The best bridal shops offer that personal experience you just can't get when browsing from home. More people are buying online than ever in 2023, but it comes as a surprise that internet searches for 'wedding dresses' haven't increased at all in the past decade.
"Shopping online can be tricky for any clothing, so when it comes to bridal most customers prefer to shop in person," Annelise Sealy, Founder of The Fall Bride, tells us. "These are special and expensive pieces, after all." She's right, of course. Every bride wants the perfect outfit on their big day – whether you're planning in advance with a bespoke design, require multiple fittings, or looking for something off-the-rack.
The consumer tendency to buy multiple items online only to return 99 per cent of them can get pretty impractical when it comes to bridalwear. It's unsustainable, too – and given that weddings by nature are wasteful, brides-to-be are becoming more considerate of the impact theirs will have on the planet. "The number of brides considering what happens to their outfit after the day has been steadily increasing over the years," says Sealy. "I would say about half of our clients are extending the life of their wedding dress, whether they're bringing their dresses back to resell through our (Re)Cycle service, or dyeing and hemming it to keep as a special piece in their wardrobe."
Of course, one of the most sustainable things you can do – besides walking down the aisle in something from your existing wardrobe – is buy a wedding look that you'll wear again. Brands like Rixo (with its vintage-inspired midis and retro minis), The Own Studio (incredible after-party pieces) and Whistles (affordable tailoring and minimalist bridesmaid gowns) are wonderful for this, and you can shop both online and IRL in their dedicated bridal departments.
The best place to start is with a browse online, then you can take the plunge and book an appointment with the boutiques that catch your eye. Keep scrolling to see our pick of the best bridal shops in the UK. (the own studio)