From the minute we’d got engaged, ‘the dress’ hadn’t really crossed my mind. I know I’ve mentioned many times that a two-year engagement was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made but after the first year has passed (ridiculously quick) I’d eventually realised that I would definitely need to plan this one, as relying on a last minute £15 dress ordered on next day delivery (always like to pair with great hair & makeup) absolutely wasn’t going to work.
Everyone I’d spoken to had told me dress shopping was one of the most exciting parts. But actually, I was longing for someone to explain to me how the pressure of going shopping for a dress that is essentially supposed to be the best one you’ll ever wear is any different from trying on 75 pairs of jeans in a changing room whilst enduring a breakdown.
In my day to day fashion I am the LAST person on trend. I don’t follow them, I rarely suit them and in 2019, I can confirm I don’t like them. I dress for comfort ALL OF THE time. Whether it’s if I’m working or if I’m dressed up to go out, I just can’t justify the glory of looking great, whilst feeling like I’m undergoing internal surgery. So, when I started looking at dresses online, I knew my number one priority had to be… comfort, and the ability to breathe out after making my way through 5 courses of Italian food.
Firstly, I highly recommend not listening to everyone’s advice. Nothing unnerved me more than the amount of times I heard ‘What you think you want, will be the opposite of what you go for’. That totally threw me, because if what I wanted in my head didn’t suit me then all I’d be left with was the panic of how on earth I’d make it through dinner? Don’t mind me whilst all I talk about is food, but carbs really do interest me more than shopping. Always have, always will.
Luckily with my job I have seen hundreds of dresses and so I had a good idea of designers and styles I liked. My advice if you have no idea where to start, is Instagram. Just by typing in #weddingdress you’ll be bombarded with lots of inspiration on every type and style of dress you can imagine (pinterest and magazines are great also). I then found the easiest thing to do was search on the designers’ website for their UK stockists. That way you’re eliminating the time and effort of relentlessly searching and turning up to random wedding dress shops with no idea what to expect. Like anything, wedding dress shops often tend to have their own ‘style’ and ‘collections’ so I found this a really good way of narrowing down where to visit, and how to avoid travelling half way round the country to spend every other weekend (which I don’t have) dress hunting.
I think once most of the effort and research is out of the way (you might love it, but again, I preferred choosing the food menu) and your appointment is booked, decide carefully who is coming with you. When my Brides have their makeup trials, I often advise them not to show too many people the pictures because no matter what it looks like, you will always receive different opinions and too many of those can add confusion and cause your own, most important opinion to be clouded.
As much as I would have liked to have had all of my Bridesmaids there, the thought of organising it alone stressed me out. Coordinating a date between Mum and I was difficult enough so adding in another 5, plus the difference in opinions I’d decided was just too much hassle. For our first appointment, we couldn’t make the timings work for my Maid of Honour to be there as Mum and I needed to visit on a weekday, but last minute I decided to bring along one of my Bridesmaids. Whilst I absolutely don’t think it has anything to do with ‘choosing’ between my friends, she is the one who I go to for outfit advice and our WhatsApp media is essentially filled with half-naked fashion show videos, so I thought it was a good idea to have hers as the second opinion.
I’m probably the most body confident I’ve ever been in my life, I’ve got the most peaceful relationship with food (not a piglet 24/7 and also don’t starve myself) I’ve ever had and I regularly exercise because it makes me feel amazing (always after, never during), so I’m not entirely sure why I spent 15 months loathing the thought of trying wedding dresses on.
Of course, I’m unable to share the exact details of the dress search just yet but as soon as we’re married, I will do a couple of these blogs sharing more information. We were lucky enough to have such an incredible first appointment experience at Pronovias, and after trying on a lot of styles that we really liked, our lovely fitter Sueshyl brought one out from the stock room she thought I should try. I told her the fabric was hideous and that it looked like a table cloth (In a really nice way, promise). However, before she’d even pulled it over my chest I’d fallen in love and although we had some emotional tears, we’d already pre-booked a second appointment two weeks later in Birmingham and the result of that visit threw a curve ball at us with a shape I totally hadn’t considered!
So… I don’t think I’ve found my dress just yet, but I’m definitely looking in the right direction and now know what styles to avoid. I’m also 100% over the fear of looking like a dessert.
There’s an expectation for it to look phenomenal, for me and us as women to have never looked better but the truth is, nothing’s going to make me look better than the happiness I’ll feel having everybody I love under one roof (even though there’s no roof).
Everybody is totally different, and no two experiences are the same and whilst there are so many aspects of wedding planning that excite me, life still goes on before after and during the planning. Our wedding will I’m sure be one of the best days of our entire lives, but the tiny details won’t make it the reason ‘why’ and I’m almost certain I’ll find a dress that adds to me feeling my absolute best.