Hi! I’m Laurie-ann. I’m from England and I was inspired by Ashley’s post “The Dress” to write about my own wedding dress search in the UK.
I have never been a super ‘girly’ girl, I love some girly things, but 30 minutes into a shopping trip I’m bored and getting grumpy. However, my gorgeous fiancé Michael proposed to me in September last year I was really excited about going wedding dress shopping with my mum and mum-in-law-to-be. I have now found my dress, but in between my fairy-tale and movie inspired idea of what wedding dress shopping should be like and finally getting my dress I had a few reality checks along the way. J
Wedding Dress Shopping – Take 1: The Wedding Fair
As we were walking round we saw a lovely wedding dress exhibitor, the assistant offered some help and found me a dress very close to the style I wanted. I followed her into what she significantly oversold as the changing room. It wasn’t a room, it was the curtained-off back section of the stall that also doubled as their storage area.
This was my first time trying on a wedding dress so I was feeling embarrassed anyway, so in this tiny 2mx3m² ‘changing room’ I had to strip down to my underwear and then be helped into the dress, definitely not a glamorous moment. It wasn’t a wow moment, so once mum had seen it I returned to the changing to undress and it only got worse, like I say having one person (the assistant) in the changing room was bad enough but now there was another bride and another assistant and I had to disrobe down to my underwear (whilst simultaneously trying not to put my bum or boobs in someone’s face) in a glorified store cupboard. Truly mortifying.
Wedding Dress Shopping – Take 2: The Wedding Dress Outlet
I thought we would avoid wedding fairs for a bit so we found a local wedding dress outlet, who sell all brand new dresses and designers samples and the maximum price was £499! Sounds good so far. The two dresses that I had fallen in love with online weren’t in stock, I asked the assistant (who had already been quite frosty with us when we entered the shop) if she could help me find some dresses in the style that I wanted and I was waved away and told to go look for myself.
I was starting to feel a bit disheartened at this point but my lovely ladies cheered me up and together we picked out what we thought were four amazing dresses. I was helped to the changing room (actually a proper room this time) by a young, eager and cheery lady who was really interested in the wedding and how the preparations were coming along. Again came the embarrassing time to strip down to the undergarments (at this point I would like to point out the young, eager and cheery lady was about 3 sizes smaller than myself). So I was standing there in my underwear and she turned looked at me and said so how much weight are you going to try and lose before the wedding. Tip to all wedding dress assistants: it’s difficult enough imagining being judged whilst standing barely clothed in front of another human being that you’ve only just meet, don’t then suggest or infer that they need to lose weight in order for them to look amazing on their wedding day!
At that point frankly I wanted to walk straight out, but I stood tall, and I then was manhandled into four dresses and paraded out to the ‘viewing area’, two of which were really nice but I was so saddened and felt so humiliated I just wanted to leave.
Wedding Dress Shopping – Take 3: The Wedding Dress Sale
In our next attempt, and against my better judgement, I decided to go with my mum to a wedding dress sale. Again the boutique assistant was icy but I had become used to this sort of response, and unfortunately again she showed no interest whatsoever in helping me find the dress I was looking for. My mum and I were in high spirits though and eagerly looked through rails and rails of dresses. We picked three out and I walked over to the changing area were a lovely woman took the dresses.
Changing in and out of the first dress was fine as I was the only one in the changing area, however when I was standing waiting (in my bra and knickers) to get into the second dress two more brides came in, accompanied by their assistants. Great so now there were 6 of us in total and the other two ladies were about a UK size 6 which really didn’t help my confidence. As I stepped into the second dress I hear one of the other assistants say to their lady ‘…Well this is way too big for you but we don’t have anything smaller on the rails so I’ll go and get some grips to pull it in a bit so you can see how it would fit…’, her dress was a size 6.
To finish off the humiliation my assistant was attempting to jostle me into a dress and she suddenly said ‘Can I have a hug?’, I turned round and said pardon, ‘Oh know I was talking to the other assistant, whilst I pull the dress in she’ll try and do the zip up, not sure if it’ll work, it’s really too small for you’. Great I thought, then I was pulled and ‘hugged’ and zip just wouldn’t go. At this point I was almost in tears and just wanted to leave. The assistant noticed and said that she would look and try and find more ‘suitable’ dresses, I nodded politely even though inside I just wanted to run out of there and never look back. Quite a while later and after trying on some frankly hideous dresses my mum and I left.
So I have now found a wedding dress (privately) and I am meeting a seamstress at the end of the month to get it altered to the style I want, but it’s gorgeous, hand beaded, satin and absolutely beautiful.
Following the various wedding dress related horrors, my mum and I have started Weight Watchers, to build the confidence we have in our own bodies and for a long term lifestyle change. I am now 9 weeks in and I’ve lost 12lbs, 3 1’2” off my waist and 4” off my hips, I love the SmartPoints system, I feel amazing and I have dared myself to go sun bathing and wear a bikini this Summer.
I have started to truly love my body, it’s not perfect (and nobody’s is), but it’s mine, it’s gorgeously curvy and I love it. When you look at your body don’t focus on the things you wish were a bit more toned or slimmer or smaller, focus on the bits you love whether they happen to be your eyes, your boobs or your bum, learn to love your body a bit at a time.
June Guest Blogger: Laurie-ann is from Northamptonshire, UK After Michael and Laurie-ann got engaged in September 2015, Laurie-ann started “Tartan Rose Weddings” to give the tips, tricks and ideas to all likeminded brides-to-be. The blog offers ideas and information on wedding planning, selecting vendors and DIY wedding projects.