precautions in place to protect their team and their customers. This will likely include the team wearing gloves and masks and the installations of plastic shields and sanitation points where necessary.
You may be asked to bring your own mask and gloves to wear or be offered PPE when you arrive.
You will not be able to browse as extensively as you would like. This will be to minimise touchpoints and to ensure the team know exactly where they need to clean between appointments.
The appointment may feel slightly clinical as you will need to follow certain hygiene and safety procedures. You may be asked to remove your outdoor shoes, to bring your own water bottle and wash or sanitise your hands on arrival.
While the shopping experience may feel clinical, the boutique team will do everything they can to make it a fun and memorable experience for all the right reasons. While the team won’t be able to hug you when you’ve found the dress, they will share your happiness with you!
How to make the most of your shopping experience
Arrive on time for your appointment.
If the team is helping you to try on your wedding day attire, do not be alarmed if they are wearing PPE. This is an appropriate and necessary requirement to keep you all safe in close quarters.
Ensure everyone attending is completely well, anyone with coronavirus symptoms or living with someone who is experiencing these should stay at home.
The service may be a little slower than usual as team numbers will be limited, so have patience and be understanding.
Listen to the team at all times, it is their responsibility to keep everyone safe.
Finally – and this is a difficult one – only shop if you are 100% ready to find and place a deposit on your wedding dress. Until then, enjoy all the opportunities to browse dresses online with some fun virtual window shopping.
What if I don’t find my wedding dress during the appointment?
Do not panic! The team at your bridal boutique or menswear store will do their utmost to ensure you have the greatest chance at finding the perfect attire for your day. Ensure that you have done everything you can to research and prepare for the appointment and provide the team with the information they need to fit your style.
While there could be the risk that you will lose that small fee for booking the appointment, it wouldn’t have been a waste. You will leave the appointment with more knowledge and will know exactly where to look next. That might involve a second appointment at the same boutique if you just needed more time, a different friend to advise you or a fresh perspective on another day. However, if the styles just aren’t right for you and you need different options the boutique will happily recommend different boutiques in the area with styles that might suit you better.
My wedding is next year. Should I wait until nearer the time?
No, we wouldn’t advise waiting as there will be a lot of weddings in 2021 and you don’t want to be at the back of the queue! Creating a bridal gown is time-consuming, especially if there is a lot of lace, pearls or beading and you won’t want your seamstress to be rushing your dress. If you are worried that you’ll change shape a little between now and then, choose the design, get it booked in, and confirm the exact size nearer the time. The boutique will advise you when they need to know.
It is kind to leave the first appointments in June and July for those brides that are getting married this year, but if you have had to postpone, or have been planning your wedding during the coronavirus lockdown, it is time that you planned for a bit of fun … and nothing will put a smile on your face more convincingly than finding the right dress!
At Bellissima Weddings we are hoping to reopen from the 16th of June based on the new Government Guildlines announced.
If you have an appointment booked before that date we will be in contact to rearrange it for you. If you have any questions that were not answered above or you would like to book an appointment please use the contact details below.