42 dresses later…

On Saturday. I found it. At last. A dress.

The One.

I honestly never thought I’d say that. I thought I’d end up with something that I liked, but I never thought I’d have that moment of saying, “Oh my God, it’s this one, this is The One!” but that is what I said, to my dear, long-suffering bridesmaid who popped out a baby only three weeks ago and had, despite my insistence I could go alone, insisted she come along to the appointment. I’m not sure who was more excited to be honest (that is what I love about her, her boundless enthusiasm and excitement knows no limits).

I actually had to ask The Wedding Shop to loan a sample of the dress from the designer. I had spotted the dress online a few weeks back but figured that surely I would be able to find something in the shops. I tried on a vast variety of wedding dresses from almost every shop in Colchester and had found a few very nice dresses. Without exception the dresses that I tried on were all beautiful in their own way, but I looked like someone else in them. At times I wondered if I was being too fussy. I wondered if I was being unrealistic. For a time I wondered if wedding dresses just didn’t suit me. Actually my problem was that my style just wasn’t in the shops and I knew deep down that was the case. I had foolishly imagined dress shopping was going to be so easy. I love dresses, so why wouldn’t it?

I feel I have to tell you at this point the profound effect House of Colour has had on this process. Had I not been so sure of my style I could have so easily been swayed, I think, by a very nice dress that someone else liked or even a very nice dress that I rather liked but that didn’t particularly like me. But I wasn’t swayed, I just kept on looking because I had The Knowledge.

Back in March 2010 I went to House of Colour to see a colour and image consultant, the wonderful Trudy Cooper. In short, the consultant helped me to understand what colours and shapes suited me and why, and which didn’t. Perhaps more importantly we also talked about personal style. I used to think that style was something other people had (you know, those painfully ‘stylish’ people who have Prada handbags and Miu Miu shoes). What I didn’t realise is that we all have our own style, and if we honour it we look like ourselves. We are naturally drawn to what we love and what suits us both in terms of colour and style, but often times what suits us isn’t in the shops, and we are so easily swayed by the media and by other people telling us what we should wear that we often end up quite discordant. So often what we dress ourselves in comes about due to a culmination of opinions from others, our own body hang ups and whatever the shops/the media are trying to tell us we ‘need’. I’m proud to say I’m no longer swayed by any of that. At the risk of sounding conceited, when it comes to what I wear, the only person’s opinion I care about is my own and I am more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been. The knowledge I gleaned from my House of Colour consultant on those days of talking about style and colour were priceless. I have saved myself a fortune in wardrobe mistakes which would have invariably sat in my wardrobe making me feel guilty. Knowing my style and knowing what suits me was instrumental in finding a dress that I knew was perfect for me. Needless to say if you haven’t been to House of Colour, then I implore you to go. If you want to find out more beforehand then you can attend a free introductory evening. Contact your nearest consultant and they will tell you everything you need to know.

Whilst the hunt for a dress was exhausting and, at times, disheartening, I’m so glad I tried on so many dresses. I have no doubt in my mind that my dress is perfect for me. I can’t give you too many clues here about the dress, but what I will say is that whilst it still looks bridal, it is by far not your average wedding dress. When I tried it on it was such a profound experience. I felt incandescent, I felt beautiful, and I felt like me.

Brief (but exciting!) update…

On Saturday I am going to The Wedding Shop to try on a dress I had them order in from the designer… I first went to them to try on dresses many months ago and had a lovely experience. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’ve literally been too excited to sleep some nights! Ridiculous I know. Hopefully it won’t be a massive disappointment on Saturday. It’s the dress I keep looking at, that ticks an awful lot of boxes in terms of it suiting me (in theory) and the one I’ve put off looking at because I thought I’d easily find something else in all the other millions of shops I’ve looked in… But after trying on over 37 dresses now I still haven’t found ‘The One’ or even ‘nearly The One’ so all my hopes, rightly or wrongly, are pinned on this dress… I don’t have a plan B yet, here’s hoping I won’t need one!

My wedding dress. Not.

My wedding dress. Not.

Perhaps rather bizarrely I’ve been having nightmares about the loos at The Barn Brasserie. I kept dreaming I couldn’t fit in the loo to go or that I had to go in the dodgy disabled loo that didn’t lock properly… All very strange. I decided it was about time I checked the loos out (I know I’m sad, I know I’m weird for worrying about these things!) and so husband-to-be and I went for a meal there last night which was absolutely delicious and I’m euphoric to say that the loos are possibly the nicest I’ve ever seen anywhere! And they are big – clearly designed for brides. Thank Jesus for that.

The Barn Brasserie

The Barn Brasserie

As well as trying on the dress I’ve been lusting after for months, I’m also going to see David on Saturday. My rings have come back from the engravers and I get to see the designs! I have to say I’m both excited and scared about seeing them. What if I don’t like them? Only time will tell… I will try and get photos!

After much designers angst I have at last finalised my ‘Save the Date’ design and have been liaising with the local printing company about getting them printed up. We’re looking at magnets and postcards at present. If postcards are much cheaper then we’ll go for those.

I went to Wivenhoe House today at lunchtime to take a look at all their lovely rooms (the suites and luxury suites are all decorated differently you see). I got a tour of the place and fell in love with one of the rooms (I can’t tell you too much here as it will be a surprise for husband-to-be). I have fired off an e-mail so hopefully we should be able to book it.

Wivenhoe House Hotel superior room

Wivenhoe House Hotel superior room

Exciting times!

37 dresses and counting…

I’ve tried on over 37 dresses in over 7 different shops.

I have yet to find The One.

I haven’t even found one I can alter sufficiently to be The One. Yet.

All is not lost (although I’ll admit I was starting to get seriously depressed about it). I have found a dress I love online. It’s the one on my Pinterest board that I keep looking at and keep going back to. I know it will suit my shape. I love the style. I have e-mailed round a load of stockists to see who has it in stock… I will keep you posted. No photos, I’m afraid 😉 I will, however, show you a dress I cannot wear. I look like a deformed mermaid in it (due to my shape) and the sexy plunge is not a good look for me…

My dress. Not.