I’ve been delaying looking for a wedding dress. In fairness, I’ve sort of had the perfect excuse – without a venue formally agreed yet, I can hardly be expected to have the details finalised. Yet the truth is, I think, I’ve been procrastinating.
How do you set out to choose just ONE perfect dress from the ocean available? What if I choose one and then change my mind? What if I do that sixty five times, and Rory refuses to marry me??
It was alright for Cinderella, who had her fairy godmother to magic her up that ice blue number for the ball; for the rest of us, there are appointments to make and people to speak to. It’s a lot of pressure, I think.
Well, perhaps my fairy god mother read my thoughts – or my blog, at least – as I was cordially invited, not by the palace, but by Allure Bridals to stop by and look at their latest collection.
Allure is an American company, that started nearly 20 years ago as a single store. Without their invitation, these are dresses I’d probably never have encountered in ‘real life’ – I haven’t made any appointments with bridal boutiques, and had been vaguely assuming that the perfect vintage dress would just magically appear in my life at some point.
Stepping in was like walking into a childhood fantasy. Acres of tulle, satin, ribbon and net; huge flowing skirts, twinkling crystal, gowns for twirling and gliding and losing glass slippers.
What I loved: the soft, rosy blush pink tones. The plus-sized collection, on plus sized mannequins – hurray! Likewise, petite-length gowns, for us fun-size brides. The acres of fluffy, foufy tulle, bunching together in a dreamy cloud & candy floss combo. Tiny silver details that sparkled in the lights.
As part of my invitation, I was encouraged to try some gowns on – a situation I now realise I was not adequately prepared for.
It hadn’t really occurred to me that the only changing facilities at a trade show would be for the models backstage: a room packed with beautiful gowns and beautiful women, towering above me with silver-blonde hair and perfect September tans. Between the scheduled catwalk shows, the models mingled amongst the mannequins, making me jump out of my skin on a couple of occasions (put a bell on them or something, Allure!), then dashing back to slip on another gorgeous sample-size gown with ease.
I was in skinny jeans & two-day-old hair, and not my best getting-hit-by-a-bus underwear, if you know what I mean. There was nowhere to hide. Deep breath, Sara.Stargirl@gmail.com
It took a couple of lovely, friendly Allure staff to help zip me into the teensy model sizes, and I had to stand on a big box to get the proper effect, but it didn’t matter. I looked in that backstage mirror, and for the first time it hit me: I’m getting married! I’m going to be a bride! Then something got in my eye, and my mascara smudged a little. Nothing to see here.
In honesty, I could barely breathe in some of the samples, but frankly, I didn’t care. Who wants oxygen when you can have a teeny delicate waist? Well, me, to be honest – oxygen and cake and big bowls of pasta. But still, it did my self esteem good, & now I think perhaps the wedding dress is just my thing. Some girls a born to look good in jeans and a t-shirt; me, it’s a wedding dress. Typical.
The team were quickly able to hone in on the dresses that would most flatter my figure and size, and advised me where I would need alterations to any dress I tried (the shoulders; it’s always the shoulders with me). Most of my favourites came from within the same range which they said often happens, as each caters to a slighty different style of bride.
I also discovered the joys of a wedding dress with POCKETS, which I now think might be an essential for whatever gown I choose. I do have a tendency to assume that ‘pocket stance’ whenever possible, and might accidentally spend my wedding day looking like I’m waiting for a bus, but at least there’ll be somewhere to keep my iPhone 😉
I didn’t find ‘the one’ this time, but I certainly made steps in the right direction, and had myself a ball. It’s given me the courage to arrange a couple of appointments in proper bridal stores, and to begin figuring out what it is I want – and what I don’t.
I'm a bit fed up of being made to feel ugly. It's not by anyone who actually knows me or sees me, I should add - but, like any dutiful 21-centurion, I care not for these opinions and choose instead [...]