So as many of you know, I’m getting married next September and have been planning my wedding since I got engaged at Christmas.
From the moment we got engaged, I’ve been searching and searching for the right wedding dress; I knew that I wanted something vintage or vintage-inspired, but above all, I craved a truly unique dress.
I started looking on the high street, and will admit that I was pleasantly surprised at what some of the shops had to offer. The likes of Debenhams, Monsoon and Coast all had some potential dresses, but nothing that really ticked the box for me; I just didn’t have that ‘Wow’ moment.
Now, to avoid the next comment causing any controversy, I won’t name and shame, but a certain high street retailer also left me bitterly disappointed. They stock some lovely vintage inspired dresses, for reasonable prices, but I discovered a less-than-ethical fact about them that has put me off for life.
I focused my search to the online ‘wedding sphere’ – and stumbled across Etsy Weddings – which is a pretty magical place to visit if you’re stuck for inspiration. I came across several designs that I really quite liked but with price tags that were simply too good to be true. Both designs that I found were both from International sellers, and both designers failed to return my enquiries for samples. This quickly sent alarm bells ringing, and although I’m not disregarding Etsy for future purchases, I just couldn’t task a risk with the most important dress I’ll ever purchase.
I know I haven’t mentioned visiting a regular bridal boutique, and that’s because I didn’t, and never intended to. As I said at the start, I knew that I wanted something really different, and I just didn’t feel as though I was likely to find anything in a traditional shop. So where did that leave me? I’d tried –
– The high street & second hand shops too
– Online retailers including Etsy and many others (trust me, I’ve done a lot of searching!)
– Regular boutiques – honestly, just a search of the designers in stock was enough to put me off – I’m rather fussy!
And then a very lovely lady gave me a very wonderful idea, and things just fell into place.
A bespoke dress.
It makes perfect sense.
And I’m beyond thrilled to announce that my designer is Annalise Harvey, who operates from her base in Truro, Cornwall. Annie’s studio is in Princes House, and I don’t think I could have possibly asked for a lovelier person to working with. Now, I’m sure for some people, the thought of a bespoke dress is tempting, but perhaps a little daunting. So, over the next year or so, I’ll be taking you through every step of my design journey, on the road to my bespoke dress being revealed.
So far, I’ve been for an initial consultation, which was honestly wonderful. Annie’s studio is contemporary and comfortable, and a space that you feel really quite inspired to be in. Annie is a force to be reckoned with within the Cornish wedding industry, and is a true advocate of promoting the talent within the region. I went from feeling frustrated and bewildered, to leaving with more inspiration that I could process!
I had a rough idea of what I wanted, and had spent many an hour on Pinterest, which is also a really great resource if you’re stuck for ideas. Annie showed me some lovely fabric samples, and pulled out lace catalogues, just bursting with variation. Who knew there were so many types of lace?!
By the end of our chat and cuppa, Annie had produced an initial sketch that was closer to my dream dress than I’d found after weeks of hunting. I now need to provide Annie with a bit more direction, and make the all important decision on which lace to choose from, as this will be a prominent feature on my dress. I’m sure she’s going to come up with something truly magical; Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone are big inspiration for me. You can read more about the process of having a bespoke dress made for you in Annie’s Step by Step Guide.
I’m so pleased to be sharing this experience with my Dotty Vintage readers, and if you’re at all unsure about opting for a bespoke dress, then I’d highly recommend Annalise Harvey. She can also offer fittings in London, as well as Cornwall, and I couldn’t have placed my wedding dress in safer hands.
Until next time….