Most girls grow up dreaming of their perfect wedding day – the shoes, the dancing, the champagne, the wedding dress! So now you’re the grown-up women you aspired to be, with your amazing partner and engagement ring to boot, it’s time to find your perfect wedding dress.

But where do you even start? And how far ahead do you need to plan?

Shopping for your wedding dress is an experience to be treasured, but with many gowns and designs to choose from, the journey can be overwhelming.

King William Road bridal storeowners, Laura Watson of The Bride Lab, and Anastasia Michos of Anastasia Bridal Couture, have shared their tips on how to ensure your journey is stress-free and successful.

Laura, who stocks made-to-order and ready-to-wear wedding dresses by exclusive USA and Australian designers at The Bride Lab including Anna Campbell, Rachel Gilbert, Jennifer Regan, and Sarah Janks, recommends brides set out on the journey 12 months before their big day.

“Most designers have a set production time that can be up to six months depending on the time of year and while many designers offer a rush service, this comes at a premium price,” Laura said.

Before heading in store Laura said it’s important to have an idea of the dress you have in mind.

“Think about what is important to you. Like comfort – are you the type of bride who is going to want to show off her moves on the dance floor? Or would you prefer a tight gown that shows off your curves?

“While exploring Instagram and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration, nothing beats trying a gown on – feeling the fabric, seeing the fit and sensing how it makes you feel.”

Yes, you love your mum, sister, maid of honour and four bridesmaids, but when it comes to trying on dresses consider who you would like to share the experience with and whose opinions you value and trust most.

“Keep the experience simple! Don’t bring your 12 cousins, your great aunt Ethel, your partner’s sister’s best friends,” Laura said. “Too many people with too many opinions will only cause you to be overwhelmed.”

“In the first instance, many brides come in by themselves and make a short list of their favourite gowns without having outside influences, then they invite their wedding support crew in to make the final decision.”

Anastasia, who designs custom made couture dresses and stocks ready-to-wear collections, said when creating a bespoke dress it is best for brides to start planning a minimum of nine months before the wedding day.

“The delivery of the fabric can delay the start of the dress being made by up to three months, and as brides predominantly get married in spring or summer the dresses are made in advance on a first come, first serve basis as demand is high during these months,” she said.

Once the design and fabrics are chosen the deposit is paid and the dress making process begins with times scheduled for measurements and fittings.

“Once the dress has been chosen, the next step for the bride is to shop for shoes as the dress length is taken into consideration when taking measurements. If you’re planning on losing weight then measurements will be delayed and taken closer to the date,” Anastasia said.

“Most brides require about three fittings and at these appointments shoes and any undergarments to be worn on the day are required.

“My final tip is to coincide your hair and make-up trial with your final dress fitting – so you can see your complete wedding day look!”

To start the journey to finding your dream wedding dress, visit the bridal boutiques along King William Road.