It’s been 54 days since our engagement. I’ve been to 4 Wedding Dress Boutiques, tried on approximately 50 gowns and loved something about every single one. Pinterest, once again, was a major influence and, although I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, all the advice was to “try every style on”. And, so far, I have. Willingly.
Some of the dresses below I have tried, some I haven’t … don’t want to give anything way hehe ♥
The first boutique Mum and I visited was Amaryllis Bridalwear in Alton – they stock Maggie Sottero, Ronald Joyce, Justin Alexander and more. After a few too many hours spent on Pinterest, Maggie Sottero was at the top of my list and so, 2 weeks post engagement, I booked my first appointment. Had I of been a little less eager, Carol (MiL), Viki (MoH) and Bec (BM) would have come along but, unfortunately they had plans and I was just too excited to wait. It was a sweltering day and I was more than relieved as we walked through the door into the air conditioning. Our appointment was with Charlotte and she encouraged us to get straight to it. I’d made a promise to myself that I’d listen to the advice and try every style, even if I thought I wouldn’t like it. In no time at all, without even looking at the designers, we’d picked out 14 dresses! Charlotte was absolutely fab and her gentle, friendly attitude made me feel like part of a family instead of a customer in a shop. I would happily have tried on every dress they had and, of the 14 that I did try, it was very difficult to find anything not to like about each one.
Our second trip that day was to BOO in Hartley Wintney. – my MoH, Viki, bought her Mark Lesley wedding dress from BOO back in 2013 (see below ♥). Sharing that experience with her, and the moment she found her dress, is one of my favourite memories – I can remember her face as she saw her reflection and our reaction as if it were yesterday – it still brings tears to my eyes now. Up until that moment, I’d thought that feeling only happened in movies – now, however, I knew I wanted to find a dress that could make me feel the same way. When I visited BOO (then Brides of Odiham) in 2013, I loved the authentic boutique feeling – it was small but that added to the cuteness and the delicate experience. Recently, the shop relocated to Hartley Wintney but, thankfully, it’s still managed to keep its unique and authentic vibe. Mum and I picked out a selection of gowns, and Anna’s Mum (who also works there) pulled out a few additional suggestions, too. Mum proudly took photos as I sipped champagne, feeling every bit the Princess. All of the gowns were timeless, classically elegant and included designs from the aforementioned Mark Lesley, Alan Hannah, Mia Mia and Paloma Blanca.
One of my fave days … 23.11.2013
The third shop we visited was Confetti & Lace in Farnham. I found this shop searching for Sophia Tolli dresses, another designer at the top of my list. Carol and Bec came along too and I was excited for them to actually see me in a dress instead of just pictures! The 4 of us spread out and started eagerly gathering dresses – there was no holding back and I loved seeing the styles they liked. This was the only boutique where there wasn’t a mirror in the changing room – I had no idea how each gown looked until the curtain was drawn back. In most cases, it was a lovely surprise but in one case, it was majorly disappointing. Much like with my Pinterest venue, I found that my Pinterest dress was also not meant to be! Regardless of loving so many dresses before, it was strange to see myself in what I had imagined would be the dress and feel disappointed – actually, I think I was desperate to take it off. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures – I found this odd and it didn’t sit well with me. The other boutiques had encouraged us to take photos, giving a friendly reminder that sometimes your photos won’t show the true picture.
The fourth boutique was Madeline Isaac James, again in Hartley Wintney. When I booked the appointment I’d assumed the boutique was a collection of designer gowns, much the same as the previous boutiques. It is actually owned by Designer Natalie Gladman and the dresses are her creations. The boutique is fabulously quaint and on the day we visited Natalie happened to be there. You can really hear the passion when Natalie talks about her gowns, the inspiration behind them and how delicately they are made. We picked out 11 dresses and each one felt truly heavenly – the quality of the material, something Natalie described in detail, was second to none. Again we weren’t allowed to take pictures and I really do feel that’s a massive shame.
In each of the gowns I’ve tried on, I’ve stared at my reflection, glanced up and down, twisted into every angle physically possible and watched closely for the reactions. But, honestly, all that’s in my head is “will he like it?”.
Saying Yes to the Dress …
There have been 4 dresses:
1 that I have tried on 3 times now, is the overall favourite and I love every time I’m in it… but the pictures make me doubt it (a reason pictures are bad)
1 that had the best reaction but after trying it a second time I didn’t like
1 that I feel has possibly been overlooked although I have tried it on twice now
1 that I can’t really remember but do remember loving it when I was in it (a reason pictures are good)
Each time I think I’ve picked the dress, a couple of days pass, I skip back through my photos and question my decision. Does that mean it isn’t the right dress? Even though I’ve tried it on 3 times and on each occasion I’m certain it’s the right choice? Maybe I’m over thinking it – I don’t know. What I do know is that this is so much harder than I had ever imagined.