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My search to find THE wedding dress!
Member Name: katykicker
Advantages: Generally if you need a wedding dress it's because you are getting married.
Disadvantages: Can be a difficult search to find something perfect for your body shape, height and wedding theme.
=== I got married! ===
So you may notice from my profile picture, the fact that I disappeared for a week or two or some of my reviews that I have got married recently. Let me start this review by saying that I am not a girly girl, I don't wear dresses much and I had absolutely no idea about the kind of wedding dress that I wanted when we finally set a date and decided to get married.
=== The search began... ===
When I began my search for the perfect wedding dress I wasn't really sure where to look first. I ended up visiting one bridal store in a shopping centre in my local town and while some of the dresses were absolutely beautiful there was nothing that grabbed my eye particularly, least of all the £1,000+ price tags. This meant that wedding dress shops quickly became somewhere I decided against looking in for my search for the perfect dress.
=== The search continued... ===
Once I had written off the traditional wedding dress shop I decided to have a look in a prom shop. Now I did find some wonderful dresses here, all for well under £200.00 but there was nothing in the colour that I wanted, ivory, that suited me and looked like it was formal enough to wear for my wedding day. I was surprised by the wide range of styles and colours available in my local prom shop and would firmly recommend a prom shop to anyone who is looking for a wedding dress in a colour other than white or ivory, however, for me, this was not the right place to find my dress.
I also asked around in local charity shops and while two of the ten shops I asked did have wedding dresses one was hideous and one was nowhere near being the right size for me, however, if it had fitted me it would have been a snip at just £30.00!
=== The search continued online this time... ===
Once I had exhausted local shops I decided to have a look online and see what I could find. Now the main problem that I found with shopping online was that I could not be sure of what I was going to get, obviously. Pictures, particularly of white or ivory dresses, can be quite misleading and on one occasion I arranged to meet someone to view a wedding dress I was left disappointed that it looked nothing like the photographs in terms of colour and although I still tried it on I found that it really didn't suit me. Some of the websites that I looked on were specialist wedding dress sites that I found by searching on Google and other websites that I used included Preloved and Gumtree and while there were literally hundreds of adverts for wedding dresses I often found that the styles were either hideous, the colours hideous or the prices were ridiculous considering this was a second hand dress, most of which were in need of a clean.
I began to tire of spending hours every night looking at wedding dresses to find that they were either dirty, damaged or already sold when I enquired about them. I was moaning to my sister about this when she suggested that I have a look on eBay. I must say that at this point I was really annoyed with myself for not thinking of this sooner and promptly began searching eBay where I could be a lot more specific about my requirements.
=== Was the search over? ===
Within just a week or so of searching on eBay I had found a dress that looked wonderful. It was described as being almost my exact measurements at the time and I felt confident that I could lose a few more pounds to ensure that it fit me perfect. It was quite an over the top dress. It was a dress with small straps and it had lots of tutu style layers to it making the dress quite wide around the waist. I felt that this princess style would suit me and while I obviously wouldn't get to try it on before buying it I set my heart on it and waited until the final hours to begin making my bid on the dress. I found that as soon as I began to bid on the dress that someone else was outbidding me and the bidding quickly went from £50.00 to £100.00+. I was then called at work and informed that my Mum had been taken in to hospital, I rushed up there, spent an hour or two telephoning various relatives and friends and what not to let them know what was happening, this caused my battery to begin to drain down on my smartphone. By the time I remembered about bidding again there was just 30 minutes to go and the bidding quickly escalated again, this time with me just being outbid at £250.00. My battery then died and I remember feeling gutted that I had lost out on this dress but then reminding myself that my Mum needed me and another dress would come along. My Mum quickly recovered and was allowed to leave the hospital the same night providing she had someone to help her take it easy at home, which was quickly arranged. This was just a few weeks before Christmas 2010 and I remember that the loss of this dress I really wanted played on my mind quite a lot and I was continually searching for similar dresses. Within just a few weeks of missing out on the dress it was listed again for sale, by the same seller, and it sold for much less than the £250.00 price that it had escalated to before, this made me question where the seller had been asking someone else to bid on it, quite possibly, to push the price up and in a way I was glad that I hadn't gone over the amount of money I had wanted to spend or I would have just kept bidding and possibly regretted it once the dress turned up.
=== This is the one this time, I can feel it... ===
In January 2011 I was still bidding on wedding dresses here and there, small amounts really trying to win a bargain, and then I got an e-mail and a frantic text message from my sister. She was adamant that she had found me the perfect wedding dress and that the price was going to be fantastic! I quickly logged on to my e-mail and opened up the eBay link that she had sent me to see what all the fuss was about...
The dress was not really done any justice at all in the pictures. It was being sold by a hospice in the Isle of Man and the bidding hadn't even begun on it with just two days to go which is quite rare for wedding dresses on eBay as women seem to frequently get carried away with bidding on these dresses. I promptly set the dress on my watch list, mainly because of the measurements rather than the actual photographs of the dress. The dress was being displayed on a size 6-8 mannequin which meant that it just hung there and the mannequin was drowned by the dress. The bust of the dress looked a little bit saggy on the mannequin and there really was no wow factor when looking at the dress. By this point I was so demotivated with searching for a wedding dress and conscious that I had less than 5 months to go until the big day so decided that I would set myself a limit of £75 and see if I could win it.
=== Did I win the dress? ===
So the day of the auction end came and I was working hard throughout the day. I had scheduled to take my lunch hour at a specific time so that I could bid on the dress just before it finished and then set my maximum bid now and hope that I would outbid anyone who had bidded on it. The dress had two other bidders on it and with just 15 minutes to go I placed a bid of a maximum of £50 which I then increased to £75 with just one minute to go. I ended up winning the dress for just £51.50 including postage from the Isle of Man, I can remember feeling elated and showed just one friend a photograph of the dress at the time. She said that it was hard to tell if it was going to be nice but the lace up back we could see in one photograph looked very nice.
=== It's here, it's here, it's here! ===
My dress arrived just 2 days after my lunchtime bid had won it for me and I can remember bursting with excitement when I took the massive box from the postman. I tore the box open as carefully as possible and was just blown away with the gorgeous ivory colour that my dress was. It had been hard to tell from the photographs exactly what kind of colour it was going to be but it was a wonderful ivory colour that while it needed a clean you could tell just how amazing it was underneath some of the light dust it had picked up while not being loved or used. The dress was well packaged and even came with a dress bag that had some slight damage to it but I was very pleased as this wasn't even advertised in the listing anyway.
I promptly set about trying the dress on and called a friend over to help me lace it up so I could get the full effect of it before heading off to work for the day. I was actually a little late for work that day, for the first time in almost two years, as the excitement was just crazy and then I lost track of time while I modeled the dress for my sister over my webcam. She sounded very excited and both my sister and my friend agreed that the dress was amazing and fit me like a glove. I was delirious with excitement and couldn't contain my happiness even sending my fiance a text telling him that my dress had arrived and it was amazing. I then set about carefully wrapping it and hanging it up inside the wardrobe, no mean feat I can tell you, so I could ensure that he wouldn't see it before the big day.
=== Care, attention and a little steam clean ===
Once I had looked at the dress about 100 times with my wedding dress goggles on I began to cast my critical eye over it to see just what might need to be fixed or altered on the dress. I could see that there was a few make up marks on the silky lace that tied up the back but even just dabbing one of the marks with some water I knew that these would be easily removed. I could also see that dress was creased in places and would need some steam on it to remove the worst of them ready for the big day. As well as this there was some standard dirt around the bottom from where someone else had enjoyed their wedding day in this dress and then just donated it to the hospice to help them raise some funds. There was no actual damage to the dress and I just arranged for it to be cleaned and steamed in my local dry cleaners for £65.00. This was the cheapest quote I received for such a large dress and considering my dress had petticoat layers, ruffles and a large train I felt that this was a reasonable quote. I didn't actually put my dress in the shop until about three weeks before the big day and it took around a week to get it back and then I was all set to wear it on our wedding day.
=== The dress itself ===
My dress was an ivory strapless dress, it had lots of small diamante and pearl style beads attached to it. The beading and detail was very intricate and was all over the bodice and parts of the front of the dress. The train had some ruffles which sort of flared out and these parts were patterned with lovely swirls which had some more diamantes on them also. There was so much beautiful detailing on the dress and it was only really on the wedding day that I noticed this the most as so many people were commenting on just how lovely and beautiful the wedding dress was, as well as how nice I looked. The strapless dress meant that I could wear a necklace my husband had bought me and show this off without anything else detracting from the beauty of the diamond.
The back of the dress was lace up. This was added by a large panel in the back of the dress that pulled across and closed up with poppers. This meant that the dress could be pulled in tight and then laced up on top of the panel to ensure that it was kept held in place all day and didn't need any readjustment. The dress took about ten to fifteen minutes to be laced in to and appeared to be very simple for my sister-in-law who kindly did this, and my hair and make-up, for me on the day of the wedding.
=== My overall experience of wearing a wedding dress ===
I must say that when we got married in the first weekend of June 2011 we knew that the weather could be a little hit & miss but we didn't expect to end up with 25-28 degrees of glorious, almost cloud free sunshine. This meant that I while I had realised that it could possibly be sunny on our wedding day I wasn't really thinking it would actually happen, must like the British Summer, always a promise, never a guarantee, well, I was wrong! The sunshine was of course very appreciated and meant for some wonderful photographs but it also meant that after about three hours of photographs that I felt like I was melting. The dress I wore was heavy but not overly so and I soon adjusted to wearing it within about five minutes of standing up to say our vows. I spent most of the day standing up in my wedding dress chatting, drinking and having photographs taken and had no trouble even though my dress weighed around ten to eleven pounds! The dress was quite comfortable considering the vast size of it and lightweight considering just how much material there actually was.
I loved wearing my wedding dress and the whole experience of our wedding. We had an amazing day, with our family and friends, committing our love to one another and the wedding dress was really just one small part of our wedding day. The dress received a ton of compliment and I even told my closest family and friends just how cheap the dress was. The total amount spent on the wedding was around £4,500 but fortunately only £120 of that was on my wedding dress and having it cleaned. This was fantastic as it meant that we could spend more money on the wedding without worrying about our budget and also my Mum was able to pay for our cake and some other bits instead of paying for an overpriced dress that I was only going to wear once.
=== My top tips ===
My top tips with choosing your wedding dress would be:
- Ensure that you make a budget for yourself and stick to it.
- Be realistic when setting your budget. If you are having a wedding on a shoestring then make sure you are realistic, if you want to do your whole wedding for £1,000 then you can't go spending £800 on a wedding dress or your husband will be naked at the registry office and your guests won't have any food to eat afterwards!
- Try some on in a wedding dress shop but don't commit yourself to anything. This will allow you to know what kind of sizes are going to fit you and what kind of style dress you like.
- List down your measurements. If you are of the belief that your wedding dress should fit around you not you fit in to your wedding dress then making a note of your measurements is going to be a fantastic help, particularly if you are looking around online.
- Don't rule out second hand. By buying second hand you can sometimes make sure that you get a designer dress for a fraction of the price, if that is what you want. Just scour the right places, pick your time and swoop!
I must say that choosing my wedding dress was one of the most stressful parts of getting the wedding organised but as soon as I had THE dress then I knew that I was going to have ivory and gold for the rest of the colours for our wedding and everything fell in to place after that.
Summary: I found the ideal wedding dress in the end and loved every minute of wearing it.