It seemed that finding the perfect wedding dress puts brides-to-be under a lot of pressure... and now I completely understand why!!
There is definitely a massive expectation about a bride’s
dress. I don’t think that's specific to me but something that all brides must feel. Obviously
top priority for me was finding a dress that I loved,
looked nice in and felt great in. I only intend to get married once so
the dress had to be perfect. Then there was
the added pressure of finding something that Jim would think I looked
pretty in, something that
made my mum cry and that my dad approved of, something my bridesmaids
loved and something that would impress our guests on the day.
I knew that no matter what I turn up in my mum would think I was most
beautiful bride ever (that’s her job as my mother and I love her for
it). My bridesmaids (Fiona & Jenny) had also been very supportive
in the ideas of dresses I’d shown them. They are both much more
I am and I trust them to be honest with me.
I visited several shops over the course of a year and during that time had picked a top 3.
first dressed I'd really liked I'd tried in Logans, Cloughmills. The ladies who I saw there were
very helpful and were keen to try and find a style of dress that I liked
best so that my dress shopping could be a bit more focused. I'd
retried this dress in a shop in Leicester and still really liked it, but
The second dress I really liked, I tried in Petticoat Lane Bridal, Hillsborough. I
couldn't fault the staff there, who worked so hard and gave so much
great advice. I returned in June to try what I was convinced was my
wedding dress with my mum and Fiona and they were very kind in letting
me have a very last minute appointment to try the dress. We left the
shop that morning and I was sure that as Fiona had seen this dress I just
wanted to Jenny to see it then it'd be deposits, measurements etc.
same weekend we had booked an appointment with another dress shop
Forever Bridal in Belfast as they had lots
of designers I hadn't tried before and a selection of different dresses
by designers I had tried. As we waited on the sofa for the bride before
me to finish, I was chatting with Fiona and mum about my lack of tears
when trying on dresses. Nothing had made either me or my mum well up at
all. I wondered was this a bad thing? But concluded that maybe I just
wouldn't cry and that was fine.
The lovely ladies in Forever Bridal knew their stock so well, and after a very short chat with me selected some truly stunning dresses. The one that caught my eye was the second dress I
tried on. Even as I tried on the other gorgeous dresses, I couldn't take my
eyes off it. I asked to try it on again at the end, and they clipped a
veil into the back of my hair and left me with mum and Fiona. When they
returned, as they chatted to mum I stood, looking in the mirrors and
had a massive lump in my throat, before quickly announcing something
like, 'I should probably take this off before I cry.' It all felt rather
emotional and rather fast. Within a few minutes a deposit had been paid,
measurements taken and a dress ordered. The staff were so helpful, not at all pushy and I definitely got the sense they wanted to help me find my perfect dress, not just any dress. I'm sad Jenny wasn't able to
join us that day, but I'm so excited for her and Fiona to see me in my
dress in my size, and I predict a few celebratory cocktails that day!
I've made a few notes of thoughts I had or ideas I found
helpful while looking for my wedding dress. They might be useful to
other brides-to-be who are currently hunting for their dress.
Setting a budget is important. It’s
sometimes hard to imagine what price a dress is and it would be heartbreaking to
try your dream dress only to find it is outside your budget. Most shops will
ask about your budget before you try any dresses but if not it might be worth
asking them only to show you dresses within your price range.
Early in our engagement I realised I was probably going to have to fly
try dresses and have fittings etc. So I insisted mum and I tried dresses
in mid-2012, before we had a date or a venue considered. Some shops weren’t
accommodating and said that I couldn’t have a Saturday appointment when
wedding was potentially so far in the future. I never tried to rebook
with that shop.
Trying my first dress was bizarre and felt very grown-up, but it
instantly gave me an idea of what I didn't want. The more I tried the
more things I was able to narrow down what I was looking for.
Be open minded
and ask for advice
As much as I love to dress up for parties and
special occasions I can’t claim to understand how to dress for my body
shape (which is long, with giant hands and a tiny head – never noticed?
Have a look next time you see me! :))
and this is something that's extremely important when selecting a
wedding dress so I was happy to take any advice offered. I was also
really surprised when I tried on a particular gorgeous Jenny Packham
dress I'd been lusting after online, only to find it didn't look quite
how I'd hoped.
Initially I was open to trying anything – wedding dresses are largely
all gorgeous, even if the style wasn’t quite for me they are so
beautifully designed and so much time has gone into making them so I was
happy to swoosh around in as many as possible.
The ladies who’ve helped me in all the shops I’ve visited have been
amazing!! They know their dresses inside out and in most shops the
dresses I liked the best were not ones I’d even considered trying, but
ones they had suggested for my shape. Dresses also look completely
different when on, than on the hanger. In most shops they also did a
great job pinning me into to dresses which were a size or two too large.
It gave me enough of an idea of the silhouette of the dress, but I know
a dress in my size will look much nicer on me.
Consider your tastes and your shape
I didn’t think I wanted a dress with a fuller skirt, tending
to like Grecian, floaty dresses more.
Anything asymmetric at the top, maybe with one shoulder seemed to catch
my eye. I’ve never been a big fan of strapless dresses. They never fit me and I stand hunched trying
to make sure they don’t slip down. I also feel really over exposed and bare from
the neckline of the dress up. After trying on a few dresses we decided that a sweet heart
neckline was very flattering. It was amazing the difference a slight dip in the
Your Venue & theme ideas
I definitely found dress hunting easier once we knew where we’d be
married. The types of flowers and table
decorations we liked did play a part in my dress selection. Considering
where our photographs would be taken and how I would move around the
venue on the day helped guide me. I knew what would and wouldn't match the wedding day we were planning
For the first few months I was happy to try dresses and was in no rush to
settle on a dress. Once we hit the ‘1 year to go’ mark, I got a bit panicky
worrying that I’d maybe never find THE dress.
For anyone else currently in that situation, don’t worry... you will! I did!
After I was measured and a deposit was paid I
did have a slight panic. Not because I had any doubts about the actual
but again the pressure of the decision scared me
slightly. After chatting with my mum I realised that the dress I've
chosen is perfect, and I love it and it was the very best decision.
The dress I have picked is unlike
anything else I tried on but very much in my style. It felt like my dress, I felt like a bride and
could just see myself holding Jim's hand at Riverdale on our wedding
day in that dress.
I won't go into any more specific details
as I do want it to be a surprise for everyone on the day. I hope
everyone likes it as much as I do! (Although to be honest I don't mind
either way, because I love it!)