And the Search goes on…

by clumsylawyer

Having mooched around Bath looking for dresses, I hadn’t found anything so another trip was necessary.  This time I left A Man at home to await delivery of our new sofa bed and went with Mum, ‘Aunt’ E and A Man’s mum K to look at dresses in Taunton.

It was on that trip that I found The Dress, but I didn’t buy it; after all, I still had 19 months until the wedding.  I’ll leave a discussion about that particular boutique until later, but first the other places I went to:

Champagne and Strawberries

There’s a wide selection of dresses in this shop, and lots of different styles.  The fitting room was lovely and big and the ladies who work there are friendly.  However, like in The Clothes Horse I didn’t have an exclusive appointment (I realise how much of a spoilt brat that makes me sound!) and there were not only other ladies looking at dresses, but also a fairly large group of guys in to chat about hiring suits.  That took away slightly from the experience but it was nice enough.  What was quite amusing about this shop was that while Mum and E had seen me in a lot of different dresses, K hadn’t seen any.  Of course the first dress I tried on she thought looked beautiful, but Mum and E were quite brutal about how it didn’t suit me.  I think it might have shocked K a little but as I tried on more dresses she started to understand what they meant.

There was one dress which was both very pretty and on sale.  I put it back just in case I didn’t find anything better and Mum took a picture of me in it.  She then went a bit nuts on the editing and took me out of the dress so that A Man wouldn’t see me wearing it.  Nevertheless, here’s that edited photo.  I can’t tell you what the name of the dress is or anything about it I’m afraid!

Mum is a part of the 365 project, where people post a photo every day (hers are mostly insects). Check her out!

Abbi Chapel Bridal

I am not including a link to the Abbi Chapel website because I had such an unpleasant experience there.  I’m not sure if perhaps she was having a bad day as I’ve read good reviews online, but I would personally advise people to avoid it.  When we turned up, we were made to take off our shoes and put on slippers, which was fine if a little weird.  She then bombarded me with questions about my favourite period in history (not something I’ve ever thought about, but she seemed to decide that I loved Jane Austen?!) and what the ‘theme’ of my wedding is.  When I told her that I don’t have a theme she kept telling me that I couldn’t possibly have it unthemed.

She then picked out the dresses for us.  We weren’t allowed to even look, let alone pick them out.  Mum, E and K were sat down like 3 naughty schoolgirls as I went to change.  The fitting room was full of business cards for personal trainers and weight loss services and she kept telling me about all the ‘really tiny’ brides she had fitted recently.  When I eventually came out of the fitting room in a dropped waist gown (which style I had been told suited me before) she informed me that it was no good because it ’emphasised all my bad points’.  There had been no discussion as to what I thought my bad points were.

By the time I left Abbi Chapel, I had been made to feel ugly and overweight.  Needless to say, I did not find my dress there!

So, I had been to 6 different bridal boutiques (9, if you include that time with my friends in London) and still not bought a dress. The only solution was to go dress shopping again and include a second visit to the one I haven’t told you about yet.  It’ll all make sense in a minute, I promise!

Bride and Groom

This was a funny experience.  Bride and Groom is a fairly large bridal shop in Bridgwater with a great deal of dresses to try, an extensive sale rack and just about every size sample from 8 to 30.  The staff are very friendly and encourage honest opinions and a very hands-on approach to trying on the dresses.  Although this was another shop where I didn’t have an exclusive appointment, it didn’t seem to matter so much here because of the ‘family’ atmosphere.  I applaud their outlook but something which is very worth knowing is that the owner’s son is the one who will help you try on the dresses.  You go into the fitting room and shimmy into the dress, after which he’ll zip/lace you up.  Now, this didn’t bother me one bit but I was never asked if it was OK and I know that some brides would be a bit touchy about having a man involved in their dressing!  Also, rather than stuffing too-large samples with cushions or holding them with bulldog clips like had been the case as all of the other boutiques I had been to, said man just holds the back together and follows you around!  Like I said; it was a funny experience.

I didn’t find any dresses here which thrilled me.  Bride and Groom only stocks Alfred Angelo and the fit and shape of them seems to be quite similar regardless of the style.  However, something useful which came out of this visit was:

I don’t do satin

The owner put her finger on something which I hadn’t realised, but suddenly made sense.  Shiny fabrics like satin make me feel uncomfortable because of how they highlight areas like my hips and thighs.  This explains why dresses like the Romantica Della were so unappealing for me.  I didn’t find anything in Bride and Groom, but we’re considering returning to discuss the men’s suits.

Carmel’s Collection

This is a tiny little shop which we popped into on the way somewhere else.  The owners are lovely and I don’t think they’ve been there very long.  We didn’t have much time but I tried on a few different gowns (and have some photos!).  I’m afraid I have no clue what they were called or the designers of the dresses.

The shawl which comes with this dress has the same embroidery as the dress itself, but something about it felt a bit too much like a prom dress.

A close-up to show the beading on the second dress.

This dress got nicknamed the ‘raindrop dress’ because of all of the rows of sequins running down from the bodice. The dress was beautiful, but I don’t think it did anything for my figure – I don’t look like I’ve got a waist at all!

And so ended my attempts to find anything to better The Dress.  Mum said that she could tell that none of the dresses I tried on after The One came anywhere close.  My comments all tended towards the non-committal.  There were quite a few which I thought were beautiful, but not what I envisaged wearing on my wedding day.

And now, I’m going to leave you in suspense for a week or so as I’m off to France to stay with some friends.  Did you keep shopping for dresses, only to go back to The One?