Say Yes to the Dress is not an accurate portrayal of wedding dress shopping, nor is that episode in Friends where they all go home with a perfectly fitting dress and drink beer together…. that’s what I’ve learnt. Below is a true account of my dress shopping experience — no large black pegs were used in the making of it.
Unsure of where to start, my friend Tanya, who got engaged around a similar time to me, recommended a bridal shop in Essex as a great starter shop. They stock loads of different styles and she said I would be able to really filter out what I liked and didn’t like, so I took her advice and started the hunt there.
On a delightfully dull Saturday morning, my mum, sister and mum-in-law to be set off into the depths of Essex filled with excitement. I had visions of grandiose changing rooms, champagne, plush carpets and bright lights…oh how quickly I learnt that that was not the case. I entered a world of total and utter overwhelmingness. There were so many dresses I literally didn’t know where to start.
The lady who served us was lovely and explained the different styles and I gave her my budget. I decided to try on a range of styles as I literally had no clue. After selecting the dresses we were taken to the ‘dressing room’ which was a tiny, narrow room with a curtain at one end and just enough seats for everyone. It was essentially a broom cupboard. We weren’t offered a drink and I could feel my mouth becoming drier as I became more overwhelmed by it all.
At this point I should mention that I am 5ft3 and a size 12. Wedding dresses, unbeknown to me are made for 6ft tall, size 8 people. This was the start of what was quite frankly an exhausting, and at times depressing wedding dress shopping extravaganza that lasted about a month.
To sum up my first wedding dress shop experience, I look like a bowling pin in large ball gown dresses, mermaid style are near on impossible to walk in, and trying to picture yourself on the happiest day of your life with a woman standing behind you attempting to hold you in, do not scream out the romantic, wonderful experience I had imagined.
The second shop on the list (same day I might add, and I recommend you don’t do that, it was exhausting) was still in Essex and I had decided to go because they stocked a designer I liked. This wedding dress shop, amazingly, was worse than the first. Not only did they not have a toilet (we were instructed that the Pie & Eel shop next door were happy for us to use theirs) but there were no private changing rooms. I had to come out in an ill-fitting, ugly dress in the middle of shop with strangers staring at me! This is literally my idea of hell on earth.
The wedding diet was a non-starter at this point and quite frankly I do not love my body. I have lumps and bumps and my tummy sticks out. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this, least of all squeezed into a size 8 glittered up mermaid dress. I find it quite amazing that brides like me are forced to make decisions about the most important item of clothing they will ever buy when the thing doesn’t fit. How do I know if I will be comfortable in it for 11 hours when at this moment in time it is cutting my arm pit like razor blades and the zip hasn’t gone past by bum!