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. Some brides are want the dress to be the first decision they make as they feel it contributes largely to the overall look of the day. Others are more relaxed and leave the dress search until later on. We would always recommend at least a 6 month timescale for delivery of a gown and then around 8 - 12 weeks for alterations and fittings to ensure a smooth run up to the wedding. Our most common lead time is around 12 -18 months.
Do I need to book an appointment?
It is not always necessary to book an appointment during the week but Saturday is by appointment only.
How long is an appointment?
Whatever suits your requirements however usually an hour is plenty of 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 or if you are travelling a distance. However, your appointment isn’t on a stopwatch and we are more than happy to spend as long as you need.
What happens during the appointment?
When you first arrive for your appointment we will have a discussion about the general ideas you have for your wedding day look including your venue, type of service, colour scheme if you have chosen one any special things planned but most importantly how you imagine looking on your wedding day. We will then talk you through our collection of gowns and give you a brief background into our designers before allowing you some time on your own to browse the collections and decide on the gowns you wish to try on. Once you have done this we will highlight any gowns that we think you may wish to add to the list, we seat your guests and provide refreshments for all and then…….we dress up! 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 do have basques that we will often suggest for you to try on under the gowns and should you wish to order one of these then you can do so in a follow up accessories appointment. We can also 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 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 that we are a small boutique and we have limited space for buggies etc so please let us know beforehand so we can accommodate this.
Can I come back and try the dresses on again?
Of course! If you are feeling a little overwhelmed on the day and feel you need some time to go away and absorb it all then we can give you the details of your shortlisted gowns and book a second appointment for you to return and try your favourites again on a new day. The choice is yours, there are no pressure sales techniques or panic buying strategy. We want you to be 100% happy and confident with your choice.
What is the price range of your gowns?
Generally our gowns range from £1000 to £2000 however there may be some small variations to this range both above and below as new collections arrive in the boutique. It is always recommended to advise us of your budget at the start of your appointment so we can assist you to choose suitable options.
What sizes are your sample gowns?
Our sample gowns are between a UK 12 and a UK 16. Please do bear in mind we only have each dress in one size, however with some designers it is possible to order a sample closer to your size to try (separate cost incurred) Some of our gowns are corseted at the back so a larger size bride could still try on a smaller gown and have idea of the final look and this also applies if your physique is smaller than our sample sizes as we will do our best to pin the back so that you can visualise how the dress would look in your size.
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. 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 decided on the gown we will take your measurements and you will be required to sign a copy of our terms and conditions which we will discuss with you to advise on all key points. Once you have chosen your dream 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. We require you do this within two weeks of the arrival of your gown.
If it is a sample item that you have purchased then please note we request that the item is paid in full.
Do I have to choose my accessories on the same day?
Within the appointment we will create a finished look by using some of the accessories but as the dress is usually the main focus we recommend that you book a follow up accessories appointment so that you can really enjoy looking at all of the finer details. It’s always a nice way to extend what we hope is a fabulous experience.
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.
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 overnight 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 £10 applies for this.
I am travelling abroad for the wedding, how do I pack my dress safely?
Always contact your airline 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. Our seamstress can provide this for you so please feel free to discuss your requirements with her.
Are alterations included in the cost?
No, we keep alteration costs separate as we do not have an in house seamstress. We do recommend an excellent local seamstress who we can arrange appointments with for you.
When should I book alterations?
We recommend an initial consultation about 8-12 weeks before the wedding in order to ensure your every requirement is attended to. After this she will guide you through the time scale for the further fittings before you finally collect you finished gown.
How much do alterations cost?
These can vary from depending on the individual and the gown that has been chosen. Naturally minimal alterations will cost less and intricate additional work will push the costs up. Once again, the seamstress will discuss all of the details with you so that you are aware of the prices and we are able to find out approximate costs prior to altering a gown should that factor into your decision making.
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. Any small repairs we would recommend to be made by a seamstress also before storing away.
Is my wedding gown insured?
You can buy from us with confidence! George James Bridal is a fully accredited member of the British Bridal Retail Association (BBRA) all of our brides receive complementary gown insurance and discounted wedding insurance. Details of how to activate the free and additional cover will be given to you on receipt of your deposit.