Wedding Talk (#4): Finding My Dress!

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I know it hasn't been all that long since my last wedding update and I know I promised that I wouldn't go on and on and on about wedding planning (I don't want to turn into a total Bridezilla!). But this weekend I ticked off something monumental - I bought my wedding dress! And it only felt right to share this momentous occasion with you all - after all you only get to buy an eye wateringly expensive white dress once in your life, right?! So today I thought I'd tell you all about my experiences of finding my dress - including the good bits, the bad bits and everything in between. I apologise in advance that this is a bit of an essay - this blog is a bit of a diary for me and I really want to be able to capture all of the feelings and details so I can remember it when I'm an old lady... I first started looking for a dress in around March/April time and I was pretty apprehensive about starting my search - I'd read so much about how it was a magical experience and how everyone would cry at the first sight of me in tulle and how I would just *know* when I'd found the one, etc etc. It all sounded like quite a lot of pressure to place on what is essentially shopping for a fancy outfit.

Add to that the fact that are literally thousands of different types of wedding dresses and it all gets a bit overwhelming. I had no idea whether I wanted lace or tulle or silk or vintage or classic or big skirt or fishtail - the possibilities seemed endless. So I started where most brides to be start - with a Pinterest board! A few hours spent trawling through images of gorgeous brides with a glass of wine in hand and I had a better idea of what I was looking for and I made an appointment at a bridal store in Manchester that stocked some similar styles.

I'm not going to name the bridal store because quite frankly, the staff there were AWFUL! They seemed so disinterested in the whole thing and didn't really help us at all. They put a limit on how many dresses we could try on and didn't give us any steer on what different shapes and styles they stocked. The lady serving us actually sat on her phone for half of our appointment - not quite the service you expect when you are about to spend a serious amount of cash on a dress. We left feeling quite disheartened, even more confused about what I wanted and seriously underwhelmed - it definitely didn't feel like that special experience that you see on films or hear other brides gush about.

Which was probably why we had quite low hopes for our next weekend of wedding dress searching. My Mum and sister came over to Leeds and we scheduled appointments at three different stores on the outskirts of the city - all of the stores were very very different, but each of them was a much more positive experience than our first appointment! I tried on tonnes of dresses, not ruling anything out at all and it really is true what they say - the ones you like are often the ones you wouldn't have picked yourself. I would really recommend that rather than doing loads of research you just go and try some on and see what shapes and styles suit you. Probably the nicest experience we had during this weekend was at The Bridal Boutique in Baildon - the ladies were super lovely and attentive and really used their expertise to help me narrow down my search. Plus they introduced me to the wonderful Suzanne Neville, who's dresses I just absolutely fell in love with, one of them especially really caught my eye. Her cut and style seemed to really suit me and I knew I wanted to try more on.

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Fast forward to the Saturday just gone and I found myself in Suzanne Neville's boutique in Wilmslow ready to try on some more of her dresses. From the moment I stepped into the shop I knew it was going to be a lovely experience - the manager ushered us into a gorgeous room and brought us out tea in cups and saucers while we chatted to her about the sort of style I liked and the sort of wedding we are planning. She picked a couple of dresses and we picked some too and she was so helpful while I was trying them on, pointing out which bits could be altered and pinning and clipping everything so I could get a better sense of the shape.

I tried on the dress that we had all loved at The Bridal Boutique on first and it still made me feel giddy when I put it on (plus it made my Mum cry which is always a good sign, right?!), but the lady encouraged me to try more on just to so that I could be confident I was making the right choice. And when nothing else really stacked up she spent time with us playing with veils and showing us how the dress could be styled on the day. She didn't rush us or pressure us - it was just a really lovely, fun experience, and I knew wholeheartedly that this was the place I wanted to buy my dress from.

With the decision made she headed out to the back and popped open a bottle of champagne for us to celebrate with - again this was a really unexpected but lovely touch that just made the whole moment feel so special. She gave us plenty of time to soak in the experience and chatter excitedly which I was really grateful for - I'll never get to do this again and I'm really glad my Mum, Molly and I had the time to enjoy it rather than rushing off.  Now I'm just sad that I don't get to see my gorgeous dress again until next year - it feels far too long away!

Now that I have my dress I feel even more excited about the wedding, which is ONE YEAR TOMORROW. I can't believe we are now at the 12 month countdown - time seems to be flying, but we have got most of the big things sorted now which is making me feel a bit calmer about all of the speediness. Now we can start planning all the fun stuff - I've already been eyeing up DIYs to get stuck into!

Apologies again that this post was such a long one and GO YOU if you actually made it to the end! I'm going to do another post soon rounding up some of my tips for wedding dress shopping so keep your eyes peeled for that one if you're in the market for a very expensive fancy dress...