This morning I am whisking you off to beautiful Sintra in Portugal for this super...
For regular visitors to the blog you will by now know Boho Bride Laura quite well, she has talked to us so far about the search for her wedding venue as well as sharing with us a few of her DIY projects. Laura is planning a DIY filled wedding next September in Sheffield.
Today she is going to be talking us through her Dress story how she found it, what she was expecting, what she got…….. the whole dress experience, along with her dress wobbles and how she fell back in love with her dress.
I’ve been with Laura throughout her dress journey and it’s been an up and down one. I guess when you are spending that amount of money on a dress you want it to be right! So what she went through is only natural! I also bought my dress in the first shop I went to, I also chose mine nearly 2 years before the wedding!……….and yes I also had a dress wobble after seeing another dress at a wedding show. But I went and tried it on and it really didn’t suit me, so that just made me love my dress even more!
Everyone has a story, I’d love to hear yours!
I’ll pass you over to Laura………….
I have heard many a story whilst being engaged about ladies who have been dress shopping and found ‘the one’ amidst flutes of champers, in a glamorous bridal shop after hunting high and low, with gasping bridesmaids and teary mums. Truth be told, I found mine in the first shop I went to; a gorgeous little boutique called ‘The White Room’ tucked away from the high street in Sheffield, with a friend who I asked to come with me as she had dress shopping experience, whilst feeling sick and shaking with nerves. There were no tears. There was no champagne. There was most definitely no squealing bridesmaid or emotional family member.
Not one to be happily full of body confidence, I was absolutely dreading wedding dress shopping. I even cried before my first appointment and begged Chris to come with me (he didn’t – he’s a traditionalist). The thought of dresses looking hideous on me and stripping off in front of an assistant was my worst nightmare. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted, and just knew that I didn’t like the ‘classic’ a-line gown, or anything that felt like I could fold it in to an origami crane in a matter of minutes. I wanted a dress I could saunter down the aisle in, wow my groom in, eat a steak in, and then rock out in.
The first dress I tried on was gorgeous (Stephanie Allin – Bardot), but then I looked in the mirror and felt nothing more than a girl in a wedding dress. I didn’t want a wedding dress. I wanted a dress to get married in. I felt like I was playing fancy dress, from a box of grown-up gowns with rather large price tags. I was terrified.
I think the best piece of advice in life I have ever been given (by the future mother in law no less) is that ‘if you don’t know what you want, find out what you don’t want’. This is definitely true with so many things, including dress shopping. I ruled out fishtails on the fact that they made my hips look HUGE. I ruled out corsetry on the fact that I couldn’t dance or eat. Once I knew what I didn’t like, it all became much clearer.
The boutique owner was amazing, suggesting wondrous gowns that matched how I was feeling. With more positivity, out came the tulle, the lace, the embellishments and the fringing. I learnt that she knew what would suit me and though a dress might look rubbish on the hanger, it is made to look amazing on a woman’s body.
I absolutely cannot praise Chloe, the owner of the White Room, enough. Not only is she, and her shop, absolutely stunning, she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She talked me through how to put each dress on to make me feel comfortable, and let me stand in front of the mirror for as long as I liked. She answered all my stupid questions, and let me change my mind as many times as I liked. There was no pressure, no sales pitch, just a very lovely lady helping me discover a world of beautiful gowns.
As I got more relaxed and comfortable I spotted a stunner of a dress, one which I wouldn’t have given a second thought when I first started looking. Chloe urged me to try it on, ecstatic that I had gained the confidence to try on the gown. It was flattering, glamorous, relaxed, pretty, sexy, and comfortable and made me feel amazing.
On a visit a few weeks later, I dragged my mum to the shop to see it. I’m sure her head was filled with a random set of images after I had excitedly given her a rather vague and haphazard description of ‘the dress she just had to see’. She saw it, watched me dance around the shop in it (I may have even fallen down the steps in it I was so giddy), waved at the lady on the street who gave me a thumbs up through the window, and paid the deposit there and then. I was speechless. I still had ages before the wedding, should I really be choosing my dress now?
As she drove home the next day, I received a text from my mum that read: ‘you looked amazing in that dress, it was meant for you’.
Then I cried.
Fast forward a few months from the big ‘I’ve found my dress’ moment.
Massive dress wobbles. I haven’t seen ‘The Dress’ since late 2011 and I have completely forgotten everything about it. That’s the problem with picking a dress so soon – I’d forgotten how it made me feel and what it looked like on me. I’ve seen it featured numerous times on various wedding blogs and each time think ‘it didn’t look that good on me, I cannot carry off that dress’. It got to the point where I would skip past any article that mentioned my dress, and any picture of a bride in it made me feel physically sick.
A quick phone call to my mum and she told me to get into the shop and put it on again, and Chloe at the dress shop, forever accommodating and lovely as usual, booked me in right away.
I feel now I should introduce you to my three bridesmaids – all grown up lovelies who have supported me through thick and thin from the age of 16. They have been with me through Uni, each so different to one another and yet I couldn’t be without. They are blunt, caring, honest and aren’t afraid to put me in my place – no chance of bridezilla occurring on their watch! I’m sure we shall talk bridesmaids in more depth when it comes round to their dresses and the hen-do (I’m excited already!), but for now all you need to know is that they are amazing! No doubt then, that a bridesmaid was recruited for this dress shop visit. If there were thumbs down, or even a slight frown, I was well prepared to start dress hunting all over again.
Even though I’d made sure to do my hair, and dug out eyeliner from the depths of my make-up bag, I was incredibly nervous when I went back to the shop and got completely overwhelmed when I saw the dress on the hanger. I didn’t particularly want to put it on for fear of not doing it justice, and didn’t want my dreams to be crushed if I didn’t like it. I couldn’t even imagine any other dress on me, so was terrified at the thought of having to re-address what I wanted to look like.
Chloe coaxed me into the changing room, and then the dress. She pinned it in the back because the sample was slightly large, and I shuffled out onto the shop floor. I kept my gaze directly on the floor, not only because I had very high shoes on and needed to concentrate, but I wanted to be sure of my feelings before I checked with my bridesmaid for her opinion. As I turned to face the mirror I let my gaze drift from the plush carpet floor, to my newly purchased designer heels, up the beaded skirt and finally to my own face beaming back at me.
I think the squeal I let out must have deafened the canine population within a half-mile radius – confirming that I loved it, and it is most definitely still my dress. Of course, my bridesmaid loved it too, clapping her hands with glee like a seal – we made a right pair! I strutted around the shop for a bit, declared very un-modestly that it ‘made my arse look great’, and continued to grin like a loon for the entire day.
I felt incredible, nothing like I thought I would, and I hated that I had let the wobbles overwhelm me for so long. I really had tormented myself over nothing. I had a rubbish picture on my phone of me in the dress from a previous visit and immediately deleted it. I hated that picture, it wasn’t flattering and I don’t think the dress being a bit big had done me any favours. That photo had fed my worries for months, so I’ve promised myself that the next photo taken of me in the dress will be by my photographers!
The designer of The Dress has very helpfully (not!) decided to put her prices up in the summer. By at least 5%. Ouch. Chloe whipped her tape measure round me (she was so fast I hardly noticed – incredible), and we decided to order it there and then. I could postpone it, induce more of those evil wobbles and pay an extra £250+, or just man-up, bite the bullet and get MY dress made. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to think that around October my dress will be sitting in the shop waiting for me. It will be altered a little and then all is left is for me to adore it, shimmy down the aisle and know that if I thought it made my bum look good now, then hot-damn, I can look smokin’ on the day.
We are all our worst critics after all, and sometimes you just need to push those mean little voices out and consider how it makes you feel inside. If I feel amazing, I’m pretty confident I will look amazing.
Oh and all your brides out there having wobbles? Delete those crappy photos and think about how it made you FEEL.