And so it begins again … the hunt for THE DRESS!
With just over 5 months until our wedding I have cancelled the order for my dress!
Last week I received an email from the shop that I’d ordered my wedding dress from advising that they would be closing on 18th March. Two days later, my wedding dress was delivered to the store – 3 months earlier than originally advised and with no mention of early delivery. Maybe alarm bells should have rung then but I was just excited to be able to collect my dress and not have to worry about it being posted out ‘to an address of my choosing’ in May. I booked an appointment for the Saturday and enjoyed the excitement and nerves of waiting to slip back in to my dress.
Saturday came and Mum, Bec, Becky and I made our way over to Camberley for the 1.30 appointment. When we got to the shop it was rammed. There were 12 people standing by the door waiting for their 1pm appointment, along with 3 brides and their families currently trying various dresses on. It wasn’t quite how I’d imagined and hoped it would be when collecting my wedding dress – it just created an intense, bizarre experience, like in the episode of Friends when Monica, Rachel and Phoebe are at the Kleinmans sale. Poor Mum, Bec and Becky had to stand the whole time we were there.
When I did eventually get into my wedding dress, I loved it. It fit almost perfectly, needing only a small alteration to bring it in around the tummy (which I was super pleased about after the aforementioned binges). I walked out into the shop floor and welled up as I stood in front of the big mirror looking at my reflection but, as I looked down, I noticed something…and then something else. There was an odd orange mark, and a piece of netting/lace that was sticking out. I raised this with the shop owner who happened to be ‘taking care of me’ but, at the time, it seemed to be brushed over. After just a small amount of time actually in the dress, I was headed back to the changing room ready to take it off again, the mark still troubling me.
When I was out of the dress and it was hanging up in front of me, I had a brief moment in the changing room just me and the dress where I spotted more orange marks on the front and back. I called Mum and the girls in to check and verify that I wasn’t just being super picky or having some kind of crazy moment with my vision. They all agreed and Mum even said it looked like a dirty needle had been used or stained thread. There was no way I could accept the dress with marks on it. The shop owner also reluctantly agreed and said she would go back to the designer, dropping me an email on Monday.
We left the shop and went to grab a drink and much needed cake – I was in a bit of daze, I hadn’t ever expected the quality would be an issue. Mum mentioned that she thought the shop had altered the sample, it seems coincidental that it was delivered so soon after the shop announced its closing and that there were then issues with the quality. The shop owner did say she was a seamstress but I guess we’ll never actually know. All we could do was wait until she had spoken to the designer and confirmed my options.
The experience of choosing and collecting your wedding dress should be special and completely unique to any other experience – after all it’s a onetime thing! I’d compare my experience, however, to being in a Topshop changing room. I know there are far worse experiences out there in the wedding world (and world generally) but for me, and I’m sure many other bride-to-be’s, there is so much invested in your dress. Obviously it’s the most I’ll ever spend on a dress, but more importantly it’s the dress I’ll be marrying my love in, the dress that will hold and carry a thousand emotions and memories, the dress I’ll proudly show off to my daughters in years to come – there is so much more value to a wedding dress than just the material its made out of and the price tag attached to it.
On the plus side, after the failed appointment on the weekend, Ryan and I went to look at suits and it was a HUGE success. He looked a bit too good all dressed up and I literally, embarrassingly, blushed like a schoolgirl looking at him. God knows how I’m going to manage on the day!
Come Monday I had to chase the shop owner for an update, and after a few heated emails from myself, on Tuesday afternoon I finally had my options: Purchase the gown as it is with a £200 discount. Purchase an available size 12 dress the designer has in store, also with a £200 discount. Wait until July for a replacement in my size. Cancel the order. I find it unlikely that any bride would accept a £200 discount and walk away with a discoloured dress. If I’d accepted the size 12 with the discount, I’d still have had to pay for alterations. If I ordered a replacement, what was to say it would be in perfect condition when it was posted to me in July – assuming the shop sample wasn’t altered – I was not comfortable paying for something I hadn’t seen.
I cancelled the order.
At first I felt relieved at not to have to deal with a company closing down, but reality set in that I now had no wedding dress. I contacted Elderberry Brides in Basingstoke who are listed as a supplier of that designer. I spoke to them to get their experiences with the designer and see if I could order via them – surely the same thing wouldn’t happen twice?! The lady there, Pam, was so helpful and accommodating – she took the time to listen to me in my frantic panic and really settled my nerves. However, they advised that again, July would be the very earliest I could get the dress. Additionally, they’d need to know if I wanted to go ahead and place an order in less than 48 hours, otherwise July wouldn’t be achievable. I suddenly felt anxious (I am never anxious) and stressed, I was completely unsure as to what I should do. I’d already tried on over 100 wedding dresses before finding this one so starting again was a little terrifying – the other dresses I’d liked didn’t compare to this one. But now I had this niggling question in my head, what if its delivered in July and there are issues again, what if it’s just not meant to be? It sounds silly… can a dress even be fated?
After spending 4 months in and out of various shops, I now had no wedding dress with just over 5 months to go. Bless my Dad, I met him and my Mum for lunch where he suggested sending me and Mum to Paris or Rome – my parents really are utterly incredible. My brother sent the cutest message, he never fails to amaze me with his sensitivity – I always wanted a sister but my little Matty is unbeatable! Big Willow was the only person I told how anxious I felt and how sick the uncertainty was making me feel, his reaction was perfect and almost brought tears to my eyes, I cannot wait to marry him! Although I was feeling bleugh, I felt so lucky to have them and their love, concern and support.
Checking my likes on Instagram, scrolling through the blogs and going back to Pinterest, I started looking through new designers I hadn’t tried before just incase something jumped out at me. It did – a whole collection which lit my screen up and made my heart race. They were simply stunning and much more like what I thought I’d wear on my Wedding Day. ‘My’ dress didn’t make me feel this way anymore, I felt like a cheated girlfriend – the dress had cheated on me!!!!! I knew then that I couldn’t go ahead with ordering the dress via Elderberry; I didn’t see it as my dress anymore, it didn’t feel perfect, it was flawed and I couldn’t get that out of my head. And much like a cheating partner, once a cheat always a cheat – I couldn’t go back! This all ran through my head so quickly and suddenly I was sending links to Mum and pictures to Vik, the decision was made – I had to find these dresses!
Pam at Elderberry was great and completely understood how I felt – I would definitely recommend them to any new brides searching for the one! Viki said this was fate, at just the right time these dresses appeared and there is fairly local boutique stocking them in my size. I now have an appointment booked at a boutique in Southampton, (they are a Premium Stockist – i’m taking all precautions) ready to, hopefully, fall in love all over again! Fingers crossed they’ll actually suit me… otherwise I have no idea what i’m going to do!
They say nothing worth having comes easy… I’m sure that applies to wedding dresses too, haha!