Guest Blogger – Kate Hayward – Finding the dress

I’m very pleased to welcome back Kate to Dotty Vintage, with her next guest post – finding the dress.

I’m not one of those girls who spends hours getting ready, I can’t afford to restock my wardrobe each season and most days I throw on whichever combination of clothes I fancy, throw my hair into a plait and maybe put on mascara.

There are three times in life I make more of an effort; a ‘big’ day at work when I need a greater sense of confidence, a special occasion (wedding, party, meal with future in-laws etc) and for Ed. In all these instances I still go to a small selection of pre-existing clothes, but I do bother to do my hair and make-up and normally don my heels. In short I like to look okay and make an effort at times however fashion/image isn’t high up on my priorities.

This all changed when I got engaged, for the first time in my life I poured over images of designer outfits, started looking into beauty regimes and begin to (over) think about an outfit I would be wearing in over a year.

Iconic Celebrity Wedding Dresses - Through the Eras

Iconic Celebrity Wedding Dresses – Through the Eras

Top row: Audrey Hepburn marrying Mel Ferrer, Queen Elizabeth II, Silver screen star Mae Murray marries David Mdivani (her 4th husband) and John F. and Jackie Kennedy

Bottom row: John Lennon marries Yoko Ono, King Edward VIII, who later abdicated and became the Duke of Windsor, at his wedding to Wallace Simpson, Her Serener Highness Princess Grace Kelly with her husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco and Madonna dressed for her wedding with Sean Penn.

When it came to dresses there are just so many options, but for me there were some things I knew I wanted to include.

I wanted a full length gown possibly with a train and a structured, corseted bodice. While I think strapless gown are stunning, and I probably have enough of a cleavage to pull one off, I was aware that I am getting married in January so started to look at warmer options. Finally I knew I wanted to be traditional and wear white/ivory/cream.

Back in April I had a day with my Mum, sister and Ed’s sister, we visited 3 shops around me and I must have tried on about 55 gowns. I found the day really frustrating; the first shop were friendly and helpful and while they helped me narrow down which silhouette I was wanting and suited me, none of the dresses I tried on felt right for me.

At the second shop I was introduced to Paloma Blanca, a designer from Canada who creates wonderful dresses and there were 2 that I would have loved to walk down the aisle in. However, that quality of design, material and workmanship came with a price tag more than double my budget.

Paloma Blanca - Candian Wedding Dress Designer

Paloma Blanca – Canadian Wedding Dress Designer

Strapless Gown with Flower Corsage, BoleroDress with Lace Sleeves, Stunning Back Detail of a Sleeveless Dress, Veil and Strapless Gown with Sparkle Band.

After lunch we visited our 3rd and final shop of the day and what a disappointment.

They were rude, disinterested and treated us as if it was a burden that we had visited them (we had a booking). One assistant kept telling us that what I was looking for was wrong and that I should not have planned the feel/theme of the day before I had sorted the dress. At one point my mum was explaining that while a dress was lovely, it just wasn’t me as it has far too much sparkle and I’m not a ‘blingy’ person, to which a young assistant told us there no such thing as too much sparkle on a wedding dress and brides who don’t have any look dull!

We did stay to try on all the dresses we’d picked out and my sister took photos of me in a few. At the end of the visit we asked about the cost of 2 dresses which were similar in shape, one was £950 and the other £350; as she was undoing the last dress the shop assistant said “at those prices you could have both”. I understand women who have 2 dresses, but aren’t they normally different in style, one for the formalities and one for the party?

Dresses with 'Bling' - but they just aren't for me.

Dresses with ‘Bling’ – dresses with sparkle that look stunning, but just aren’t for me.

Benjamin Roberts with stunning sparkle and waist detail, stunning sleeves on this Justin Alexander dress and Alfred Angelo ‘Belle’ dress from his Disney range.

Once I had recovered from the last shop, I had a look at the photos; one of the dresses I had tried on in the awful shop actually looked nicer than I remembered. I set about trying to see if another store locally stocked the designer, and luckily the boutique in my own town did. Having ruled them out due to a bad experience at a wedding fair, I found myself in their lovely shop (this time just with a friend, who wouldn’t try a dress on as she didn’t want to show her secret, but growing bump); I allowed myself to try 3 or dresses on in total, but as soon as I put on the dress I has already tried I realised I had found ‘The One’.

A week later my mum returned, we went to the shop and as we stood there discussing all the options, the assistant was amazing advising me about accessories and playing around with a couple of ideas we had. SOLD!

Brides take note: Sometimes the environment and staff are just as important as the design when it comes to your wedding dress, if you are not treated like a VIP no dress is going to feel special.

The three shops that were amazing and I could not recommend  them more. In alphabetical order: Amaryllis Bridal in Alton, Brides of Odiham and The Ivory Boutique in Farham

To find out about my accessories and veil check out my blog here – Godiva Crafts.


About dottyvintage

Love Vintage, Love Weddings

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