Sunday, 13 November 2011

We have a Winner!

Saturday 5th November.  Three dress shops.  One day.  One goal: find the fucking dress!!

First appointment of the day, bit of a weird shop, I tried on a few things, they were nice, but quite expensive.  I did see one I LOVED, but it was teeny and I couldn't get into it.  It's a Benjamin Roberts dress:

It was all chiffon, a fabric I hadn't really considered, and it had a gorgeous Art Deco-esque detail on the waist.  It was really gorgeous.  We draped a chiffon jacket over the top and it was such a 40's look I was really smitten.  Really smitten!  The lady in the shop did find a larger sample for me that she was going to order in.  I think this will always be, the one that could've been.

Onto the second shop.  The wonderful Marianne Jessica in Bromley.  Michelle was just superb, so helpful and attentive, it was brilliant.  Funnily enough one of my friends has just bought her wedding dress from there.  I ventured towards it and was just told, "No, no, don't look at that one...."  Cryptic!  Until my mum told me on the way out it was Beth's dress!! 

I am indebted to Michelle because she got me into the Chanticleer Babilee, a dress I have fantasized about since July when I first started dress shopping.  The first shop, Cloud 9, had a small sample and as a result, I wouldn't get into it.  I managed to squeeze into the sample in Marianne Jessica and uh, I was totally smitten with that too!

Bit cross because the picture does NOT do it justice.  It's tea length with a gorgeous polka dot tulle over the top.  So gorgeous.  And it just looked amazing.  Michelle took some very detailed measurements to enable them to tailor the dress with a longer bodice and a halter strap.  Unfortunately, at £1300, this dress will reside with the other Chanticleer dress, in my, "What could've been if I had a bottomless pit of money!"

Also, Michelle had the best trick for getting into button back dresses - elastic bands!!  They did the job, I tell you!

Onto the third shop of the day.  We stood outside and considered sending Lex in to try dresses on instead of me as I had my mind made up, I wanted the Babilee and was prepared to go halves (or thirds....) on it with my dad.  

In the end we bottled in and I announced myself as the bride to be.  The shop was terrible to be fair.  Dark and dated.  And FULL!!  There must have been possibly 4 other brides in there, all with an entourage that included men.  Now, I'm not a prude right, but I see wedding dress shops as a bit of a female dominated sanctuary.  The presence of all these blokes really put me off.  I picked out a few dresses (they really didn't have a lot that I liked, I think they catered to the more frilly, swathes of fabric end of the scale! and said I wasn't putting any on until the men had gone.  I mean, not in a diva strop way (honest!)  I just said I'd rather wait until the shop had emptied out a bit.

Eventually it did and so into the changing room I went.  The first two dresses I tried on I didn't even come out of the changing room, they were just horrible.  Oh, and did I mention, aside from the men in the shop, there were 4 other shop assistants all glaring at me with such looks of distaste I felt really put off!  I tried one on, and it was quite nice, I was really nearly sold, but I think that's because I was tired and I had just had enough!  I had picked out a tea length dress that was really quite 'plain'.  The woman seemed reluctant to put me in it and as usual, picked out all the 'fat girl' dresses for me, all of which I said no to.

On with the tea length dress.  Well, wow.  What else do I say.  It was amazing.  It didn't fit obviously, but you could see that if it were to fit it would do all it needed to!  It was a great length and was plain enough that I could add my own embellishments to it (stitching to make a sweetheart neck and a halter strap).  

Even my sister said it looked nice.  Breakthrough!!

Only problem.  The tag had, "One Only", written on it.  What did that mean?!  The shop assistant vowed to call me back in the week and let me know.

I went home and looked up the style and found that my local shop, Aurora Bride, is a stockist of this designer.  So, I called them on the Monday morning.  No sample to try on, but they could order it.  Taking a skive to work I popped down that afternoon and am pleased to say, I finally have a wedding dress on order!

The design and style?  Well, that would be telling....

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Dress Shopping: Part Deux

Yesterday I went to look at more wedding dresses.

I was filled with apprehension.  Firstly, the whole plus size thing, and secondly, the whole price tag thing!

Our first appointment was at All That Glitters in Allders, Croydon.  The staff were lovely, but one of them couldn't stop talking, and the other one seemed bored with the whole thing and every time I said I didn't like something they'd picked out, she almost had to really stop herself rolling her eye at me.  She insisted on going through the book of dresses they had in stock and picking out all the things over a size 18, regardless of whether or not I liked them!  Erm, surely the whole point is that I LOVE my wedding dress?!

So after a few false starts we eventually found a dress, Amanda Wyatt's Princess dress.


But to be fair, I definitely wasn't 100% about it and I just wanted to get the fuck out of there, it was so hot in there and the girl kept talking and the other girl kept rolling her eyes.  They told me I could have a lace back and but it would cost an extra 20% of the dress price.  I could have the train removed but eye roller didn't like the sound of me asking that and almost made out I wasn't allowed.  I could possibly have the straps removed and a halter neck put in.  Verbal incontinence girl kept saying it was all possible and eye roller kept rolling her eyes and in the end I realised, if I was having to make all these changes to it, it was not the right dress at all!

So, slightly disheartened we headed for lunch.  I was dreading the afternoon appointment even more, at Aurora Bride in Cheam, litrerally a 5 minute drive from home.  The reason I dreaded this appointment was for 2 reasons.  Firstly, I had tried to get hold of the shop in July when I first went dress shopping.   After leaving two messages and emailing them, I still had no joy.  I was pissed off but quickly discovered when trying to make appointments that most bridal shops are shut on Monday's.  Buggers!  So I was clutching at straws a little bit when I decided to give them one last try and sent them another email for an appointment.  3 days later, no luck, drawing closer to my day off that would be wasted unless I could cram another dress shop into the afternoon, my mum called them.  Finally, she had luck!

Now this is where I started to worry about this appointment.  Mum might have embellished it but the lady on the phone more or less said that as a plus size bride, as long as the dress fitted, it would be 'fine'.  Hmm, okay, so as long as the dress fits me, I should be god-damn happy I got into a wedding dress at my size?!  I was slightly enraged and when telling this to the girls on Twitter was told I should cancel the appointment.  Now, don't get me wrong, I should've done, but really, I had to try more dresses on because time is running out!!

So, off we trekked.  Arrived to be greeted by a pretty huge shop, nicely decorated, gorgeous soft carpet and the shop assistant in her socks, how relaxed!!  She gave me a stack of red discs (oh dear, this reminded me straight away of my awful experience at the Bridal Factory Outlet I visited in North Yorkshire, which I realise I didn't blog about.... another time!) and told me to put them on the dresses I liked.

I told her briefly that I wanted relatively plain, tulle skirt, sweetheart neck and she totally got it.  Within 30 seconds she had pulled out 3 dresses that were just so spot on, I was like, "Why the fuck didn't I come here sooner!" and also I thought, "Why the fuck didn't the girls this morning get it this quick?!"

I went prepared to my second appointment of the day, I went home before to change, put on jeans and a tshirt and the secret weapons, my Gok Wan undies, notably a strapless bra and a sucker-inner-thigh-and-tummy shaper!  This did make it a bit easier in the changing room as I wasn't concious of my mummy tummy. That said, the assistant in this shop made me feel so comfortable, it was just such a breath of fresh air.

Into the first one, I can't remember it, but I didn't like it much.  Into the second one, now, this was a bit more like it.  Interestingly all the dresses I picked out were from Sincerity.

This is the 'first one'.  (The actual first one doesn't count!)

It was called Sincerity Krystle but I don't know what the style number is so I can't actually look it up and find the official pictures!  But at £875 it was quite reasonable.

This is the second one.

This one didn't have a name as the tag fell off so I know it's 4533 and here is the official picture:

At £935 it's still a reasonable price.

Here's some pictures of the details.

Skirt of the second one

Bodice of the second one

Bodice of the first one
So lastnight and when I had it on I preferred the second one.  I think this is because it actually fitted me.  That said, the first one I think will probably maybe suit me better.  I had a right old tizz about it in the early hours of the morning, and all this led to me feeling really depressed and calling in sick to work.  Fuck.

I don't know why it left me in such a weird mood.  I think because ultimately, I wanted a dress like this or this or a Candy Anthony (although, to be fair, I realised pretty early on I couldn't afford a Candy Anthony!)  And I guess because my dream was to have a short 50's style dress, I keep thinking I'm lying to myself by having something long and fluffy!!  


Friday, 21 October 2011

Ooh, Suits You Sir

I talked a bit in my last post about how we looked mostly at suits at the National Wedding Show at the beginning of the month.  Anyway, a few Google Image searches later, and this is what I've come up with.  Grey suits are pretty versatile, they go with most colours and aren't as 'formal' as black suits.  As we're having a purple and lime green colour scheme, Andy decided early on he wanted a grey suit.

See, look how perfect grey and lime green go together.  That said, I think Andy has already categorically stated he's not having a green tie!!

But lookey what else I found - James Bond (s) in grey suits:

Hello!  See, look how totally smart grey suits look (okay, the fact that it's Daniel Craig in said suit might help, but you get the picture!)

Another Bond (Can I just point out, I don't have a Bond fantasy....)

Of course, the Americans seem to do stylish weddings a bit better than we Brits.  Why is that?  Different kind of light?!

And not forgetting our Page Boy.  I think we're quite looking forward to H, one of Scarlett's oldest friends (no, not him from Steps!) walking down the aisle with Sca.  I found this picture, which is a quite nice little suit, but it had to be posted, purely for the kids face in the picture!

In other brief news, I was the very lucky winner of a competition on the Boho Wedding blog.  I've won a Hen Party Shoot, where the wonderful photographer, Celine Chaplin, will accompany us on our night out and photograph the whole thing!  How exciting is that?!  Better make it a good one!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

National Wedding Show: Belated Roundup

So I've been meaning to blog for like, weeks about our little trip to the National Wedding Show at Earl's Court.

I'm not even sure what possessed me to say we'll go. But we booked the Friday off working (believing it to be the least Bridezilla-fied day of the three possible!) and arranged for my mum to pick Scarlett up from nursery in the evening in case we were late back.

We arrived at Earl's Court station and walked up to Earl's Court 2 (I must point out, although this was like 1st October, it was a massively hot day, and I hate walking, so to get there and realise we could've got off at West Brompton was totally pants in my opinion!)  I digest.  It was already really busy when we got there, 35 minutes prior to the doors opening, and the queues were a bit of a crazy ass mess with no clear signage or idea of which queue we were meant to be in.  Needless to say, it was the wrong queue!

So eventually we got in and decided to more or less head straight to the catwalk to get a good seat for the first show at 12:30.  We went via the Moss Bros stand as the main reason we wanted to go was to look at suits for Andy.  I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to try any dresses on (A: I was with Andy, kinda defeats the object and B: I knew there weren't going to be any samples in my size so I didn't even bother!)

Anyway, catwalk time! I did scribble a few notes and generally pretended to look like I cared but really, I was a bit bored by it all (No offence wedding dress designers!!)  There were some gorgeous dresses, but nothing I could see myself ever wearing.  Except for one, a gorgeous 50s style dress with a cerise pink petticoat and bow and it was gorgeous.  But I got so excited I think Andy may have guessed the type of dress I was looking for!!  So, not a lot there then.

After that we sort of tried to walk round in a uniform fashion to make sure we didn't miss anything out.  We chatted to a few people about wedding rings, one guy was lovely, totally laidback and just said, we're in Hatton Garden, come and see us anytime you want to try on and chat about rings.  The other lady, was really so pushy, it kind of really irritated me, I tried not to do what I normally would and be rude or just walk away but I could see Andy had totally drifted off and so I just had to listen to her patiently.  Anyway....!

What else?  We chatted to a few people about suits, and generally got a good idea of what we wanted, shit sorry, see what I said there, WE wanted.  I'll explain.  Andy wants tails.  And really, we're getting married in a barn, I think tails might be a bit much...!  So I think I managed to convince him that he should just get a lovely grey suit.

We took lots of honeymoon brochures, which I prompted put into a bag for Andy, telling him that was his department!  Well, it is isn't it?!  I badgered him into talking to the guy at the stand about how to pick his Best Man because 10 months later, he still hasn't picked someone...!  Well, he has, he just needs to ask him!

In the end, we were only there roughly 2 1/2 hours.  We were going to finish off with a trip to the Champagne bar, but at £10 a glass we promptly walked away!

The one thing I did learn, don't give your details to people!!  Let me be clearer.  I filled in lots of forms that day.  We signed up for our John Lewis Gift List (more on that another time) and I also filled in a form with the lovely people at the Wedding Ideas Magazine stand.  However, the one form I did fill in, which I severely regret, was the one at the County Wedding Magazine stand.  I think they're just very clever in the way they design and word their forms!  And I'm just too loose with my information!  But I have had so much spam/junk email and postal mail in the last 2 weeks as a result.

It's a shame more than anything.  At first I was a bit cross, but as time has gone on, and I've had more of it and stuff, I've just started to feel really bad for all the people sending me stuff, because ultimately, I'm ignoring them or their brochures are going straight in the recycling!  The only people whose email I did reply to was Tino & Pip because I've followed them on Twitter and well, it would be rude to ignore someone I kinda 'know'!!

I think I will probably go again, maybe, but with my mum and bridesmaids.  We're arranging to go to the Vintage Wedding Fair in Chiswick in November which I am really looking forward to and actually, I think that might be a bit more up my street.  So maybe, I won't go to the big one again....!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Off Topic: Kids say the darndest things

I wanted to share this. Because it made me laugh so hard.

The other day, Andy was reading Scarlett a book about 'Experiences'.  Going to school, going to hospital, moving house and one of them was New Baby.  So the new baby arrives but she could not for the life of her work out why the mummy was putting the baby on her booby.  Well, Andy explained, little babies get milk from their mummies boobies.

She was so disgusted, it was kind of hilarious, "Don't say these things to me!" she shouted.  No, it's true, we explained, that's how babies get food.  She was horrified.  "But I had it from a bottle!" she protested.

Well yes darling, that's because mummy suffered so badly with Post Natal Depression, it was probably for the best that she stopped doing so when you were 7 weeks old.  Obviously, I didn't say that, but we did tell her that for a short time she had milk from my boobies.

It was her constant shouting of, "Stop saying these things!" and "No, you're joking you are!" that was just so funny.  We also tried to explain that cows milk comes from a cows boobies but I think that just blew her mind.  Note: Dont Google Image search 'udders' with safe search off when your kid is sat in front of the computer with you!

Anyway, just thought I'd share because it really tickled me.  You probably had to be there.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

One dress down, 3 to go!

So the good news is that Scarlett's Flower Girl dress arrived over the weekend.  It had been going in and out of stock and I finally managed to bag one for her.

To remind you, it looks like this.

Whilst browsing the BHS site I found this.  If only it was a adult bridesmaid dress, I'd pass it off as a wedding dress!!

Also found this, it's quite nice.  I think I might be clutching at straws somewhat though!

Monday, 5 September 2011

I'm a bad wedding blogger, got my boyfriend in ya shower....

Whoop, I'm making 6 bucks an hour...

Well, I think I'm making more than that, but not as a wedding blogger (grumble grumble, insert snidey wedding blogger comment here!!)

But I am really quite terrible at blogging.  I guess the reason is that, yet again, the wheels of the wedding juggernaut have ground to a halt.  Again.

I say that but actually, we did make some huge payments this last week.  We paid off our registrar so eep, that's exciting.  When we went to do the official registration bit in Sutton we were wishing we'd kinda just come down to do it on the quiet.  But we were sans witnesses so we gave up on that idea!  But there was a couple there with just two of their friends who got married whilst we were there.  They had a bottle of champagne which they were drinking in the little garden out of plastic cups.  They only looked like they were about 20, bless.

The other thing we paid was the deposit for our band.  I kinda don't want to say who it is as we want to try and keep it under our hats until the night.  But I did reveal it on Twitter two months ago, so if you really want to know, go and shuffle back through my timeline!!  But I'm really super excited about it.  Like, really excited! I just hope they're as good as they look in their videos!

Also, we stumbled across the Vitamin String Quartet on Spotify the other night.  We decided we totally want to compile a playlist to be played during dinner.  Our favourite track was Gold Digger by Kanye West, it was just brilliant, we were in stitches!!  We also particularly loved their version of All You Need Is Love by, er, duh, the Beatles, which we're thinking of walking out of the barn together to after the ceremony.

But the main one, that I think I might walk in to is Just Like Heaven by The Cure.  It's The Cure.  It has a good tempo, Andy introduced me to The Cure when we started going out and really, it's just perfect in pretty much every way.  So, there we go, that's one job done!!

PS. If anyone wants a Spotify Open invite I have 26 of them!!  However, I totally recommend Spotify, I listen all day, every day, and do not regret for one minute paying £10 a month for it.  I don't care what you say, I'd be lost without it and it's made finding music for the wedding a piece of piss compared to trawling through YouTube and converting the files into MP3's....!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Barn in Full Bloom

Not really much explanation for this photos, but wanted to share what the venue looks like in the summer - Bloody Gorgeous!  It was set up for a wedding that day so it was interesting to see it laid out and not just empty.  Looked really different.  They've had a new drive laid and the grass was all lovely and soft and green.  The lake looked a bit manky so we might rethink our reception drinks idea and have it in the small rose garden instead or perhaps in a marquee.  The marquee shown in the pictures is not the one we'll hire - it was plastic - but the guy who owns the barn said he has contacts with a company who do a nice canvas one so we'll get in touch with him for that.

So anyway, here's some of the piccies:

Manky Lake - No, the swan isn't dead, just fishing for god knows what!!

Friday, 22 July 2011

How To Make Bunting

We're getting married in a barn, and well, we're on a super tight budget so filling the place with flowers is a bit out of the question so what better way to adorn the place than with some home-made bunting?  I was given a sewing machine at Christmas by Andy and had yet to use it for anything useful!  So I headed off to my favourite shop, Broadway Bargains in Worcester Park (run by the sweetest old ladies, I just loving going in there!!).  

I had already bought some purple and white gingham from them a few months back that I had yet to find a use for so I knew I just needed purple and lime green to start with.  They had the perfect purple but no green so I had to trek into Kingston to Fabric Land for the lime green but that was no hardship.  Also bought some binding tape (but I did this before I had found a tutorial and so it's a bit too narrow to be wholly useful!)

So I came home and did my research and found the most useful tutorial I think I have ever come across on the internet at Homemade & Happy.  Go check it out because it's better than what shall now follow!

I started by laying out my card triangle and making a repeating pattern (which you can't see for the gingham!!).

This is a slightly better picture on the green fabric.  Am doing double sided as the fabric is a bit thin and well, it looks more professional innit!

Cut them out with them pinned together (I went a bit overboard on the pins to begin with, one pin in the middle of each pair was enough really!!)

I missed a few steps in my pictures but basically, I stitched them together, cut off the excess fabric at the point, turned them right way out and used a pintail comb to push the points out (the original tutorial recommends using a point turner or a light coloured pencil but the pintail comb was all I had to hand and worked pretty well!!

This is the pile turned out.
Pop the cardboard template inside each one and give it a good iron to make them a nice flat shape.

Rare ironing moment, the only thing I have ironed in YEARS are these triangle!

Erm, yeah, then my picture taking went downhill and I didn't take any actual pictures of me stitching them to the binding tape (note to self: don't bother with How To's in the future!!).  But basically, the original tutorial uses inch wide tape, whereas I had only bought 1/2 inch tape, so I had to just stitch them straight on instead of folding the tape over the top of each triangle (penant, apparently!).  I'm going to use up the tape I have, by the time they're hung up in the barn, you won't see it.  I used a purple thread with a lime green bobbin to keep the theme going (even if I nearly threw the sewing machine across the room trying to wind the green bobbin, bastard thing!!)

Approximately half the finished article!

In the long run, I'm hoping to stich (or use that iron on webbing stuff!) to put some musical notes on the green ones, I've got some cut out ready to go but am enjoying making the penants too much to bother fiddling about with cutting out the notes (and the bass clef, that's the most important one, the bass (I pretend I can play bass, when in fact the gorgeous thing is sitting in my bedroom, out of tune and untouched!))

All cut out and ready to go (when I can be bothered!)

So, there you have it, the most half baked How To tutorial in the history of time!!  But I would recommend having a go if you have the time and inclination.  If I can do it, then really anyone with a bit of sewing machine knowledge can!