113 dresses and 11 boutiques later …
Saturday was the day of all days… beautiful dresses, bubbly and beautiful people! And, after all of the palaver with the cheating dress, I found my dress soulmate, THE DRESS.
Mum, Viki and Bec came over at midday and we made our way down to Southampton to meet the lovely Imogen from Ava Louise Bridal. We had a CD playing that Bec made me for my 18th Birthday and a never ending supply of sweeties courtesy of Jules. Somehow, I had the appointment times mixed up and so we were half an hour late (oops) which meant we’d lost half an hour of our slot. Luckily, having already visited 10 boutiques and trying on 107 dresses, my bride tribe and I are very well versed and make our decisions pretty quickly. We definitely made ourselves at home, taking no time at all to start scanning the racks and pulling out the dresses we wanted to try. Imogen already had the 2 dresses that I’d contacted her about ready for us and we (I say we, mainly Vik and Bec) added 4 more with a view to starting again completely afresh, no preconceptions.
Wedding Dress shopping is just THE most fun – there is something beautiful about every single dress! Ava Louise Bridal boutique is dreamy and creates a very calm and romantic atmosphere. All of the dresses are downstairs on the first floor, the upstairs is split into a changing room and what I would call the ‘showroom’. The changing room is a big room with 2 mirrors and a collection of pretty Dessy Bridesmaid dresses. Imogen asked me which dress I wanted to start with and I eagerly suggested my very favourite…she suggested we leave that one til last and I think it was a wise tip! I’ve visited so many boutiques and have really noticed the differences in the people I’ve met with. You get a sense of someone that loves what they do, someone that wants to do more than sell a dress but wants to give you a positive, lovely and memorable experience. Simply giving advice, suggesting something different to what the bride thinks they want, taking the time to listen and ask questions outside of the obvious, it all makes a difference.
The showroom is a lovely room with a sofa and chair, table with strawberry bon bons (amazing!) and the biggest mirror I’ve ever seen. After my experiences at Glamorous Gowns I was so pleased to be back in a boutique that clearly valued the little things too, creating an experience and making it a comfortable and enjoyable time for my Mum and the girls, too. I tried on the first 3 dresses but the decision was quickly made that they weren’t right – beautiful, but not right. There was a surprise when I really liked one of the final 3 and it suddenly became an unexpected contender. The second to last dress was one that I had paid to have loaned to the boutique so I was very keen to try it on – I felt like I couldn’t ignore it. As soon as I slipped into it I loved it. It felt beautiful, it was elegant and unique – I must have stroked myself for a good 5 minutes feeling the softness of the fabric. I was prepared to be trying on both again.
But then came the last dress, the favourite, the one that I spotted first when I stumbled upon this new collection almost a month ago. It was everything I’d imagined. I knew instantly this was the dress. There was nothing I could doubt or question, it was just everything I dreamed it would be when I saw it the first time. Mum, Vik and Bec all agreed, it was their clear favourite, and as Vik popped my hair up, Imogen slid a beautiful veil in to place… I melted a little with excitement. This was exactly how I’d imagined looking when Ryan sees me for the first time on our Wedding Day. As vain as it sounds, I think I could have stood looking at myself for hours. I felt so happy. And, those little butterflies from the beginning, from the day Ryan proposed, made another happy appearance.
A Wedding Dress should transport you to a magical, beautiful place filling you with bewildering giddiness.
So that was it, after the drama of the naughty, cheating dress, the decision was made, my measurements were taken, the paperwork completed and deposit paid. We left the shop on a high, super excited and extremely relieved haha! Now it was time to head back home for the girls to try on both Bridesmaid dresses Mum had made and take their measurements. Oh, and start on the first of 4 bottles of bubbly! Viki was so nervous she proceeded to spill half her glass of Prosecco over herself, me and the sofa as Mum took a few celebratory photos. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that 2 dresses were made, both in a different colour and that we had already decided which to go with, but still, it was fun to try both on – after all, who can refuse a pretty dress?!
Seeing the girls for the first time, I was leaping around the lounge room with excitement – they looked absolutely incredible, both so beautiful! The dresses were completely perfect and exactly how I’d imagined and hoped when I pinned the first ‘dream wedding’ picture 9 months ago. But to think that my Mum made them, like actually made them, from scratch … just wow, it astounds me how clever she is. The dress that will be worn on the day was made too big so that it could be fully tailored to the required size and measurements for both Vik and Bec but even with the pins in, it was easy to see how fabulous they’ll look together on the day. Mum definitely deserves a HUGE present – she completely surpassed all my expectations, I’m not sure I can thank her enough ♥
Since I can’t show pictures of my dress or the girls dresses, I thought I’d show off my wonderful Mama’s beautifully intricate and delicate wedding dress… eeeeeek! Back in 1989, with a 9 month old baby, Mum made her own Wedding Dress. I asked her to bring it along so she could try it on again after all of those years. I hadn’t seen it, or her in it for a long time, and I really wanted her to have some fun reminiscing too. I love thinking back to how happy and excited (and probably stressed) she must have been – probably much the same as she is feeling now in her new role as wedding coordinator haha! She also made her younger sisters bridesmaid dress – can’t even begin to imagine how busy she was!!!
This is my beautiful Mama on Saturday, 27 years 9 months and 18 days after marrying my Papa. I tried to get her to do a spin but the camera didn’t really pick it up haha! It was so much fun seeing her back in her dress. On an already memorable day, it was nice to have another special memory. I love how completely stylishly dramatic the dresses were in the 80’s! She is such a cutie, too … ♥
… had to put the second pic in with the best bunny in the world making an appearance 🙂
After all the excitement of the dresses we started on the snacks and made our way through blocks of cheese, pizza’s, doughballs and crisps – relieved and still on a high. I probably should have been eating a salad and drinking water having just chosen my dress but hey ho! We spent the rest of the afternoon and night chilling on the sofa with music in the background, candles lit, just chatting and laughing with an endless flow of Prosecco – time flew. The simple things really do create the most wonderful memories.
I am hugely sentimental, if you’re reading this you probably know that already, and I’ve said it so many times, but I want to soak it all up and absorb everything. Just looking around that night and seeing my Mum with my 2 best friends, it really was lovely. Imagine having everyone you love in one place on your wedding day, crikey the emotions! I truly am blessed to have the most incredible, patient and supportive Mum and friends.
Sooooo… that’s the only ‘nightmare’ of the wedding planning process so far over. Out of it, has come an amazing day, the best – everything happens for a reason, right?! I just can’t wait to get in my dress again, I can’t wait for Ryan to see it, already I can’t wait for the pictures and video. I don’t think I’ll want to take it off, ever!!!! Maybe I’ll take it on Honeymoon haha.
I’ve wondered if I’m ever going to come down off of this cloud I’m floating around on but I just don’t see it happening, there is way too much to be excited about and look forward to!
140 days to go ….