A lifestyle blog written by a Welsh lady living in Wales.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Wedding Dress

Lots of people told me that the wedding dress I'd choose would be completely different to the one I had in mind. But I had a good idea of what I wanted and ended up choosing; ivory, modest, nipped at the waist, floaty ballgown style with long lace sleeves. Timeless, classic and elegant.

I pored over Pinterest, Instagram, Google and my old issues of Hello! magazine for inspiration (yes, I'd saved my favourite celebrity and Royal wedding editions!) Kate Middleton was a big inspiration for me, as was the dress which Geri Halliwell wore on her wedding day. But it was so hard finding The One!

I initially wanted to hire a dress or buy one from a charity shop; after all, I was never going to wear it again. But I just couldn't find what I was looking for. I didn't want a strapless dress because I knew I'd feel bare and exposed, and I loved the look of lace sleeves; it's such a beautiful style. I also didn't want diamanté and sparkles on my dress. Less is more.

When I first tried on dresses, I felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable; I was worried that I would somehow tear the expensive dress I was trying on or get stuck in one of them(!). But after trying on a few I grew in confidence. Several of the assistants in the bridal shops I visited thought I'd look good in a fishtail dress, which I tried on for fun. But it just wasn't me. I wanted to look demure and classic, and the fishtail style was too clingy. I really didn't want anything too sexy and revealing on my wedding day.

I found my beautiful White Rose dress in Cariad Bridal in Swansea. I told them the kind of dress I wanted and they were able to design it to my exact specifications; from the type of material to the length of the lace sleeves. It was like having a couture dress, but without the couture price tag.

I had to use my imagination a lot though because the style of dress I liked which was hanging up in the shop was a size 20, so when I first tried it on it completely swamped me. However, with the help of a few clips to pull it in at the back I was able to envisage what it would look like. It was The One!
Ta Dah! Finally in my dream dress!
I initially went for three quarter length lace sleeves because I saw a photo of a model wearing this style of dress and I thought that this was what I wanted. However, I soon realised that I really wanted full length lace sleeves, and I'm so glad that I ordered the extra lace to make this happen.

I chose a heavy lace adorned with an intricate floral pattern; it was so beautiful! The underskirt was in satin, with a light chiffon material on top. The whole look was completed with a pretty ivory satin bow detail at the front to accentuate the waist.

There were 41 buttons at the back of the dress which my lovely mum dutifully fastened on the morning of the wedding with the aid of a crochet hook!
I wore my favourite perfume, a pearl necklace, and a pretty pearl bracelet from Gill Clement, a local jewellery designer in Swansea.

As for my shoes... I love wearing heels, but I knew I was going to be on my feet all day, so I decided to go for a pair of flats. Mum found me a super comfy pair of slip-on ballet shoes from Primark for £4! Yep...the bride wore Primarni!

And do you know what? They were SO comfy! No one could actually see my shoes under my wedding dress, and I still felt elegant. Plus they matched the pair that my flower girl wore, which was so cool!
I wore my hair in a half up-half down style

My veil was a finger-tip length veil with plain ivory satin trim. I wanted to be able to wear my veil all day, so a longer veil wouldn't have been a practical option.

My lovely mum looked simply gorgeous in a pale pink dress and jacket from Phase Eight. Mother of The Bride is not an easy role to dress for, but she looked absolutely fabulous, as I'm sure you'll agree.

The finished result? My dream dress!

Tips for finding your dream dress

  • Start dress shopping as far in advance as possible. Once you've chosen your dress, it can take several months for it to be made and delivered to the bridal shop.
  • If you don't love it...don't get it. I was quite tempted by a dress which was less than half price in a sale, but this big reduction in price was clouding my judgment of whether I really wanted the dress.
  • Ask friends for bridal shop recommendations and try not to travel too far afield unless you absolutely have to (you'll be glad that you went somewhere local when you have to go for dress fittings.)
  • Go to several bridal shops and get a feel for the range of dresses, pricing and customer service.
  • Be fussy but try not to have too high expectations. Wedding dress shopping is not like how it is in the movies...it can be disappointing and may not be as glamorous as you'd imagined, unless you're going high end designer (you lucky thing!)
  • Consider your body shape and styles which enhance your best features. Don't worry if you haven't got the figure of a supermodel because there's something to suit every shape and size. The fabulous dress you see on someone else may not suit you because they're a different body shape to you.
  • Remember to consider all the extras in your dress budget, like shoes and bridal accessories. You'll be surprised at how much a veil can cost (but you can get some bargains online!)
  • Don't worry if you feel disappointed if you still haven't found The One. This is normal.
  • Take someone with you who you trust, like your mum or a close friend.
  • Most bridal shops will insist that you make an appointment to browse and try on dresses.
  • Try not to go to too many bridal shops in one day...it's tiring, and you won't feel at your best. Make sure you schedule in time for lunch and coffee!
  • I would recommend having your hair trial on the same day as your dress fitting. I really enjoyed this!
  • If there's something that's not quite right with your dress, say something. Most things can be altered without too much fuss.
  • Once you've chosen your dress, ask the shop assistant to take lots of photos of you in it.
  • Keep the details top secret; this is meant to be a surprise. I only shared pictures of my dress with my parents and my bridesmaid.
  • Once you've got your dress, it's perfectly normal to doubt if you've made the right decision. This happened to me! I kept comparing my dress to other bride's dresses and wondered if I'd made a mistake. If this happens to you then don't worry; it's understandable that you feel this way because it's a big decision. Speak to your mum or a close friend for their honest opinion and reassurance. I can honestly say that I wouldn't change my dress and it was everything I dreamed of.
  • Try to enjoy the experience!

If you're a bride-to-be then I hope that this has been helpful for you.
As always, thank you for reading! Angharad x
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