Real Jewish Bride: Sarah on Finding the Perfect Dress

Sarah will be marrying Rich on 19th June 2022 at Tikitano Beach, Marbella, Spain. Click here to read all Sarah’s planning posts to date.

THREE FACTS: (1) Sarah knew Rich was the one when he brought a gift of dog treats for her toy poodle Nuala along to their fourth date! (2) They are crafting an amazing destination wedding weekend in Marbella with beloved Smashing The Glass Recommended vendor optimum weddings as their planner. (3) Sarah is a member of  Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club!

I was looking through my previous blog posts for Smashing the Glass and realised, much to my amazement, that I had never written about my experience dress shopping! Considering that I am a pretty typical girly girl, I don’t know how I let this quintessential wedding prep experience escape my blog posts! Anyway, nearly two years later (thanks Covid-19) I have had the pleasure of reminiscing over my dress shopping experience for this blog post, so read on and enjoy!



When it came to booking wedding dress appointments, I knew that I really wanted to look in shops who stocked multiple designers as I thought this would give me the most options. However, I knew one specific shop I wanted to look in was Riki Dalal as I had taken a liking to the Juliet gown. I decided to try and be organised and book all of my appointments an hour apart on the same day so that we would not have multiple trips.

I also loved the designer Hayley Paige and I found that Mirror Mirror in Islington stocked her dresses so it made sense to book in there. One bit of advice is that if you find a specific dress by a specific designer, it is always important to call the shop beforehand to see if they have it in stock, and if they don’t, if they can order it in for you in time for your appointment. Mirror Mirror were so accommodating and they ordered in a dress which I loved just in time for my appointment. I also really wanted to try on some Pronovias dresses which were also stocked here so it was the perfect place to visit. One of the best things about Mirror Mirror is that they have their own design studio and workroom on site so they can do the alterations for your dress there as well as creating bespoke veils to compliment your dress.

The other store I went for was Angelica Bridal which is also in Islington. It stocks some beautiful dresses including some truly elegant masterpieces from Essence of Australia which is really unique and affordable. They also have classics such as Justin Alexander and Martina Liana whose designs I love as they are unique couture gowns which have the most gorgeous use of lace.

It is also important to know what your budget is. Do not go in and try on a dress which is significantly over your budget as you will end up disappointed. Be realistic and try to stick to your budget as you will also need to factor in alterations and accessories such as the veil if you are having one. The shops will most likely ask you what your budget is when you make the appointments so it is good to have these discussions before you make those preliminary calls.

One final bit of advice is to make sure that you book your dress appointments early on into your engagement. A lot of dresses can take nine to ten months to be made from the point of being ordered and so you really should try to make those appointments as soon as possible so that you are not restricted in what you can choose.


When it came to preparing for my appointments I was determined to go on a mini wedding diet beforehand…which never happened! However, the truth is that this didn’t matter as when they measure you for your dress, they will always make alterations nearer the time. That said, I did refrain from joining my wedding dress shopping party when they indulged in a pizza lunch!

By nature, I am a planner and so I wanted to be really organised and make this shopping experience as easy as possible! I researched all the dresses and designers which I liked and then I took a list of any specific dresses I wanted to try to each appointment. I went to three shops in one day. However, it is important to go with the flow and not treat it like a business meeting so I definitely recommend trying on lots of different designs which are not already on your “must try” list.

One big bit of advice is to stay hydrated! I got so caught up in the moment that I totally neglected my fluid intake as well as my food intake and by halfway through my second appointment I felt exhausted and overwhelmed! I was rescued by a pack of Maltesers and lots of water which my bridesmaids made sure that I had. I left an hour between each appointment to make sure that my shopping team had time to refuel and enjoy their day as well and this made it so much more fun for everyone.

When it comes to choosing who you take with you, I would say that less is more. You might think that you want eight people like they have on “Say Yes to The Dress” but I guarantee you that this is not always a good idea. Ultimately, more people mean more opinions and this can make it really overwhelming when you are trying to decide what you like and don’t like. Additionally, you will likely find that most shops will allow a maximum of two to three guests so it is always good to ask them first when you book your appointment. I took my mum and two of my oldest friends who are also my bridesmaids. The three of them know me so well and they know what I am comfortable in as well as what suits me best.

A little tip – you might find your dream dress and say yes to it on the spot, but just in case you want to reflect, it is a good idea to ask someone to take pictures. Make sure you ask the shop first if this is possible. This way you can look back after and see how you feel about all of the dresses which you tried on.


I had heard many times that brides often end up choosing a dress which is the opposite of what they wanted and yes this happened to me! I was so certain that I knew what I wanted, so much so that I nearly chose a dress because I had told myself beforehand that it was my dress and because it was in my safety zone, so to speak. By “safety zone” I mean something which ticked all my usual boxes and covered any parts of my body which I didn’t like.

I think we ended up finding a potential dress in each of three stores and all of them were completely different to my original idea. When I went to Mirror Mirror for my final appointment to try on the dress which I had asked them to order in and which I was sure was “my” dress, I got totally overwhelmed. My fitter Meb was an absolute star and she suggested trying on a similar gown by the same designer as the one I loved just as a contrast. I reluctantly agreed as I knew it would not be for me. Fast forward 40 minutes and poor Meb had willingly put me in and out of both dresses about four times as I could not make up my mind!

The second dress, which is now my dress, is so different to what I wanted and I had such anxiety about straying from my pre-conceived ideas but that is what makes it so special. It is unique and it is so not me! Deep down I knew it was the one when I first put it on and turned around and one of bridesmaids was crying. I ended up going away that day and making an appointment for three days later to go back and try it again with just my mum. I needed to be comfortable with my decision and I really needed those few days to just gather my thoughts.


I can’t say that my experience was just like Say Yes to the Dress! In fact, I thought I would love every minute of it and I was worried that three shops would not be enough. The reality is that I was well and truly over the whole getting in and out of dresses by the end of three shops! I remember thinking how strange that I was not the typical bride but honestly, there is no typical bride and just because you don’t want to go to ten appointments, it doesn’t make you any less of a bride.

I am so glad that I found my dream dress in Mirror Mirror and that I have the most wonderful fitter. Meb really indulged my semi neurotic questioning of should I or shouldn’t I and she made me feel so comfortable and relaxed. Honestly, choosing your dress is also about choosing your dress shop and fitter. It sounds crazy, but they are a huge part of the experience and they will be in your life until you collect your dress in the lead up to your wedding, and so it is important to have that chemistry with them.

My advice is just to enjoy every minute of your shopping experience. Do your research before if you don’t want to go to a lot of different places, but also be open to trying new things and straying from your original ideas. A wedding dress is unique not just because you will only wear it once, but because in all likelihood, it is completely different to any other dress you have worn before. Find a dress which makes you feel comfortable, like a bride and which you simply can’t stop thinking about. Whatever wedding dress you choose, it will be truly wonderful because it is your dress and the dress you get to wear to marry the love of your life, and what can be more special than that!

See you at my next blog x

P.S. I am sure you probably guessed, but any pictures in this blog of me in a wedding dress are obviously not showing the dress I chose in the end, because that’s a wedding day surprise!

Click here to read all Sarah’s planning posts to date.

Sarah and Rich’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:

Venue – Tikitano Beach
Welcome Party Venue
– Besaya Beach
Photographer – Nani De Perez
Videographer – Antonio De Perez
Wedding Planner – optimum weddings {offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club}
Dress – Mirror Mirror London {offers £200 discount for veil and accessory purchases over £400 to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club}
Videographer – Antonio De Perez
Stationery – Simcha Invitations
Chuppah singer – JJ Hodari
Band – One Entertainment
Hair – Alex Harrocks
Makeup –
 Ella Megan
Welcome Party – at Besaya Beach
Toastmaster – Jamie Paskin
Post Aufruf Lunch Caterer – Karen Harris
Photo Shoot and London Civil Ceremony Photographer – Paul Toeman
Civil Ceremony Venue – The Old Marylebone Town Hall

If you’re a Jewish or Jew-ish bride-to-be, join Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club for step-by-step guides, handpicked wedding vendor discounts, Jewish wedding action plans, a free smash glass pouch, Jewish wedding checklists and templates, and SO much more!

Guided by the world’s number 1 Jewish wedding expert, Karen Cinnamon, Brides Club is the private community for Jewish and Jew-ish brides that minimizes wedstress and overwhelm and maximises your budget. Join our Brides Club here.