The First Dress Shopping Experience!

Rob has asked me to write a little something regarding my first ever wedding dress shopping trip. For a girl who has never, as a young child, dreamed up or pictured what she would wear on her wedding day, choosing a wedding dress is not an easy journey.

So, the steps to choosing a wedding dress began after Rob’s amazing proposal in Barcelona, by the Mediterranean Sea at night.  Not only had I been dazzled by the city lights dancing on the water, but immediately overwhelmed by the big rock sparkling at me, held by Rob on bended knee. Through tears of joy, I of course said yes. And so it was only now that I dared start to imagine what I would wear walking down the aisle, towards my future husband.

Where does a bride to be start in her quest for the perfect dress? Good old Google of course.  I popped over to my friend’s house for a girly evening and over a glass of wine we searched for different wedding dresses.  I was impressed by the variety of styles, materials and colour tones of dresses.  To be honest I did have a vague idea previously as to what I might like; being a wedding photographer I have seen a fair few dresses though have never really wondered what I might look and feel like in one.

I started to get butterflies in my tummy and slightly nervous at the idea of having to choose a dress.

Rob encouraged me to look into local wedding dress shops and after noting down several, I spoke with my older sister. Hannah had got married a few years ago and advised me on the next steps. She mentioned that you have to book an appointment with most wedding dress shops as most places get pretty busy.

 I therefore phoned a few places, thinking I was being well prepared and organised, only to be informed that there was only one appointment available; 2.30pm at Choola Bridal on Ecclesall Road. It goes to show even trying to organise a wedding dress fitting one week in advance just isn’t enough notice.

I had thought long and hard about who I would like to bring with me for my first wedding dress experience and concluded that my mum and sisters would be the best as they can read me like a book and I trust their judgement.

So with excitement and slight trepidation, I met with my mum, older sister and her twin baby boys outside Choola with smiles and hugs all round. I was determined to go ahead with an open mind as my mum and older sister had said that I may be surprised at what styles I might suit. 

The first challenge that occurred was getting my sister’s twin pushchair inside the actual building however immediately the helpful lady in the shop leapt into action to help as best they could, offering with outstretched arms to scoop up little Zac and Ethan while we wrestled the stubborn thing into the shop.

Now inside my apprehension melted away and I began to feel like a little girl in a sweetshop, my mouth hanging slightly open in awe. An excited feeling welled up inside as my eyes strayed over the beautiful dresses all hung up against the walls.

I must admit the whole experience seemed to go by in a bit of a magical blur.  We were guided upstairs, both nervous and excited, to another room full of beautiful dresses which I was informed had been worn on a London catwalk.  I was given a handful of pegs and instructed to place one on each of the dresses I would like to try on. I was unsure where to start so my sister explained that it would probably be best to just go for a variety of different styles that may not normally catch my eye.

After selecting 5 dresses we were offered refreshments and waited for the dresses to be brought to the changing room.

With friendly chatting I was helped by Elizabeth into the first dress, the material of which I wasn’t too keen on but quite liked the style.  The dress was then pegged in at the back to fit my figure; she explained that wedding dresses are always bought too big so that it can be fitted perfectly to an individual.

She kindly held the curtain aside and as I walked out my mum and sister’s eyes lit up and they showered me with compliments. And so I walked over to an elaborately framed, ceiling high mirror to take a look at myself in my first potential wedding dress; it did look beautiful but it didn’t feel like it was ‘the Dress’. After all the dresses had been adorned, pegged in and paraded the last dress was awaiting its turn.  I was feeling rather hot and flustered by this stage and began agonising over how many more dresses and shops I would have to trial before finding a dress where I would feel like it was ‘the one’.

The last dress was placed on the fitting room floor with Elizabeth holding the top of the dress open for me to step into, she pulled it up to snugly fit my figure and I caught a glimpse of myself in the small mirror on the wall and I felt a little nervous as it looked like it might be right.

So now that I was pegged in, I slowly walked out from behind the curtain, slightly relieved that this was the last dress to try on and apprehensive as to what my sister and mum might think, thankfully I was met by the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and my mothers eyes welled up. As soon as I saw myself my heart raced and a smile lit my flushed face.  I was instructed to walk the entire shop floor to another mirror where Elizabeth placed a hair piece and a veil in my hair and when I turned to look at myself I welled up and experienced a wonderful new feeling. I looked like a BRIDE!!!

Although I can’t explain the specifics of the dress, it was beautiful. However, realistically, there were still a few features that I might change and perhaps this may be one to inspire future choices rather than being lucky enough to find ‘the one’ on the first trip.

So I’d found a dress I loved but of course mum had to ask the dreaded question; How much? Unfortunately as it so happens, I have rather expensive tastes! I’m sure Rob can vouch for that as well.

After a couple of hours it was time to go and get ourselves a cup of tea and mull over the dresses I had tried on and I was slightly relieved when my sister and my mum comforted me by saying that there are plenty more places that I can visit before I have to make a final decision. At least I know what style and material I like and suit.

In conclusion, going into the shop I believed that I didn't actually know what I wanted but having had the experience of trying on dresses, I do have a partially formed picture of what I actually want though it may take a little while to bring that idea into focus and find the perfect dress.