The Search concludes with the acquisition of The Dress
I apologise for leaving you hanging after my last post 10 days ago. I have since clumsily fallen off of my bicycle, been on holiday to France and spent a week doing lots of walking on a sprained ankle and talking French almost constantly. I’m exhausted! It was lovely to have a week with my parents, brothers and A Man and we certainly did an awful lot while we were there, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a relaxing holiday – I feel like I need some recovery time now I’m home!
No rest for the wicked though – I have to fill you in on my wedding planning escapades.
To recap, I had tried on dresses in London, Bath, Taunton and Bridgwater and I told you in my previous post that I had found The Dress on my first trip to Taunton. Actually, I found The Two Dresses, but there was no room in my budget for me to be a 2 dress bride! Honestly, the dresses were well out of my intended budget, but Mum insisted I try them on and that she would buy my dress, regardless of how much it cost her (this caused a huge amount of guilt on my part, which I’m still not over but am trying to be OK with as the deposit’s been put down, so there’s no going back!). So, without further ado, the shop I bought my dress in was…
This was the shop in which Cousin E bought her dress. She went in with my mum one day, without an appointment, on the off-chance that she might find something. She did. It was in her size, it was in the sale (harrumph!) and it was perfect. It made her and my mum cry and she bought it there and then. Easy! It also turns out that my Auntie M (Mum’s sister, who’s also going to be our registrar) got her dress there, though it was 20-odd years ago and in different hands back then.
Frox is owned and run by sisters Josephine and Angela, and they try to keep as much of the business organisation within the family as possible. They’ve recently launched a new website (it’s very swish, possibly with a little too much use of flash graphics and voice-over for my taste, but run with it…) designed and created by either a brother or husband (I forget which) and their beautiful niece models the dresses in the gallery section. They choose dresses they love and they know all about the designers of each one. They’re really friendly, the upstairs dressing room is simply and elegantly decorated, you get that coveted private appointment and (+10 points coming up) there’s a lovely big dressing room. My experience of Frox has been fab, and I would recommend them to anyone who cared to listen.
But, I imagine you’re champing at the bit to find out about The Dress(es). They’re both from Ellis Bridals; a fact I’m really pleased about as it’s an English designer in their centenary year. In 1912 they paved the way for the kind of bridal gowns we recognise today, and the name is synonymous with good quality materials and workmanship. (yeah, yeah, get on with the photos!)
Again, you’ll have to make do with the stock photos as we weren’t allowed to take photos of me in the dresses (sob!). So, here’s the dress I didn’t buy.
The Princess is a very beautiful gown. With an A-Line cut, intricate embroidery and beading it is truly designed to make you feel like a princess for the day. But the real beauty of this dress is in the train.
Just look at those buttons! It is absolutely stunning, and would give your guests a lot to admire on that trip down the aisle. My mum fell in love with this dress – it was exactly how she’d imagined I’d look on my wedding day. The thing is, much as I like this dress, and much as it made me feel like a princess when I tried it on, it just wasn’t for me. For one thing, it’s made from Duchess Satin, which will be heavy and above all very warm for an outdoor summer venue! Plus I’ve said before how shiny fabrics make me feel uncomfortable. For another, it seemed too formal and traditional for our venue – I maintain that if I were getting married in a chapel, I would have bought that dress; but I’m not. And finally, I’m not really the princess type. I just don’t see myself as fulfilling that role and so wearing that dress would have been at odds with how I felt on the day.
Not feeling a rush of wondrous love for The Princess made me feel a massive wave of guilt. My mum loves it, and she had imagined me, her only daughter, wearing it on my wedding day. Now I won’t be and the dress I’ve chosen is so different from The Princess that you couldn’t believe they were designed for the same event. I have second thoughts about whether I’ve done the right thing – whether I’ll regret not going for the big A-line because, let’s face it, whenever else in your life can you get away with buttons which reach the floor? I also wonder what on earth A Man and my dad (who’s determined not to have any idea of the dress until the day) will think of my dress choice, as well as the guests. But the truth is – I love my dress. When I first tried it on, it made me smile like nothing else had before, and I smiled just as much when I tried it on again. It passed the ‘cry test’ when Mum burst into tears upon seeing me (which incidentally The Princess didn’t) and Auntie M, despite having reservations when she first saw it also started to cry when she saw how happy I was. As a registrar, she sees a lot of wedding dresses in her work, and she says that she’s never seen anything like The Dress, so it also passes the test of being a little bit kooky and unusual. Above all it’s fun and I love to wear it.
So, what does this wonder-dress look like? Unfortunately for you, dear readers, I intend to keep that little piece of info top-secret and confidential right up until the big day (even from my bridesmaids), so you’ll have to wait 369 days to see it I’m afraid. But, for a bit of a sneak-preview of sorts, I’ll tell you this. It’s from Ellis Bridals (which you already knew). It’s Ivory. It’s Organza. And we’ve nicknamed it “Jessica”.
How did you feel when you found The Dress? Were you more inclined to buy it at a higher price because of excellent customer service? And are you keeping yours a complete secret, or telling the world what you’ll look like on your wedding day?