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Unveiling the Parisian Wedding Dress Shopping Experience!

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Photo Courtesy of Benoît Pitre

What You Need To Know Before Wedding Dress Shopping In Paris

When it comes to wedding dress shopping, every bride has dreams of finding that perfect gown that makes her feel like a princess. Paris, the city not only of love but also fashion, is a dream destination to embark on this search. However, the reality of wedding dress shopping in Paris might be quite different from what you’d expect—especially for those accustomed to the American bridal experience shown in films, on reality shows and plastered on Instagram feeds.
In this post, I’ll recount my journey of encountering my dream wedding dress through four wedding dress shops in Paris and shed light on the distinctive aspects of each experience!


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Photos courtesy of Grace Moutier

1. Printemps

My wedding dress shopping adventure began at Printemps, a prestigious and well-known department store in Paris. Unlike the American stereotype of bridal boutiques showering brides-to-be and their guests with champagne, this experience was far more understated! No champagne to be found.
The appointment began with a brief consultation about my wedding details and preferences. I was then given the freedom to explore the store and pick out dresses with my friend. Due to COVID restrictions at the time, I was only allowed one person to attend the appointment with me. The dresses here ranged from 800 to 4000 euros, and the helpful attendant made suggestions based on our initial selections.
What stood out to me most was the personal touch; even the attendant got teary-eyed when I tried on a particularly stunning dress! Printemps provided a unique blend of French elegance and personalized service, which left a lasting impression.


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2. O’Scarlett

O’Scarlett was my second stop on my wedding dress search, and I booked my appointment shortly after Printemps. This time, I went alone due to pandemic restrictions. The store, located near Nation Metro, had a slightly less polished ambiance than Printemps. The staff here assisted with the challenging task of putting on dresses, and I tried on about 10 of them.
Unfortunately, because this visit was a solo endeavor, I didn’t have anyone with me to snap photos. The kind attendant took a few pictures of my top choices and allowed me to sneak in a few selfies. I was very grateful for this, as many shops in Paris do not allow photos. The experience at O’Scarlett was notably more solitary, making me realize the importance of sharing this special moment with others!


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Photos courtesy of Aleyna Moeller

3. Sonia L

Sonia L was a last-minute choice! This store in the ninth arrondissement near Pigalle was less glamorous than I would have expected for a store dedicated to special occasions. In the shop they have harsh spot lighting that I found did not compliment this experience. Despite the shop’s appearance, the quality of the dresses was quite high. I found myself immediately drawn to a lace-draped mermaid style gown.
Sonia, the business owner, was strict about not allowing photos. I was so grateful I’d learned my lesson from the previous experience and brought a friend along—no one should go wedding dress shopping alone, especially in Paris!
While Sonia L’s atmosphere lacked the ambience I would have expected for such an occasion, one of the things I most appreciated about Sonia L was their willingness to customize.


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Photos courtesy of Audrey Henry

4. Rosa Clara

The final stop on my Parisian wedding dress shopping adventure was Rosa Clara, located in the ninth arrondissement. I attended the appointment with a friend; however, we’d scheduled it for the end of a tiring workday, which I wouldn’t recommend to any bride-to-be!
Rosa Clara stood out from the other three shops in several ways. First, it was undoubtedly the nicest shop in terms of ambiance. With charming wooden floors and two spacious floors, it exuded an inviting atmosphere. Unlike my previous experiences, I didn’t directly select the dresses to try on. Instead, the friendly attendant had a consultation with me, asking questions about me and my fiancé and the style of our wedding to gain insight into the dresses that might suit me best.
I then proceeded to try on dresses selected for me by the attendant. The unique twist here was that she brought two at a time and asked for my opinion on each. It was a less direct approach than browsing all available options, but it added an element of surprise and anticipation that I hadn’t had at the other stores.
What I also appreciated about Rosa Clara was that they gave me a follow-up phone call a few weeks later, demonstrating their commitment to finding me the perfect dress!


So where did I end up purchasing my wedding dress in Paris?

In the end, it took me only about a month and a half to find my wedding dress after visiting these four establishments. Much to my surprise, I could not get that lace-draped mermaid-style dress from Sonia L out of my mind! I knew it was the one for me. The best part about Sonia L was that they were willing to customize my veil by sewing on lace decals which matched my dress. Even though the store itself didn’t have the vibe I expected for such an experience, it landed me with the perfect gown!


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Photo Courtesy of Benoît Pitre


What lessons would I pass along to all brides-to-be?

Here are my top tips for wedding dress shopping (especially in Paris!):
1. Keep it neutral! Wear beige undergarments/underwear and no makeup (especially not lipstick which can stain the dresses!). Make sure you are groomed and showered before trying on those dresses. Undergarments can affect the fit of the dresses, and makeup can detract from seeing the dress just “as is” on you!
2. Choose the right moment for dress shopping. Emotions and enthusiasm play a crucial role, so it’s essential to be emotionally sound and ready to enjoy the process fully.
3. Don’t hesitate to express your desires and ideas, as many shops can customize accessories to match your vision! If you have a particular designer or style in mind, conducting some research and contacting vendors directly can save you time and help you find the perfect dress more efficiently.
4. Make sure to go with friends and your mom, especially as the “no photos” rule is quite prevalent in Paris!


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Photo Courtesy of Benoît Pitre


5. Not required, but recommend: Bring some heels and any accessories (jewelry, veil, etc) you want to try out with your potential dresses. All of the shops I went to had heels to wear, but if you have your wedding shoes picked out, bring those along! 
6. Out of the four shops I visited, none offered champagne or much of an “experience!” the way you’d expect! The appointments range from one hour to 90 minutes, so make a day of this occasion by going earlier in the day, then grabbing drinks or lunch after to celebrate and discuss the experience more fully with loved ones!
7. While it may seem glamorous to come to Paris to find your wedding dress, I don’t actually recommend doing so for those who don’t already live here! Not only will finding a dress where you live minimize complications with follow up appointments and try-ons, but the culture surrounding weddings in Paris is much more subdued than in other areas of the world.


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Photo Courtesy of Benoît Pitre

My wedding dress shopping experience in Paris was a whirlwind of emotions, surprises, and, ultimately, success in finding the dress of my dreams. Each shop offered a unique experience, from the elegant and personalized approach at Printemps to the more typical and experiential approach of Rosa Clara. For brides-to-be embarking on their wedding dress shopping journey in the City of Love, remember that the process may differ from what you expect, but it can still lead to finding a gown that makes you feel like a true Parisian bride if you have your heart set on it!
Dreaming of a destination wedding in Paris? Don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Paris Survival Guide for more local recommendations that will help you get the most out of your celebrations in Paris!


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Photo Courtesy of Benoît Pitre



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