It is my long held belief that it is the prerogative of every bride, regardless of age shape or size, to look and feel amazing on their wedding day.
The problem with this however is that if you are not of absolute standard proportion, retailers, indeed society in general, is just not geared up to allowing for individuality and anything out of the basic "norm".
A sad state of affairs! However, for those of us that are more unique.... there is no need to become despondent.
There is absolutely no reason why, with a little forethought and preparation, your bridal search shouldn't be the enjoyable and special experience you want it to be.
With this in mind, I would just add at this point, that if you should ever happen to find yourself in a situation where you are not made to feel really special, take the opportunity to say your thank yous ...and just leave. You are looking for the most important dress of your life and if the service isn't what it should be, they are misguided, not you.
So… How can you avoid this happening whilst keeping the search special and coming away with the absolute dress of your dreams that you feel absolutely fantastic in?
Well, firstly, the advice I would always give to any bride is to start with good preparation and research.
Take time to think about what you like. Do you have an idea of a dress that has been in your mind for as long as you can remember? Look for images that sum that up for you and if you can, create a type of mood board so you can get a real feel of what you're going for.
If you really haven't got a clue where to start and are very unsure of yourself, just look through loads of images and pick out any that resonate with you, even in the slightest.
Ideally they should make your heart sing!... but if they don't, that's not a problem, just pick out any that have even the smallest detail that you vaguely like. It may be colour, shape, sleeve, fabric or even the tiniest trimming detail.
It's all relevant and you will be amazed how, by doing this, you will soon have a clearer idea of what you're looking for.
Okay, so armed with this…. next you need to do a little research into stockists and it is always a good idea to phone them before your visit to make sure they have your preferred size and style in stock. If they don't, you can always ask if they can get them in for you to try on. Either way, you really don’t want to be turning up on the off chance and risk being disappointed.
Remember…… keep it special!
Just by the by, it’s always a good idea, as a back up to take the name of the person you spoke to, especially if they reassure you that they do indeed have your styles and size. In this way you are more likely to have a positive experience when you arrive for your appointment.
Be prepared to travel if needs be. We have brides frequently travelling from all over the globe for a wedding dress they have fallen in love with, and I would advise that you be prepared to do the same thing.
It may seem counter intuitive to go to such great lengths but certainly the brides we have dealt with have all been very grateful of the experience and have found it well worth the time and trouble if it gets them the absolute dress of their dreams. You can always travel with your friends or partner and make a real memory of it.
If you are really struggling to find a stockist or designer that works for you then you may very well want to consider having a bespoke dress made.
This is not without its challenges but again if you do a little preparation beforehand and proper research then it can be a very, very good way of getting the dress you want without having to compromise on style or experience.
The key things here are to make sure you actually like the designer/dressmaker and that they make you feel comfortable.... and special!
You will also need to know that you like their style Make sure you feel confident that you can trust them to work with you to get what is right for you, not what they just want to put you in.
The best way of doing this, once you have found a designer who style you like, is to do your research and make sure you look at reviews and/or get references, and remember… they are there to help, so if there’s anything you’re unsure of, don’t be afraid to ask.
On a personal note… it goes without saying that if you are happy with your body and who you are, then just go ahead and celebrate your curves in the same way any bride would, but it’s worth remembering that if you don’t feel good about your size, then you won’t feel good in any dress, let alone your wedding dress. If you think you would like to shed a few pounds but have never quite had the motivation, then wanting to look and feel fabulous on your wedding day can often be the incentive you need.
It may be worth mentioning at this point that which ever way you decide to go, you may find that a dress with some boned corsetry in it can emphasise those gorgeous curves in a way you never imagined possible.
The key word in all of this is “you”. It really is about how “you” want to feel and should have nothing to do with anyone else.
Having said that… if you feel you would like a little feed back, then you may want to take someone along with you, but I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to make sure that it is the right person. You need be to certain it is someone who really has your best interests at heart and who you can trust in terms of both taste and honesty.
With that in mind…. A tiny thought about that life long fantasy bridal gown.
It’s the same with any bride… when it finally comes to trying on the dress of your dreams, you may find it doesn’t actually do the trick.
This is when that honest feedback can be really helpful, as it can be hugely disappointing, but there are always ways around it so don’t despair… you don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
As an example…. You try on that full ballerina dress with massive tulle skirt that you always wanted to wear. You love the effect but it doesn’t look anything like you imagined and doesn’t make you feel great.
In this case you could perhaps look for a dress shape that works better for you, and add some soft lighter layers of tulle or use it as a delicate trim to keep the mood. There are all sorts of ways of doing this, and if you are working with a good designer they should be able to come up with lots of options for you. Just keep an open mind and be prepared to go with the flow and try different ideas, and when you do this, be even more prepared to be surprised.
And of course, most importantly, no bride should be made to compromise, no matter what age, shape or size she is. Your dream dress is out there so keep looking and experimenting until you have found it, and I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true…. When your heart sings you will know, and your face will light up and tell you!
Enjoy the search!