Dress shopping was the thing I was most looking forward to.
My sister, who got married back in 2007, has often expressed her desire to whip off her wedding ring and go back to bridal shops just to try on dresses again, so I wanted to savour every moment.
My first appointment definitely did not disappoint. I went to the lovely ladies at Alison Evans Bridalwear in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. And boy do they know their stuff. They’ve been in the industry for a long time, and they look after you and make you feel like a million dollars. Unfortunately for me, they just didn’t have “the dress”, so I had to continue my search – but I can strongly recommend them if you’re local to the area!
My second appointment disheartened me a little. I won’t drop the name of the shop, but the sales assistant was very inexperienced, and certainly didn’t make me feel like I wanted to spend thousands of pounds on a dress. Not everyone will get a bad experience, but if you do, just take it as exactly that: experience. You can always take your business elsewhere.
But… my third appointment definitely made up for it.
My sister had text me a week prior:
“You’d look lovely in this dress,” it read, with a picture of a dress attached. It was a dress that Pinterest dreams are made of. I simply HAD to book an appointment.
Stately Brides is a gorgeous little boutique in Belper, Derbyshire. I’d never been before, but Mum had been practically begging me to book an appointment since the day we got engaged. So we booked in our slot for 10am on a Saturday morning.
I wasn’t expecting anything. In fact, I even said to Mum in the car on the way over, “I don’t think I’ll find ‘the one’ today.” But I was wrong!
I picked five dresses to try, but to be honest, I really didn’t need to. I had my heart firmly set on that gorgeous little number on the mannequin and there was no going back.
I tried in on and fell in love. I remember being so in awe of the detail and the craftsmanship behind the dress because it was so delicately formed. You know, it really does make you feel so much better about paying a lot of money, because the amount of dedication that’s gone into making it is just phenomenal.
It was the first I tried on, and as I tried on the others, I just kept on looking over at the first one. I had to put it back on! The lovely Leanne at the shop struggled to convince me to take it off, I could have stood in front of that mirror all day.
And I suppose that’s when you know.
There’s this “feeling” that people describe to you. You know which feeling I mean; the one that’s talked about in all of the Katherine Heigl movies; the one that every girl is supposed to get the moment she looks at herself in the mirror.
Well, spoiler: “that feeling” doesn’t exist.
You’ll feel something of course, but I feel like there’s far too much pressure on Brides-to-Be to have this whimsical, magical moment when they try on “THE ONE”, and I fear that women will frantically try on millions of dresses thinking “why aren’t I feeling it?!”
You’ll just know when you know. And whether that feeling is crying, beaming from ear to ear, or thinking “oh bugger, I’m actually getting married”, it’s different for every person. I think mine was a case of all three!
My advice: try on LOADS. Make notes of all the things you like and all of the things you don’t, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Before I tried on my dress, I had a vision in my head of exactly what I wanted, but when I tried on a dress that matched that description entirely, it just didn’t suit me.
It just wasn’t “right”. And in fact, one of the things I said I “absolutely didn’t want” is one of the features on the dress I chose (without giving too much away!)
Set yourself a budget and try your damn hardest not to try on any dresses over that budget because you’ll fall in love with something you can’t afford, and then forever be comparing other dresses to it.
Once you have your dress, you’ll be able to find yourself some underwear and accessories to fit around that: don’t get carried away in L’Agent Provocateur before you buy your dress, only to realise it’s backless and you can’t actually wear that expensive bra at all!
Dress shopping is arguably one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding, so make the most of it. Try on as many as you can, and once you find the one, treat yourself to a nice glass of bubbly to celebrate!