Common questions our brides ask before their visit to Alison Kirk Bridal Boutique.

When should I start looking at dresses? 

There is no rule and it really depends on how long you have until your Wedding, but we find most Brides look about a year in advance of their date.

Do I need to book an appointment?

It is not always necessary to book but we highly recommend it to ensure that one of our dedicated bridal consultants is on hand to help you and also that there is an available fitting area for you to try on the gowns.

How long is an appointment?

Whatever suits your requirements however usually an hour is plenty time to try on a variety of gowns and accessories without being too overwhelmed (Bridal shopping can be hard work!)  We can also offer 90 minutes or 2 hours if you feel it is needed if it is your first time looking, are travelling a distance or are wishing to look at bridesmaid dresses also.

What happens during the appointment?

Normally we will start by discussing what you are looking for and invite you to look through our collection picking out any you would like to try on.  Around 4 or 5 is an ideal number to start with and it is advisable if first looking to try on a variety of shapes style and fabrics to get an idea of what is right for you.  From here we may suggest a few more for you or ask one of your party to pick a ‘wild card’ for you.  It is important at first to be relaxed and enjoy your experience so be open minded.  Often you will end up with the opposite of what you had in your head to begin with!   If you have no idea where to begin or what you are looking for please don’t worry just leave it all to us and soon you will be on your way!

Do I need to bring or wear anything for the appointment?

We recommend that you wear comfortable underwear, preferably strapless if possible and nude or white so that it doesn’t affect the look of the gowns when trying them on.  Some brides like to wear all in one body shapers too. If you don’t have these or forget then please don’t worry, just your self is perfect!  We can provide shoes for you to wear during your appointment, however if you already have your own please feel free to bring them.

Can I wear makeup when trying on gowns?

We understand that as a Bride you wish to look you best and get an idea of how things will be on the day so yes please don’t worry about having hair and light makeup on.  Fake tan is best avoided especially if applied that day or is  a “wash off “ so that our sample gowns stay fresh and reflect the dress you will have as much as possible.

Can my bridesmaids try on dresses for them at the same appointment?

 Of course, but please mention this on booking your appointment to ensure there is time for a longer fitting so your time trying on Bridal isn’t cut short.  Trying both in the same appointment can be good, especially if you have your choice of gown narrowed down as it is lovely to see them side by side, or if your maids are travelling a distance. However, most Brides prefer to keep the appointments separate as they want their dress to be a surprise!

Can I bring my family, friends and children along to the appointment?

You are more than welcome to bring whoever you wish along with you ideally bring a select one or two; it is so exciting having your nearest and dearest there to help!  It is great to hear your party’s opinions but remember that ultimately it will be your choice and keeping your dream dress a beautiful surprise for the other guests on the day is a nice touch. 

Children are also welcome but please bear in mind we have limited space for buggies so please let us know beforehand so we can accommodate this. 

How long do I need to order?

We advise giving yourself a minimum of 6 months for a relaxed order and this will give you time to consider alterations also.  However, most Brides will order a year to 9 months ahead of their date.  If your date is far in advance but you have found ‘the one’ then there is no need to hesitate, it might be fate! 

If your date is under a 6 month period then there is no need to panic, there is always options too.  Lead times do differ depending on the dress, size and designers, but most will be able to accommodate your requirements and timescale.  We always do our utmost to ensure you have your dream gown for your Big Day.

Can I buy off the rail? 

Yes, there are sample sale events throughout the year when some styles become discontinued or there is a new collection arriving in store.  Samples can often also be sold when time scale for ordering is restricted too.  As the samples have been on the shop floor and tried on they may be slightly damaged, because of this the gowns are discounted starting from about 30% off the RRP.   We can arrange for samples to be dry cleaned – this costs approximately £95.  The shop samples can also be altered to fit either way within 3 sizes. Elements of style can be changed too to make the gown personalised and exactly to your taste!

What if I have seen a dress I wish to try which you don’t have?

It would be unfortunate if this did occur, as we do try to keep a wide range of gowns stocked to please everyone although this is not always possible!  We would look to our collection to see if we stocked anything similar in style, shape and fabric for you to try meet your criteria and you never know it might actually exceed it!  Or if we currently stock the designer but not the exact style then we can often request to loan the gown direct from them – there is usually about a £50 charge for this.

How do you choose a size to order?

The dresses are not made to measure, so therefore we will take a set of measurements and discuss these with you against the designer’s individual size chart.  The size charts do differ depending on the designer, and they are usually all in US sizing, there may be slight alterations that will be required depending on your measurements.  We will only order a size once we have discussed it with you and you are happy with it.

How do I place an order?

Once you have chosen your dream dress/ bridesmaids dress/ accessories to place the order we would ask that a 50% deposit is placed.  The final 50% is due on arrival of the items at the shop.

If it is a sample item that you have purchased then please note we request that the item is paid in full.

Can I store my gown/ items in the shop?

You are more than welcome to store your items with us in the lead up to your Wedding or event, however, whilst here they are not insured and after 3 months we will ask for your items to be collected. If you wish to store your dress for longer please ask in store for a price. 

Does my dress come packaged?

We will provide a breathable dress carrier for any gowns and accessories will come wrapped in acid free tissue and/or individual boxes so you can store them all safely afterwards.

Can I have my dress steamed or pressed the day before my Wedding?

We steam and check each individual gown and item when it arrives into the shop.  When in storage you may be worried about it creasing again but most fabrics are fine once laid out with some room around them to fall out over night in the air.  However, if you do wish to bring your gown back in to us we are more than happy to steam it for you again.  A charge of £30 applies for this.

I am travelling abroad for the wedding, how do I pack my dress safely?

Always contact your air line if travelling by plane and ask if they have any special requirements.  Normally it is fine to carry your items on in the dress carrier provided or have your gown/s folded in acid free tissue and plastic wrap in a special travel box that fits as hand luggage.  We can order these for you.

Are alterations included in the cost?

No, we keep alteration costs separate as we do not have an in house seamstress.  We do recommend a local seamstress and will give you her contact details to arrange a suitable time for you to have your alterations done.

When should I book alterations?

Ideally as close to your date as possible, maybe look at about 6 weeks before your date for the initial fitting with a seamstress and your last the week of the wedding.  Usually there are 3 fittings needed for bridal and 2 for bridesmaids.

What do I do after I have worn my dress?

If you wish to keep your dress after it is best to clean it and have it boxed straight away to preserve the delicate fabrics and beading.  The Wedding Dress Cleaners specialises in Wedding dresses and will collect and drop off your dress straight from your door and have it back in perfect condition.  Any small repairs we would recommend to be made by a seamstress also before storing away. 

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