Diamond Bridal is a wedding gown shop for every bride. They cater to all shapes and sizes and many different bridal styles. They also sell bridesmaid dresses, so potentially you could just have one trip and get your whole party sorted in one swoop. We are happy to recommend them, as they have many superb reviews for customer service and beyond.

Here are some practical tips from our Editor, Mary-Jane, for choosing your dress.

Shop early and make appointments well in advance. The dress isn’t the first thing you attend to and if you shop too early you might change your mind. A year in advance is a good idea. Some gowns take four to six months to order. There is nothing less satisfying as a bride than panic. Set your budget and be prepared to stick to it or else be aware that you may need to cut something else out later – the dress is important. Factor in the costs associated with alterations and underwear too.

Rip pages out of magazines, click through bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what the celebrity, royal and famous brides are wearing to assemble a visual file of your favourite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme — are they all very embellished? A-line? Satin or lace? Have open backs? Are they strapless? Find a couple of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.

Please just bear in mind that you may leave with something completely different. On that point I am sure many bridal consultants will tell you that so many brides enter their showrooms with a set idea. Although it is a decade since I went dress shopping I know that I left with the exact opposite of what I thought. Be open to trying on some dresses that may be a little outside your comfort zone, it might just surprise you. Be aware that the weight of many gowns will make them ‘sag’ a little on the hanger, so the only way to ensure you are seeing the gown is to try it on and give a little twirl.

Prepare yourself that your dress size will possibly be bigger than you expect, so please don’t get disheartened when you get measured; the dresses are essentially made to measure. It may be the only time that a gown will be made just for you. Also, shop true to your size rather than going smaller; it is much easier to take a dress in that let it out.

Bring some underwear, just a good bra and panties. There is no point in wearing an old pair. This is an experience you want to enjoy and relish. Not even Bridget Jones would wear her reliable pair to her dress fitting. Also bring some heels that you can walk in. This will give you a good idea of the flow of the gown on the day.

Try to just choose a couple of people to come for a second opinion until you have narrowed down your choices. Too many voices could skew your own decision and at the end of the day you must feel ethereal and beautiful because it is, after all, your day. I’ll use this analogy: booking a place to go for dinner. If the group is larger there are lots of wants and needs. This is for a possible spend of €30 to €50 per person. A wedding gown can start from €700 upwards and you are the one that will be wearing it. So, although you may love your cousins or best friends’ sister, are they really the right ones to help you? Be practical and maybe a little ruthless here.

Finally, make a day of it, just visit one shop a day and relish the experience and let the day flow. Have a lovely lunch and spend some time afterwards relaxing and relish the experience.

Diamond Bridal
5 Maylor Street, Cork
021 494 9900