Eventually, with 9 months to go until our wedding (eeek!) the panic set in and I thought I'd better get a grip and at least try some dresses on. I went at the weekend with my mum and we went to two different bridal shops. I actually really enjoyed it. It's still a bizarre concept, and I'm still not one for having to stand nakey in public, but the ladies at both shops were absolutely lovely, and they made it a lot of fun.
The first shop was quite a traditional bridal boutique, really plush carpets and beautifully decorated. The dressing room was at the back and was a really big curtained off separate room,with mirrors all around and a podium in the middle - I've always wanted to stand on one of those after all my hours spent watching Say Yes to the Dress! We were given gloves so that our grubby paws (?!) didn't touch the dresses, and we had a nosey through them whilst chatting to the lovely lady about what style I was after. We picked about 7 out and started trying them on. I picked a few different styles - a big princessy one, a couple of strapless dresses,an A line and a couple with 'built up' necklines.
What I loved about this shop - and the second shop too - is that they were completely honest and if a dress didn't suit me or the shape was all wrong, they would say so - at no point did I feel like they were trying to flog me a dress just to make a sale. Princessy was no-go because I was swallowed by dress, and fishtail was just horrendous.
These are a couple of the dresses I have tried on but discounted:
(Kiss the Frog, Eleanor)
I always knew I didn't want a strapless dress too, I've got a fairly ample bosom (ha!) and I can't think of anything worse than being too booby on my wedding day, or constantly be pulling up my dress. I really like lace and I like a sheer panel at the top, like this:
I loved how I could be completely honest about what I hated about each dress that I tried on, and I think it's really important not to feel you have to be polite. I made this mistake the first time I ever went shopping and it meant I made no real progress, because I was trying dresses on that I didn't even like just because they were suggested to me by the shop.This time I didn't make that mistake and my mum was equally as brutal.
It turned out that the dress my mum picked out when we first went into the shop was our absolute favourite. I loved it as soon as I put it on, and all 4 ladies working in the shop came over to look and they got all excited too. They picked out a gorgeous veil to go with it and I paraded around for a good 15 minutes in it. Mum was ready with her debit card, but I just felt like I needed to see more dresses; we had another appointment booked that afternoon anyway and my sister and best friend weren't there, so I wasn't ready to commit. I just wish I was more decisive.
Shop 2 was quite different - it was all quite boutiquey, with giant free standing mirrors and feature wallpaper. The girls were all quite young and we were greeted with sparking wine and given little silk hearts to hang on the dresses I wanted to try, which was fun. I picked out 6 dresses to try, but overall I wasn't as keen on their selection as I'd been in shop 1. I caused a bit of a commotion because I picked a brand new dress to try on first, and they'd all been really excited to see someone in it. It was slightly awkward because they were having a special designer weekend and the designer was actually there, watching me try the dress on...! It was beautiful, but far too princessy and poofy for me, at 5ft 1 I just felt completely swamped. Everyone loved it,but It just felt a bit too dress-up for me, especially as i'm only 25 and am always mistaken as being younger than I am. I felt quite bad saying that the dress was too poofy for me with the designer stood there, but honesty is definitely the best policy, and he was lovely.
I only found one dress I really liked in shop 2, and I didn't like it as much as the dress in shop 1, so I doubt i'll go back there.
So i'm going to go and try a few more dresses on, but I think it'll be pretty much impossible to beat the dress we loved. Eeek, exciting!
What I've learned so far:
1) Be honest. Brutally. You'll risk wasting your appointment trying on dresses you don't like otherwise.
2) Ask to try with accessories and shoes - the right posture and a beautiful veil just makes it all look 'finished' and it makes it feel so much more real and easy to picture on the day.
3) Make sure you check the prices of the dresses before you try them on - in shop 2 I tried on a gorgeous dress but was then told it was £1600, which was a lot more than I'd be willing to pay. I'm just glad I didn't love it because they would be a tricky one!
4) Don't worry about being nakey -I was told just to keep my tights on in both shops, and the only person that saw me without a dress on was the lady buttoning the dresses up.
5)Wear a strapless bra- I need to take my own advice here. I've only got a black strapless bra, so I just wore an ivory bra. It way ok but for next time i'm going to get a white strapless bra so that the straps aren't getting in the way!
I'd love to show the pictures of the dresses I liked but as my fiance reads my blog I will have to keep schtum!
How did you find wedding dress shopping? Did you dread it too?