I started to think about my wedding dress pretty much as soon as we got engaged. I bought bridal magazine after bridal magazine to look through and see if anything caught my eye.
I hadn’t really got any preconceptions about a dress, other than it couldn’t be white because the vicar had asked to me consider the colour of my dress as it was my second marriage, but I had decided white wasn’t an option for me anyway as it's too cold for my skin colouring.
I didn’t really think a bodice top would suit me, plus I’ve seen too many brides at weddings either trying to keep their bodice tops up, or trying to keep everything in and I didn’t feel that I needed that added stress on my wedding day.
In the October following our engagement we were due to go to Bergerac in France to stay with one of Simon’s friends at his carp fishing lake, so I stocked up on magazines to take with me – fishing just isn’t my thing. My friend is getting married in May this year so I also got passed a few 'hand me down wedding magazines' off her too.
Whilst we were in France, I saw a dress in one of the magazines which really caught my eye, and it met both of my initial ideas about what my wedding dress should look like. In fact, this dress kept cropping up again and again, and I found myself looking out for it in magazines.
Simon and I had agreed to wait until we’d been on our family holiday in August 2011 before starting to book things for the wedding, so that’s what we did.
As Simon manages a local garage and his dad has his own business in Swadlincote, from the start we’d decided to support local companies and said we would try and keep our wedding arrangements as local as possible.
I soon went to visit the first bridal boutique, but as it was holiday time, both my mum and sister were on holiday. So I went to the shop in Swadlincote alone, and hoped it would help me get a feel for the dresses that were available and to have a look at prices.
I didn’t really know how much dresses cost and the ones in the magazines that did have a price attached to them were usually designer dresses and completely out of my price range. Although I hadn’t set a budget, I knew that if I saw a dress I liked, I would have it (within reason).
At the first shop I tried on three dresses, all of which had bodice tops and because I’d got a lovely tan from my holiday, they all looked beautiful, not at all how I’d expected them to look – so the “no bodice” theory was now thrown out of the window. I then made an appointment for the following week, to take my mum so that I could show her.
In the meantime I decided to have a look on the web and found another local bridal boutique, Alison Evans Bridalwear. Alison’s shop is only down the road from me and she’s been running it for years. I couldn’t believe I’d overlooked her! And there it was, staring out at me – the dress I’d seen over and over again in my magazines; it was meant to be. I emailed and made an appointment to go and have a look.
My mum came with me this time and we had a look through rails and rails of dresses. With my mum’s help I picked out four dresses to try on but couldn’t see the dream dress…
The dream dress was, apparently, in the sale room. Alison fetched it for me and it was the first dress I tried on. It was beautiful! My mum started to cry and said she didn’t want to see any more, for me that was it.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the dress (as there are too many family and friends reading the blog and it would ruin the surprise) but it is not white and it doesn’t have a bodice.
I opted not to have the sale room dress as it was a few sizes too big and would have needed quite a lot of alteration, so Alison ordered me a new one from the US.
I needn’t have worried about my budget either – as my mum insisted on paying for it. Where would we be without mums eh?
I was overwhelmed with the service I received from Alison and her staff (Barb and Angie), they really made me feel important and had so much advice and recommendations for me. I would definitely recommend Alison Evans and am getting all my accessories from there in a couple of weeks.
I know I’ve had my wedding organised for a long time but I’d always recommend looking for your dress well in advance. Yes, you may be able to get a dress off the shelf, so to speak, but more often than not, dresses have to be ordered and made. Many designer dresses are made by hand abroad and it’s not a quick job.
Also, a tip I read in one of the magazines is not to discuss your budget on your first visit. If you give the shop assistant an idea of budget they might show you dresses at the top end of your price range and you might miss out on your perfect dress, if it’s a little cheaper.
I ordered my dress in September 2011 and it was due to arrive from the States at the end of January… but we’re still waiting for it – although I have been told it is due in next week. So even through no fault of the dress shop, it can take longer than expected for a dress to arrive. So don’t give yourself another reason to panic, sort out your dress early.