T A K I N G T I M E O U T
Friday 29th January marked another 365 days older for me and this year I turned 24, the age whereby I will become a wife, a homeowner and once again a student as I stupidly accept to starting yet again another round of studying at work (for this, I must be crazy).
Oh Em Gee….. When I say these things aloud my stomach decides to do this summersault motion and my heart starts to beat just that little bit faster, but ultimately it’s an effect of the excitement that is building alongside a small jar of nerves as Jason and I prepare ourselves for a year that I feel we both really deserve. We have watched the majority of our friends and family fly the nest, many of them marry and even start a family whereby up until now, our priority has seemed all work and no play with little voices in the back of our heads pushing us that little bit further before taking time out which I am hoping 2016 will allow us to do (by this I mean losing sleep over wedding D.I.Y and arguing over the colour of the walls, all whilst trying to swallow real life ‘£’ signs that occur as adults), so we are throwing in 110% of our efforts in creating what I hope to be a the start of a long and happy future together.
To begin my birthday celebrations I had decided to take a few days off which usually I’m not that fussed about when birthdays are concerned but this year I was determined to make it a special one, so I had organised for my mum and eldest sister to join me on a trip to the bridal store for a wedding dress fitting, followed by tea and cake at the french delight Patisserie Valerie and later, a family traditional buffet supper at home consisting of vast quantities of every kind of food imaginable which my 3 year old niece and dad had been preparing for us all day. Without disappointment, the day was exactly how I wanted it to be and the feeling of walking around in my perfectly fitting wedding gown knowing that it is one of the last times I will be wearing it before the big day itself just topped off the whole day and left me feeling as a bride-to-be should.
Preparing a wedding can often make you a tad critical of many experiences that are in my opinion a bit overrated, dress shopping being one of them. Therefore, I thought sharing my own experience may be of some comfort to other brides-to-be who may have felt the same and left a bridal store feeling a little disheartened after doing something that should have felt heart-warming.
S O . . .
In my own words, I’d like to share a few tips that I feel have helped me choose what I believe to be ‘the’ dress for me. & remember, your not trying to please anyone else but yourself and your new husband so don’t prioritise the opinions of others before your own. A good place to start is unlike a typical american TV show whereby a whole entourage of family and friends view and share opinions of the brides wedding dress, keep those shopping with you to a minimum, this way you can take along the opinions of the ones that you really trust and want to consider, rather than someone who is going to tag along for the ride and throw out comments like ‘I personally wouldn’t go for that’. For me, I limited this to just my mum and sisters and have decided to keep it this way until the day itself as they are the ones who’s opinions I really did take on board, after all they’ve helped dress me for the past 24 years of my life so far and I’m pretty sure they know my likes and dislikes more than bob round the corner.
Going against the ordinary, choosing the dress was not a priority as the reality of our engagement really settled in and instead I found myself throwing everything but the dress into the planning until I reached a stage whereby it was one of the few ‘big’ items left to organise. One of the main reasons I didn’t rush into this was purely due to the fact that I felt overwhelmed by it and as though there was a lot of pressure associated with finding ‘the one’ knowing that feeling confident on my wedding day is one of the main focal factors. After a good chat with the girls of my family, I’d decided to book my first appointment at a local bridal boutique nearby only having done the minimum research online and in magazines so that I wouldn’t be disappointed if a dress I’d fallen in love with on a model, looked awful on me. Personally, this worked out effective as it allowed me to try on a wide range of styles and shapes in order to pick out something that flattered my emotion and shape without having a comparison already embedded in my mind. I would recommend when visiting bridal shops, to go with an open mind and make a point of stating that there is more than just one style you wish to try on to get a real picture of how different dresses feel and look. If you attend thinking you know what you want and specifically asking for that, many shops may find 3 or 4 of that style and quickly your appointment time has run out and you haven’t had chance to see what a completely different style would look like on you. I also think a tip would be to chance your luck by asking if you can look through the rails yourself without having to describe a dress which is otherwise not visualised. Remember, the staff are there to help you and guide with experience however they are not there to make up your mind for you and you must always go with your gut and try your luck, it’s the most expensive dress you will ever buy!
I’d visited a few bridal shops within the city which all requested that I describe the type of dress that I wanted to try on and then the staff would take it upon themselves to pick out a few that matched my description and let me try them on. This is fine, except it left me with hardly any time to try on anything different and I felt as though I was being rushed through the process. I then attended a boutique whereby the staff would look at me and choose themselves what they thought would suit, which had both its advantages and disadvantages as it meant a whole range of styles were tried on but it also meant that I was just saying yes and no rather than having personal choice. Not finding anything after numerous days shopping I’d decided to ask for recommendation from those I worked with and friends who helped me come to a decision to look a bit further afield and I ended up travelling away from home about an hour to an independent bridal store; ‘Lavender & Jude’ whereby one of the ladies agreed to open on a day they were closed as it was the only day of the week I could make and she made the whole experience lovely. From the minute I walked in the door, I was greeted with a relaxed atmosphere whereby it felt that the whole appointment was about me. Claire, who I spoke with asked me about the whole wedding day not just what I wanted out of a dress and I felt that she got to know a bit of my personality and what I wanted from the day and the way I wanted to feel. We tried on various styles and I was able to see a dress and ask to try it on without feeling rushed or pressured into anything and time was on our side as I must have spent a good few hours in the store before finally choosing my dress. Every time I have visited since, I receive the same treatment and I’m left with confidence that it was worth waiting for.
Good luck to anyone hunting for that perfect dress & congrats to those who already have!