If you are looking for wedding dresses in Dubai, you are in for a treat. Of course, there will be costs. Dubai is glamorous in many ways, but it is also quite expensive when it comes to luxury items. I was lucky enough to be invited to shop for bridal wear on two occasions recently, so let me share my experiences with you.
Firstly, and this is a major plus, you do not need to accept the nonsense some brides have to face in other countries where the shop assistants will not let you touch the dresses. The bridal shops in Dubai have quality items, and they encourage the bride-to-be to try their favorite gowns on. You can expect to be given a lot of help to get into the dress. This is essential as many of these glamorous dresses have multiple layers, boning, zips or buttons and really are a two person job to fit. This brings me to an important tip. The attention to detail you will want is time-consuming. Therefore, it is essential to ring the bridal boutiques and make an appointment in plenty of time, as much as a week or two before you want to try the garments. Weekends are a particularly hard time to get appointments, but for weekday appointments, there is a shorter wait time. If you turn up without an appointment, you will be able to look at the gowns, but it is unlikely that there will be anyone available to help.
Appointments are usually an hour to an hour and a half; you can ask when you call to book the appointment. In reality, an hour is probably long enough as it is a very tiring process. This is especially true if you are trying on gowns in the summer months when temperatures reach the mid-forties or higher. The boutique or salon will be air-conditioned, but unless it is in a mall where the size of the building assists cooling, it is still possible that you will be aware of the heat and humidity in the summer.
Obviously, the length of the appointment, the efficiency of the staff and the stamina of the bride all play a part in how many gowns you try on. Happily, most boutiques do not put a limit on the number, although they will suggest a number that they think is achievable – probably anywhere from five to ten. Unless you have already decided what style is the best for you, the first time you visit a bridal boutique, choose as wide a range of styles as you can. This is because you may be surprised to find that something you would not have normally considered looks good on you. My daughter had a secret agenda; she was waiting to see which dress made me cry. If there was no sign of tears, she moved on.
I am sure there will be plenty of beautiful frocks to choose from, but if you are very tiny or tall, you may struggle to find the full range of dresses available in your size. Most boutiques stock the majority of their dresses in average sizes, UK sizes 12, 14 and 16, with a sprinkling of other sizes in a smaller range. Again, this something to ask when you make the first call. Whatever your size, the assistants will make every effort to fit the dress so that you get a reasonable idea of how this style will suit you. They have ingenious ways of pegging the back of the so that it fits in all the right places, at least temporarily.
Once you have chosen a dress, in many boutiques, you will be required to make a substantial deposit, 50% of the price, or even pay the full price. Then the size that is recommended for you is ordered. This is a nervous moment as you have made a commitment to that garment and you are obliged to accept it when it arrives. However, the better boutiques will make size and length adjustments as part of the original price. Pronovias, a Spanish bridal Boutique in Dubai Mall is one that offers this service. Other alterations, such as changing buttons or zips, are charged for. Knowing that there is a good, in-house alteration service is important. But it does lead to another timing issue that needs to be considered. You will need to factor in enough time for selecting, ordering and having alterations done. Clearly, organizing a wedding is a huge event, so plan carefully.
Part of the fun of selecting the bridal dress is taking your mother or your best friends along. You will want the facilities provided to be large enough for everyone. The fitting rooms need to be spacious. After all, there will be two to three people in the fitting room. In addition, you want a well-presented and lit display space where you can see yourself and have your accompanying friends or family seated comfortably for the viewing. Again, Pronovias has these facilities. Some of the other bridal boutiques have smaller spaces, but they do make every effort to make the whole party comfortable. It is worth asking about the viewing spaces and seating available when you book an appointment. Unlike in the high-end boutiques in the UK, there will be no complementary glass of sparkling wine due to the licensing laws in the UAE, but cold drinks are usually offered.
Along with the dresses, accessories need to be considered. Most places have a range of shoes and veils. Even if they do not have the styles that you favor, it is important to see the dress with the accessories. And if you already have a veil, make sure to bring it with you. The Wedding Shop has a great range of accessories, especially shoes, and some sale items that are available on their website. All the bridal boutiques have websites, but not all of them are user-friendly or even attractive.
Dubai has an alternative to bridal boutiques when it comes to getting your accessories and gown. There are many delicious shoe shops to choose from and some brides these days prefer to wear colored rather than the traditional cream or white shoes. Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik boutiques in Dubai Mall are good places to start if you want something different.
For the dress, because there are so many tailors, especially in the Satwa area, which is also where many of the fabric shops are, it is possible to buy the fabric and get your dress tailored from a photograph. Fabulous silks are available in the Textile Souk area of Dubai very near the Dubai Museum as well. Any taxi driver can take you there. It is a congested area of narrow streets that harks back to old Dubai and is a lot of fun. One shop in particular will amaze – Handloom House. They have a massive range of silks upstairs. But on the ground floor they have beaded and embroidered silks that are used for traditional Indian bridal gowns.
The price of a wedding dress in Dubai is likely to be from AED 3,000 – 20,000 whether the fabric is silk or not. Some brides prefer to spend that substantial amount on a designer dress from one of the many shops in Dubai rather than a traditional wedding dress.