During our Facebook Live with british designer Kate Halfpenny of Halfpenny London, she shared some nuggets of wisdom that every bride who is wedding dress shopping needs to hear. From what to bring to an appointment to Kate's favourite trends for 2018, this is a must-read guide to finding 'The One'.
How soon should you start dress shopping?
'You need to give yourself about a year to find the perfect wedding dress, as once you've ordered 'The One' they can take months to make. Some brands charge a 'rush fee' if you need it quickly, so if budget's an issue, bear that in mind. Anything less than 3-4 months before the big day you could be looking at paying extra to have it made it in time.'
Kate's top advice for wedding dress shopping
'Never feel pressure from a store; don't let anyone pressure you into buying the dress on the day. And don't take pictures of yourself. So many brides love a dress when it's on, and then look at an iPhone picture at an unflattering angle and change their mind. Go back and revisit the dresses that you loved.'
The best way to prepare for a wedding dress appointment
Have the right underwear on. Good underwear is crucial. Kate's top tip: buy a pair of seamless, no VPL pants (you don't have to wear a thong if that's not your style) in nude (not white!). If you're going to buy beautiful lacy underwear for the wedding night, change into it once you're out of the dress. If you want a backless dress, do some research on the underwear that will work for it, and wear it to your appointment. Ultimo do a brilliant body with a plunging back.
Appointment top tips
'When altering a dress, the hem is the last thing that should be done. Make sure to wear the shoes you will wear on the big day to your fittings (and tell the seamstress if you're going to change into flats) so it can be cut at exactly the right length.'
'Have no idea what you want in a wedding dress? Try, try, try! Be honest with the boutique about what you like about your body or what you don't. They will be able to pull dresses that will flatter your shape and enhance your best bits.'
'I strongly advise bringing too many people to an appointment. It's an emotional connection that you need to get with a dress. With too many people, opinions are flying, and everyone's got one, so one or two guests is ideal.
'My favourite trends for 2018 are beautiful, plunging backs and a mis-match of textures. Traditional and non-traditional lace sit together in my collection, alongside sequins, star embroidery, hand appliqué and fringing. People are looking for that craft element and those beautiful fabrics.'
Wearing your wedding dress again
'If you're wanting to wear your wedding dress (or parts of it) again, separates are a winning choice. Dresses are trickier, so have them wrapped and boxed and passed down as an heirloom.'
The biggest mistake brides make
'Bad fitting strapless wedding dresses. Ask your dressmaker to put an inner belt into your dress if it's strapless, which will be done up at the smallest part of your waist so it won't slip down.'
The most flattering neckline
'If you're self-concious about your bust, a cowl neck is the best option for a neckline. It can make the smallest bust look big and the biggest bust look smaller.'
'I absolutely love it when people choose shades of a similar palette. Tonally I think that looks great, it's a modern way to have your bridesmaids all in the same colour.'
'Mermaid style dresses look great, but when they're tight around the thigh you have to consider how you'll move in it: it's hard to walk in, dance in and get up and down stairs in if it's very tight. Make sure it's loose enough so that you're not stressing the seams when you move about or sit down.'
Storing your wedding dress
'Invest in a professional who will wrap it in acid free tissue paper and box it because there's nothing worse if you want to go back to it in 20 year's time or pass it down to your daughter and it's yellowed or the moths have got to it.'
'You're either a jumpsuit/trouser girl or you're not. For me, a wedding dress should just be a polished version of yourself; don't try to wear a trend if it's not you.'