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!!