When I was younger, and sobbing my heart out over boy troubles, my Mutti would always say: “You’ve got to try on lots of dresses before you find the right one.”
Well, I’ve found my dress, and he’s a good ‘un!
But now I really do have to find my dress. My wedding dress that is.
This weekend I am heading to London with my Mutti for part one of my wedding dress shopping journey!
So in anticipation of finding my “one” dress to rule them all, I’ve asked some lovely ladies to share their wedding dress shopping adventure stories, and how they found the “one”.
I can’t think of many better ways to start the weekend than reading about wedding dresses!
I knew I wanted a dress with sleeves; I didn’t think a strapless dress would suit me, plus I get a nervous rash on my chest and arms, and didn’t want to draw attention to it should it flare up on the day (luckily I wasn’t nervous at all). I only went to one wedding boutique – Tilly Mint Weddings in Fleet. The shop was amazing and the whole experience was perfect. I went with my mum and sister. The choice was between two dresses, but I fell in love with the Garbo by Charlotte Balbier (my dress). However, I wanted my best friends approval, so we went back, this time with my nan and best friend. I showed them both on the hangers and as soon as I put the Garbo on my friend said “that’s the one, you don’t even need to try on the other.” Seeing the dress again assured me that it was in fact the “one”. I love the vintage look, the lace sleeves and it has buttons all down the back. It’s been over a year now and I wouldn’t change it for any other dress! I still look at it in the bag, and just want to walk round the house wearing it. (Crazy).
When my now husband Paul and I set our wedding date, we knew we were short of cash so started looking for ways to save (making our own invitations, etc). As a bit of a joke one day, I typed “wedding dress” into Ebay, just to see how much people were selling them for. The most gorgeous dress popped up – brand new for £80 from China. I didn’t have many close female friends to go dress shopping with at the time, and knew I could never afford the dresses in the shops, so decided to take a gamble and buy it after reading feedback on the site. I figured I could always sell it on if it wasn’t any good!
I still get goosebumps when I remember it arriving. Paul and his mum were there, and I decided to try it on straight away (despite her protestations that Paul seeing it was bad luck). I know it’s cheesy to say I felt like a princess, but I did. It fit like a glove and I felt beautiful for the first time in my life.
It wasn’t the traditional way of finding the perfect dress, but it worked for me! We still joke about it now; recently my Aunt bought a dress for £140 for a friend’s wedding – cue “I didn’t spend that on my OWN wedding dress!” from me.
I visited the Harrods Bridal Boutique for a bit of a jolly day out with my mum. My husband-to-be had arranged for champagne in the dressing room (so thoughtful). Unfortunately, the assistant was so rude. I had to describe the dress I wanted, walk around, choose three dresses to try – just three – no more! When I showed her the ones I wanted to try she actually told me off!!!! She was angry because they didn’t fit the description I had given – therefore I wouldn’t like them. One particular dress she literally refused to let me try on. Mum was having none of it….I got to try it on (go mum!) It was the first wedding dress I had ever put on….it was the only one I would ever wear. The dress is a couture gown by Atelier Aimee, handmade in Italy. It may not have been what I described to the snooty lady, but when I saw this dress the romance of it overwhelmed me! Classic, opulent, vintage style roses, the scalloped neckline…. just like with my man who I was about to marry after only 18 months…I needed to look no further….it was true love.
Having studied clothing design at university everyone expected me to make my own wedding dress, especially as I specialised in bridal wear. However, organising a DIY wedding was enough to do long distance, so I went along to a wedding fair hosted by my previous employer in Lancashire. I looked online for ideas before I went and fell in love with my dress immediately; it was ivory with gathered gold lace on the bodice and underskirt. I tried on others but they did nothing for me. The only down side was that I was still at university and hadn’t booked a date, we didn’t even know when we would!
We had been engaged for three years already by then, but without a post-university future plan I couldn’t justify buying it! So a few months later I was informed that my dress was going into the sale… I was so upset that I couldn’t afford it, but didn’t want to lose it (and ordering another was too expensive) so my best friend (and later Maid of Honour) bought it for me and then it went into storage. We paid her back some of the cost once in work. In May 2011 we set a date, the next April back home in Yorkshire, as we were living in the highlands at the time. The dress was also two sizes too big so another friend from uni helped me take it apart and remake it to fit, in our small flat without my fiancé seeing. It was hard work but it fit perfectly and I loved wearing it!
I never thought about having a bespoke dress made until I entered a competition by House of Mooshki to win your dress on a popular wedding blog. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but I did contact Mooshki about making my dress anyway as I had a specific design in my mind. (I had trawled the internet for weeks but nothing had taken my fancy.) I explained my design to Vicky at Mooshki (who is FAB!), which fabrics I wanted, colour, sleeve length, every teeny tiny detail right down to the type of lace. Their designer, Olivia, sketched out my dream dress… and it arrived in my inbox a few days later! It was that easy. Wearing my very own unique design on my wedding day was amazing, and I felt like a princess!
As a not very girly girl, I had somewhere between no idea and even less than that when I started dress shopping. We had picked a January date, so I knew that a floaty flimsy thing wouldn’t be right and also knew that as a somewhat buxom lady, I was going to need some serious structure! The shop I bought from were really relaxed; I had to make an appointment, but then they just told me to take my time, wander around and pick put styles I liked and then they bought them to me one at a time. (I had another not so great experience in another shop that wouldn’t tell me what any of the dresses cost and tried to get me to try on only the things they had picked out!)
It’s a bit of cliche, but when I put my dress on, I just knew that it was “the one”. I had taken my mum with me and with some of the earlier dresses that I had liked, she had been quite dismisisve of their flaws (“It makes your boobs look weird.” “No, that’s not good for your bottom!”) and she was usually right! When she ooh-ed and ahh-ed along with me and the shop ladies, I knew I had found my dress. I pranced around the shop like a bit of an idiot for as long as I could get away with – I just didn’t want to take it off! It was ivory taffeta, corseted, covered in beading and came with a beautiful bolero jacket as well. It was everything I didn’t even know I wanted in a dress and wearing it made me feel amazing!
When choosing my dress I wanted something that was simple, classic, traditional and one that would fold small enough to fit in the hand luggage on a plane. I bought my dress from a place called New York Bride. It just felt right going there as we were getting married in New York. As soon as I saw it i fell in love, and when I tried it on it made me feel special.
My sister and mum came dress shopping with me for moral support and that important, trusted, honest opinion. After a very embarrassing moment of mistaken identity (the shop owner thought I’d brought my mother and grandmother), I was asked a barrage of questions and finally allowed access to the rails of dresses.
I chose one dress and the others were chosen for me by the owner, sister and mum. I was then led upstairs where my mum and sister sat on a sofa outside the changing room. The shop owner rushed off to help downstairs, so we were left to have a “mini fashion show” in a much more relaxed environment.
Blog: A Baby on Board
They say when you find the one, you know. But I never expected to find the one in a changing room in a high street store in Birmingham. Doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? But it was…
Thank you all so much for sharing your wonderful stories – I feel very excited now!