My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel. She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV. But this year she has stepped into unknown territory. She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping. I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.
Shopping for my wedding dress (Part Three)
So I went online this week to try and cure my wedding dress blindness and put together a coherent wedding Pinterest board to send to my wedding florist, Cate Wood who owns Flowers at 180. I had had a tweet from Oxfam who directed me to their second-hand wedding dress site after hearing about my wedding dress dilemmas. Initially, when we got engaged, I adamantly told people I would find my wedding dress in a charity shop and buy some designer shoes to go with it which I would wear again…and again…and again. Sustainable shopping is one of the pillars of The Wardrobe Angel and half my wardrobe is from charity shops so it just felt right to go down this route.
Then something happened:
My Mum very, very kindly offered to buy my wedding dress.
She remembered shopping for her wedding dress with my Nana as a pivotal moment in their relationship. I’m only going to do this (get married) once: so this kind of enduring, wonderfully special memory, this mother/daughter experience of wedding dress shopping was something I realised I wanted too. As Rich and I planned the guest list and the congratulation cards rolled in late last year, I realised that I had just been going through wedding planning motions, I forgot (or didn’t quite realise) how many other people were supporting us and loving us during this frankly awesome time. (And I wasn’t about to start dragging my Mum round every Oxfam in the area – she would not have been into that at all!) So I put down my ideas of a thrifted dress and dove head first (albeit terrified) into the wedding dress experience.
Even though I’m committed to trying dresses on in person, feeling the garments, seeing how they looked on me rather than on a picture on a model online, I did find an immensely awesome, minimal stylish label called Houghton based in New York. I spent a good hour browsing the bridal collection wistfully imagining the slim fitting dresses pulling like an elastic band on my 28F chest, dragging miles of fabric behind me as I’m at least a whole person shorter than the models. This was my wake-up call – yes the Houghton dresses are awesome and wonderfully aspirational but they aren’t me. Not on my wedding day. They look perfect for weddings in castles, sleek registry offices, cool swanky London bars and on boat trips down the Thames. But a church wedding in Halifax followed by Fish and Chips? Pull the other one.
This is another big realisation I’ve had in wedding land – I’ve got to be realistic. I’m 5’3″ and my weight is 7 1/2 stone. Too much fabric and I’ll be like Alice slipping down the rabbit hole; blink and you’ll miss me. Our wedding location isn’t high profile, it isn’t fantastically glam, but it’s our home. And I want a dress which fits our bill, not the bill certain dresses give license for.
So onwards…. I’ve had so many positive messages from people…
“Just keep an open mind.”
“Focus on hair and make-up so all the focus isn’t on the dress.”
And a lovely message on my blog from a lady who works in a wedding dress shop:
“Everyone is uncomfortable the first time they try bridal dresses on and why wouldn’t you be?! You probably have never done it before and hopefully never will again!”
Thanks for all your messages and for reading… it’s fun writing these blogs!
PS – here’s s bridal horror story if ever I saw one – click the link … Brides ordering online receive dresses which can barely be called dresses, and certainly aren’t a patch on what they thought they were ordering.