Diary of a Boho Bride – Alison and Joe, Entry 1: Choosing ‘The’ Dress. Real vs Fake

diary of a boho bride

Today on Diary of a Boho Bride we are meeting up with Alison and Joe, well Alison really as she talks to us about her wedding dress. Choosing ‘the’ dress is a wonderful experience, many brides find this the most enjoyable experience of the whole wedding planning, but others find it restfulness and a whole lot of bother. So much pressure can be put on a bride to find ‘the’ dress, not to mention the pressure of finding one in budget! Today Alison is talking us though her wedding dress experienceand it’s a very interesting one. She talks us though her views on fake dresses and her research into them and how they measure up with the real thing. I won’t tell you what she chose, you’ll have to read on for that.

I must say though that I do not encourage ANY bride to buy a fake dress. Admittedly a lot of people don’t realise they are fake when you by them, but if the offer seems to good to be true, it probably is. If you are buying it form the internet and it is costing a lot less than the one you saw in the shoo then chances are it is coming form a factory in china and it is a fake. If you want a cheaper dress my advice is to 1) buy a dress in a sample sale.  2) buy an ex display dress form an independent bridal store. 3) buy a dress form a high street range, such as Monsoon or Phase Eight. 4) Buy a dress from Oxfam bridal where they sell ex display and designer samples. 5) Buy form a pre owned store that specialize  in 2nd hand dresses. NEVER buy one from  the internet for £150 – £300 that looks like an original dress as it wild not be real. It will be badly made, it won’t fit and you will be incredibly disappointed

The video below from fake Britain is a really interesting wotcha and I advice you spend 13 minutes viewing it. The rise in fake wedding dresses is doing nothing to the wedding industry. Yes you may feel that wedding dresses are expensive BUT they are that price for a reason! The amount of time and work that goes into these dress is enormous and this is reflected in the price you pay.

I could go on fro ever, so I’l stop rambling and let Alison tell you her story.

Joe and Alison


I’ll pass the Blog over to Alison………..

I’m a Libra so making decisions is not one of my strong points as everything has to be weighed up. Choosing and buying a wedding dress was never going to be easy. This week I thought I’d share the journey…

When it came to dress shopping – the first thing on my mind was – “I’m not going to spend a fortune”.
I already had an idea of the kind of dress I wanted (I’m not going to say too much about the actual dress as Joe wants it to be a surprise). I am quite slim with a tiny waste so I already had in mind which shape dresses were going to suit me and those that wouldn’t. Sticking me in an enormous dress was going to result in me looking like one of those doll toilet roll covers that my great grandma used to make! (Google it if you don’t know what I’m on about!)
I had spent a little bit of time looking on the internet and started to notice these heavily discounted bridal dress sites. I do love a good bargain and got quite excited when I was finding dresses like what I wanted for a few hundred pounds. For anybody not familiar with these sites – they basically make replicas of designer dresses at a fraction of the cost. Most of them are made in China and sell the idea as you are buying straight from the factory. This seemed perfect to me.
My idea was to go to a couple of dress shops to try on a few dresses to confirm what I already had in my mind about what shape would suit me as people always say “oh you’ll be surprised what you like when you’ve got it on”. I went with my sister and the first shop we visited was the shop where, a few years ago, she had bought her wedding dress from – Pronuptia in Hanley (Stoke-on-Trent).

We went into the shop and instantly the woman recognised my sister and asked how her wedding had gone and told her they’d love to see some photos. (I was starting to feel a bit bad that I didn’t really intend on ever buying anything!) We looked around and I picked out four dresses that I wanted to try. One of which was very similar to what I had seen on the internet for a fraction of the price. Out of the four dresses, the two that were the shape I had in mind suited me perfectly. I didn’t bother trying on any fuller type styles as although I didn’t want the toilet roll doll cover look – I just don’t think they are me at all. I did really like the dress “I chose” but never got the “the one” feeling or tears or any of that kind of thing. I wonder now if I was perhaps holding back as in my mind I knew that I wasn’t going to be buying one of these dresses.
I wanted something light as I don’t fancy being weighed down all day by a huge heavy dress. The woman in the shop did say that if you find the right dress you won’t be bothered how heavy it is. I’m sure for a lot of people that may be true but I’m very practical and know that I would kick myself for spending the day wearing something uncomfortable and being too hot!

I went away feeling content that the style I wanted suited me and having found a particular dress that I liked. I then searched the discount sites and found the exact dress on there for less than a quarter of the cost of at the shop. It was then that I became obsessed with finding out about getting your dress made abroad. I kept reading reviews and the majority were really good. I also knew of a few people who had ordered dresses for low prices from abroad and been really happy with them.
After a while though, and thinking about the original dress I had chosen and all the intricate detail involved, I decided that I didn’t really want to risk a dress turning up that I was not happy with and then having to pay to get another dress anyway. I had looked into the whole ordering online thing and started reading a few bad reviews about the dresses not fitting right and not being like they are in the pictures. The dress starts off cheap but once you add delivery costs on it soon starts to add up and what starts off as a dress for around £100 is now more like £300+. I also read that you can have to pay taxes once your dress arrives too. It all started looking a bit messy and to be honest I was starting to get less and less enthusiastic about the idea…

real vs fake

(Photo source and article)

After a bit more searching on the internet I found a wedding dress outlet store not too far away so I took my mum and sister along to see what bargains we could find. I rang to make an appointment but was told I wouldn’t need one and to just turn up. We went along and there were plenty of dresses… at discount prices – yay! We were given numbered tags and told to put them onto any of the dresses I wanted to try and they would then collect them up and take them through to the fitting area. We looked through the dresses and I put a few tags on hangers as the dresses were “ok”. Nothing really stood out at me and all the time I was comparing every single dress to the dress I had chosen at Pronuptia. We were then told that the fitting rooms were full and if we took a seat it shouldn’t be too long. This time waiting made me realise that I didn’t even want to try on the dresses and to me I had just picked the best of a bad bunch. I went and told the man at the shop that actually I no longer wanted to try on the dresses. This was much to my mum and sister’s amusement and we left the shop giggling like three little school children.
We then went straight back to Pronuptia in Hanley the same day, tried on my chosen dress and I loved it. Although I loved it and it was the dress I had chosen I still didn’t get the feeling I thought I would. But I did really really love it – I think maybe I was expecting too much after reading and hearing the same phrase over and over “you’ll know when you’ve found the one”.

I ordered the dress back in March this year. They said it would take six to nine months for the dress to arrive into the shop. Well after ordering my dress I then became obsessed with wedding dresses – Pinterest, designer websites, shops’ websites, magazines… wedding dresses were on my mind. As the months went by I started seeing other dresses and starting to doubt my decision to buy the dress I had and wondered if I had rushed into it. In the end I decided that I had chosen it for a reason and that it would feel completely different trying on my actual size to trying on a dress three dress sizes bigger.
During this time I also kept looking into ordering “fake” dresses from abroad and knew I’d made the right decision. I found a few sites online and a TV program called Fake Britain that did a feature on fake wedding dresses which confirmed my thoughts.


(Photo source and article)

My dress arrived into the shop a few weeks ago (in fact it was the very day we were introduced as the new brides on here which all seemed a bit odd!) I took two of my bridesmaids along with me to go and try it on. I was so worried that I wasn’t going to like it after so long. I made a bit more effort to do my hair and make-up this time as I think it always makes a difference when you are trying on an outfit. The woman at the shop bought out the dress and I instantly remembered why I had ordered it and how beautiful the detail was on it. I put on the dress along with my shoes (which I had also bought quite a while ago from the Debenhams sale – naturally). I loved it. I walked out and stood on the box looking in the mirror and cried. I felt like I had now reached the holy grail of the wedding dress world and realised “the feeling” that everyone kept going on about. I think some of the emotion was relief too – that I still loved it and it was still beautiful. I tried on a veil with it too and also loved that. I wasn’t going to rush into that though as the veil itself was £100. I decided I would think about the veil and took home the dress ready to take it back for minor alterations nearer the wedding.
The next day I started looking at veils on Gumtree. And found the exact veil I had tried in the shop, brand new still with tags and the bag being sold nearby for £25. So that is now sitting with my dress in my sister’s wardrobe waiting for next year.

The whole experience has seemed like a rollercoaster of emotion. Excitement, doubt, worry, relief, elation. I am so glad that I bought my dress from a local shop. The staff at Pronuptia have been lovely and I think getting the personal customer service makes a difference as it’s a big decision and I can’t imagine I will ever spend that much money on a dress again. I’m sure there are people who have had lovely dresses made abroad but to be honest I don’t feel it’s the right thing to do anyway now that I’ve looked into it. I paid less than £800 for my Sincerity dress and looking at the detail and the quality of the fabric and the design itself it’s money well spent. There’s a lot that goes into a wedding dress and from a lot of people and I think people should appreciate that. The saver in me has been kept content with my Gumtree bargain.



I think if I was to offer any advice to any ladies starting the dress quest after my dress journey – it would be to take your time and not rush into anything. I don’t want to offend anybody who has a dress from one of these sites as I’m sure some will be lovely but personally it is not a route I would take. I think second hand dresses or sample sales are a better way to save money.


For anyone considering buying online – then give this a watch…


Now onto suits – I’m sure that will be a much easier process as Joe knows what he wants and he won’t overthink everything like me

Alison x



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    Totally agree! Those cheap websites look tempting but it would be awful if your dress turned up looking half the quality you thought it would. Besides, you can always sell your dress afterwards if you want to make some money back. Glad you love your dress :) xx

    Artemis Stationery

    Yes it’s so perilous searching online for good value in a market your not familiar with. You can’t trust review sites as many fakers will file lots of good reviews about themselves. Last time I noticed that it was quite obvious as all the glowing reviews were by accounts that only did one review.

    Good tip on Oxfam, didn’t know they had sample/display items.


    Definitely wise to stay away from the websites, tempting as the photos can make them look great but when they arrive it’s a different story! And then you’re stuck having to find another dress and that’s more expense – and stress! Glad you found ‘the one’ in the end :) xx


    Great post Alison, and wise words too! It’s so tempting to see your dream dress at such a cheap price… but much safer to stay clear!
    The dress I loved was WAY too expensive, but I found it on a ‘preloved’ website, went and tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I paid half the price that I would have paid for it new! It has only been worn for about 8 hours before so that’s barely second-hand in my book! It’s another option though, for anyone who doesn’t have a big dress budget! x


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