Finally. I have THE dress.
The decision has been made and the deposit paid, there’s no going back. Thankfully, I don’t feel like I want to.
Dress shopping has been a pretty long process. I’ve tried on over 100 dress and been to 10 boutiques;
- Amaryllis, Alton
- BOO, Hartley Wintney
- Teokath, Wimbledon
- Confetti & Lace, Farnham
- Brides of Southampton, Southampton
- Glamourous Gowns, Camberely
- Madeline Isaac James, Hartley Wintney
- Tily Mint, Fleet
- Bride to Be, Reading
- Elderberry Brides, Basingstoke
I never imagined I’d find it so hard. I don’t really have a ‘fashion style’ but didn’t think that would be a problem. In hindsight, I think it would have been easier if I’d had a better sense of what I liked and didn’t like. As much as I enjoyed shopping (I mean, who doesn’t enjoy trying on beautiful and glamourous dresses!), I did feel quite lost – I had no direction; I liked big, I liked tight, I liked trains, I liked low backs, I liked high neck – and that was the problem, I liked something about pretty much all of the dresses … but there wasn’t one that had stolen my heart!
After 5 months of incessant googling, virtual pinning and real pinning (and some pricking – bleeding on a white dress is a scary prospect) I decided I needed to bite the bullet and pick one. I’d tried on enough dresses and, clearly, I was just being too picky, putting too much pressure on ‘the dress’. After all, who tries on 100 dresses and doesn’t find a single one they 100% love! I needed a fresh opinion, someone who hadn’t seen any dresses and had no expectations or preconceptions… I drafted in Matt!
There were 2 dresses that were my standout favourites; a traditional Ronald Joyce gown from the first shop I visited, and a more daring Mori Lee gown. He was going to have to help me choose – I couldn’t make the decision on my own! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried at the prospect of making this HUGE decision with my brother, who has a unique fashion sense at times and is very straight talking… but, on the day, there was nothing to worry about and I’m so pleased he was with me at the time I picked THE dress.
Amaryllis has been my favourite boutique – the girls that run it are fabulous, so friendly and warm. We went back to try on my very first favourite dress, a beautiful Ronald Joyce dress that everyone loves. Over the months, I’d discount the dress but then always come back to it as a favourite. When I tried it on and was all ‘jacked up’, Matt loved it and was adamant it was the one – it wouldn’t be beaten. I loved being in it, loved how it looked and how it felt but I did have tiny niggling, possibly petty, concerns. I just put this down to me being ridiculous and Matt reassured me it was the dress. I put the ‘niggles’ down to my pickiness and we left the shop content this was the one. I think Mum was secretly pleased as this was her favourite from the beginning.
I love Mori Lee designs. There was a dress I’d repeatedly seen on the Pinterest but we couldn’t seem to find anywhere that stocked it. Mum happened to come across Glamourous Gowns and saw they had it in stock, along with my other favourite dress (Mori Lee again). I was reluctant to go to another shop (this would be the 10th) but as they had both gowns I felt obliged 😉 The mysterious internet dress, however, was very quickly ruled out – a reminder that Pinterest isn’t always the answer. The lady in the shop (Charlie) had picked me out a gown very similar to a Pronovias dress I’d tried on and loved, but ruled out, in Tily Mint (I decided not to go with it as I have a bit of an obsession with how material is joined). When I tried this gown on, I instantly loved it. I loved how it felt, how it sat, the shape, the size, the train – everything about it. I felt like a bride, but still like me. I just wanted to look at my reflection and not take it off. This was a complete surprise!
Eventually, reluctantly, I did take it off and tried on the other of my 2 favourites. This dress… it’s dramatic and was my favourite of the original 2. I was really surprised that Matt liked it as it’s much less conventional. I put it on expecting to like it as much as I had the other times I’d been in it, but I just didn’t – the new dress had completely stole the show, and in that moment I knew. I just wanted to take this one off and get back in to what was now known as THE DRESS. This was the one. Finally. There were no doubts, no niggles – it felt perfect and, without even speaking, it was clear Mum and Matt felt the same. It was so special having Matt there and I feel blessed every day to be so close to my little brother, even when I make him come dress shopping he is always there for me!
There were no tears, I just felt relieved and ridiculously excited. I’d really started to wonder what was wrong with me; how could I try on so many dresses and not find the one. I very nearly settled for a dress that I liked but that never felt like THE dress – I’d wondered if that feeling was myth. It isn’t – with this dress, my dress, I have that feeling – I love everything about it, its classy, elegant but is still a ‘proper’ dress – I find myself flicking through the pictures and, without realising, 10 minutes have passed!
Now when I’m daydreaming of getting ready with the Girls, Mama J and Carol, I see my dress and everything feels that little bit more real. I can’t wait to be in our room at The Eveltham, overlooking the beautiful grounds, bubbly in hand, sharing in the buzz and excitement of getting ready to meet Ryan at the altar! It’s only been a week since we found it but there have been so many times I’ve wanted to show him the pictures – I’m just so excited … I hope he loves it as much as we did ♥
Now to hit the gym … 277 days to go!