The Dress Journey Isn’t Smooth Sailing For Everyone

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dress stressIt can be somewhat overwhelming when you go to look at wedding dresses for the first time and it’s not always a pleasurable experience for everyone.

Most bridal boutiques set out to make sure you feel important, they really go to town and make the experience fun, special and memorable.  Just as it should be.  But there are some that don’t.

For me finding the perfect dress wasn’t as pleasurable as I’d hoped.  My Mum and one of my bridesmaids booked a few appointments and we set off full of hope, emotion and anticipation only to come back deflated and disheartened!

Admittedly I’m not a shopper at the best of times but it wasn’t for the lack of suitable dresses, it was the way we, especially me, felt we were received and treated.  I’m not sure whether we just made the wrong choices in where to go or whether we just hit them all on a bad day.

One boutique left me standing for over 20 minutes in what can only be described as a pineapple dress while they chatted on the phone!  Another only stocked size 8 dresses and continued to tell me that if only I was a size 8 I’d get a true picture of how the dress should look!  I’m size 12! Another insisted on putting me on a plinth in the middle of their boutique floor, where everyone passing by could see me, all because they doubled booked.  They made no apology for the fact and told me that they dressed their mannequins on this very spot.  Way to make a girl feel special!

So no, my experience was not pleasurable and it was memorable for all the wrong reasons.  While some assistants where lovely, others were ‘hoity, toity’.  Some of the dresses you were being asked to try on were covered with make-up or fake tan while on the other extreme you were asked to wear white gloves and remove all make-up before letting the dress in the same room as you never mind putting it on!

That said, if it wasn’t for one boutique in Holywood, who made the entire experience fun, I would have abandoned the whole process believing every boutique to be the same.

The owner made such a fuss of me, she took the time to hear my story while at the same time telling me that her job was to add to the magic.  She proceeded to pull out dresses of different styles, materials and colours, some of which I would never have dreamed of wearing.  She had shoes, hair accessories and veils in order to present the dress in the best light at all times.  It was brilliant.  She restored my faith in the process and gave me renewed vigour to continue my dress journey.

I finally found my perfect dress near Lisburn but again wasn’t comfortable with the boutique experience.  So I did what I probably shouldn’t have, but I make no apologies.  I met with a dress maker who I had faith in, she came with me for the second appointment and basically memorised every aspect of the dress.  I believed her when she said she could replicate it making the modifications I wanted.  The assistant informed me that I had a split back and that a zip wasn’t the way for me so I’d have to pay to get the dress modified to accommodate!

So with that we thanked the snooty assistant and walked out the door never looking back.

dressmakerGetting your dress made is not for the faint hearted.  You need to have 100% faith in your dress maker and be able to have vision.  The process for me was amazing.  I can still remember picking the fabric and watching her turn it into what became my wedding dress.

My contact with the dress maker was frequent, fun but not without it’s hair raising moments.  There was a misunderstanding on the petticoat and my dress still looked relatively incomplete a week before the wedding!  So like I said, choosing to get your dress made is not for the faint hearted!

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that not everyone finds the search for their perfect dress, perfect.  We’re all different, different shapes and sizes not to mention personalities.  Some like to be the centre of attention while others struggle being the main focus.  The important thing to remember, is that while the dress is an essential part of your day it’s only material.  The vows, the commitment and your future with your partner are what matter most.

So, if like me, your dress search isn’t what you expected, try to stay positive.  Adopt the correct state of mind and focus on being a beautiful bride and being yourself!  Be true to yourself and don’t be swayed.  Follow your heart when deciding on your dress and if the Bridal Boutique way isn’t for you, then consider a dress maker with a good reputation.