I know it may seem a bit early to start thinking about the dress, but when you work in fashion (and love it as much as I do) it becomes a priority. Plus the first questions other girls ask me when they hear I’m getting married is ‘what’s your dress like? I bet it’ll be amazing!’ No pressure then…
You have a romantic notion in your head of what shopping for a wedding dress will be like – and brides, I don’t want to get your hopes up – but it totally IS! I had such a memorable day – which was a lot to do with the fact that I took along my mum and my sister. Although I know a lot of bridal mags and websites advise you to leave behind the family and go shopping with a friend whose style you trust, I think if you have got sisters, mums or aunties then it’s lovely to have them involved.
Luckily, my mum is very organised (I didn’t inherit that gene) and she’d made appointments for several bridal shops in my home town of Cheltenham for us to visit – along with a timed itinerary. Impressive! I may have mentioned in the past that I’m quite fussy, and I knew it was going to be the case on this rather specific shopping trip. I already knew the style of dress that suited me, and I had been doing research on the bridal designers and ranges available (and in budget!) so I already had some idea, which proved useful when confronted with a huge wall of endless white chiffon.
From the moment we entered the first store, I knew I was going to enjoy myself. My mum and sister were positioned on throne-like chairs in a huge high-ceilinged shop filled with rails and rails of ivory puff. The manager locked the door to ensure total privacy and I got stuck in. I explained the sort of dress I was after and she pulled several off the rails before following me into the changing room to help me into the first dress. Once I was pinned in and trussed up, I revealed myself from behind the purple curtain and did a twirl in front of my (captive) audience. Being a little bit vain, I loved standing on the little round stage in front of a huge gold gilt mirror (it’s one of the few times in your life when you are allowed to preen away all you like!).
This process was repeated several times in several different shops, and I soon knew what my mum and sister thought before they’d even said anything. If they loved it, there was an ‘oooooh’ followed by was a wide open smile; if they thought it was nice it was ‘awwww’ and a smaller smile; and if it did absolutely nothing for me their faces were totally blank.
I wanted quite a particular style of dress, and in one of the stores they told me that particular design was more popular the previous season. Then we were told about the BEST SECRET EVER – a nearby bridal sale shop which stores hundreds of dresses at bargain prices. It was here that I was thrown into a quandary. I stepped out in one particular dress and, simultaneously, both my sister and mum cried ‘That’s The One!’. Really? It was nice, but I didn’t think it was The One. But they said it was, so it maybe it was? But I wasn’t sure. I needed a drink.
After a much-needed break, I agreed to return to the store and tried the dress on again. I stepped out of the changing room in the dress for the second time and looked in the mirror: ‘It’s NOT The One.” Final answer.
But it was then that I saw it. Hanging nonchalantly on another rail, a dress which appeared to be everything I was looking for. I came back out of the dressing room, and looked in the mirror again. THIS was The One. It was the wrong size, so needed altering, and I have plans for customising it slightly, but that’s all okay, because it’s perfect. And it was a bargain. And, when my mum and sister saw how happy I was in it, they were sold, too.
I wasn’t planning on actually buying my dress so soon (there are still nine months to go!) but when it was in its clear plastic garment bag and in my arms as I carried it back to the car, I knew that me and this dress were going be very happy together. Trying on and finding wedding dresses is a whirlwind of a day, and I felt like a princess (I may have acted like one too) but it is a very special experience. Now that it’s all over, I just wish shopping was always like that – and normal clothes didn’t feel so boring!
Now, on to the shoes……
Read about Theresa’s search for the perfect countryside venue here