Some brides undertake the search on their own, others go with their mother or chief bridesmaid. In general, bridal shops do not encourage large groups.
A bridal shop will usually ask the bride about her budget to ensure that she is trying on affordable dresses.
Alteration and fitting costs should be borne in mind and factored into the buget.
On average, dresses take six months to be made; the bride is usually asked to attend several fittings.
Bridal shops require appointments. Evenings and weekends are popular.
January to March tend to be the busiest months; some shops may require a payment to secure a weekend slot.
If the bride is an average size and shape and fits a standard dress size (i.e. 10, 12 etc.), then this will be ordered and then tailored/altered for her.
If she doesn't comfortably fall into an average size (e.g. very long legs, a short body, small waist and big hips), then a made-to-measure dress will be needed - this is often more expensive.
There are bridal ranges available offering plus-size wedding dresses; check the designer's website to find stockists.
The bridal shop will look after your dress until a few days before the wedding.