My venue was booked, my theme was set and my vision thought out, it was time to start my quest for my dream gown. I always knew what I wanted from a very young age, what girl doesn’t fantasize about their big day? I was sure I didn’t want a big princess-esque dress but a dress that hugged my curves in all the right places like a mermaid dress does. Realistically, I wanted something that reflected my personal style: girly, yet edgy, sometimes provocative yet classic-chic and sometimes effortlessly casual. My style varies a lot depending on my mood. How was I going to find a dress that incorporated all these styles?
Our wedding was going to be held in June and I started looking and actually going to fittings around November/December the year before. Prior to starting this journey, as mentioned in my previous post, I of course attended multiple wedding fairs and shows (The Wedding Fair, Brides the Show, The National Wedding Show). At these shows you can find various wedding dress stands with different price points from affordable David’s Bridal to the oh so chic Ruth Milliam (trust me, I had never even heard of these names before I started looking, now you can call me a pro ;)). Some stands will offer promo codes, encourage you to book appointments for a first trial, sample sales and offer you the chance to try a wedding dress on there and then!
Living in London meant that I was spoiled for choice. There are countless wedding boutiques and showrooms, it’s hard to decide where to start. I decided to dedicate a few days to wedding dress fittings with my lovely mother and visit 2-3 boutiques in one day that were somewhat close to one another. I chose to only bring my mother along as she is the only person that knows me so well. They turned out to be amazing as we turned them into mother-daughter days with some sweet bonding and great lunches 🙂 My very first wedding dress trial was at David’s Bridal which I had been persuaded to book by the girl that worked at their stand at a wedding fair. I can’t say it was the best fitting as it was my first however I don’t feel the assistant really listened to what I described as my dream gown. I tried on different styles and in a way it was good as it underlined exactly what I didn’t want. As I had never tried on a wedding dress before I didn’t really know what suited me. Before every appointment you will be asked the same questions, when and where your wedding will be held, the style you are looking for and most importantly, your budget. Be honest with how much you want to spend so you don’t get any nasty surprises that will bring tears to your eyes (not the happy tears). Also, some places will only let you try on a handful of dresses so be careful when told to look around the boutique, only choose the ones you would absolutely love to try on.
With the first unsuccessful fitting over, I was excited for my next one. I had collected a mountain of leaflets and business cards from the wedding fairs and started making contact. I researched online, looked up designers on Social Media to search what was available. I had fittings at three different boutiques until I found it. The one. As soon as I put it on, I knew. Although it needed tweaking, I knew I had finally found it. The heart-shaped neck was exactly what I wanted, it subtly dipped down for a bit of sexiness but was not too risque. The detailing and beading was just the right amount and absolute perfection. As fun as it may sound, to try on numerous wedding dresses on one after the other, it can tend to get a bit draining and repetitive. I would suggest to not try too many on otherwise it can get really confusing and you’ll get lost in all that tulle. But for me, the search was finally over.
I had always liked the idea of having two different looks for the day but there was no chance I was changing out of my dress. Lets face it, this is the only day where you actually get to wear a wedding dress. I intended to wear it for the ENTIRE day. But, to switch it up a bit, I had a removable flowy “skirt” combined with the dress which I would then remove for the evening and put an embellished belt/sash in its place.
Three fittings after, the dress was altered perfectly to my shape, it incorporated a padded bra which supported and flattered at the same time. My last fitting was so memorable. Seeing the whole look finalized with my wedding shoes, jewelry and veil felt like a dream I had to pinch myself from. On the day, I felt beautiful, stunning. It was crucial to me to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin because if you are not, it really shows. I laughed, I danced, I ate, in other words, I had my cake and ate it too. 😛
Sincerely, Stephanie x
P.S. My top tips on searching for your dream wedding dress:
Be inspired. Hopefully you have a clear understanding of what you want, but if you don’t, do your research. Pinterest is a GREAT tool for all things wedding related, especially wedding dresses. Look at different styles, look at celebrities’ wedding dresses and the timeless gowns from long ago (I am talking Grace Kelly era). There are so many styles of wedding dresses to choose from it can kind of throw you into a frenzy if you don’t know what you are looking for. Make an album on your phone with wedding dress inspiration to bring to your fittings.
Consider your shape. This is probably the only time where I would consider it correct to do so. Everyone is beautiful exactly the way they are, however, your wedding photos will last a last time and will be looked at 10-40 years from you. You don’t want to regret anything. When you look at your photos you don’t want to remember that you couldn’t breath because you were so sucked into your dress you were unable to eat. It is so essential to feel comfortable and feel like yourself on that day because you need to enjoy it. Every second of it! Find a dress that will accentuate your best features and disguise the features you are confident about. For example, if you are self conscious of your upper arms, perhaps opt for a bardot neck.
Don’t be afraid to ask about prices. The oh so sensitive subject. Don’t be afraid or shy to explain exactly how much your maximum budget is. Clarify if the final price they give you includes alterations, the veil etc.
Look your best and wear clothes that are easy to slip off. This is self explanatory, on the day of your fitting make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes that will slip off easily. My search began in the winter, so it was a little tricky for me to remove all of my layers each time. Make sure you wear nude underwear, I recommend the seamless nude thongs from Calvin Klein which you can purchase here. I also recommend on the day that you apply a wedding-style make-up, something that will be along the lines of what you would want for the big day. Some applies for hair. I’m not saying you need to go to the hairdresser however if you intend to have wavy hair, curl your hair or in a bun, pop it into a bun.
Let yourself shine though. We could talk about traditions all day, however, there aren’t really any rules on what a bride “should look like”. On the day, you need to be you, perhaps a more fabulous version of you. If loose clothing is your daily uniform, don’t strap yourself in a tight mermaid dress. Embody your style with your dress and the accessories for that matter.
Wedding Dress: Bridal Rogue Gallery