Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Dress - The Tears and Triumph!

If the title seems a tad dramatic, believe me it's pretty spot on!

Seeings as our wedding is 3 and a 1/2 months away, I bit the bullet on Saturday and went dress shopping.  I was hoping to leave it a bit longer to give myself the chance to lose a bit more weight, and to be honest, to delay the agony!

On a good day I hate clothes shopping, anyone who has ever been clothes shopping in the size 18+ range will know what I'm talking about.  Going clothes shopping often makes me sad, sad that I'm not a 'normal' size, sad that I can rarely walk into a 'normal' store and buy off the rack.  Just about every time I leave feeling horrible about myself, I know it's a situation I caused, and only I can fix, and I'm on the way to that, but still, it's not something I think I'll ever look forward to.

So 9am Saturday I hit the road to Newcastle, some of the lovely ladies on Simple Savings had given me a list of shops to visit.  So armed with that list of 8 stores, I hit the road.

Arriving at Hunter Street Newcastle, I didn't realise that it was a bridal district, I parked in front of Calabro Bridal, but as I pulled up the store across the road - Newcastle Bridal House - caught my eye, so I headed there.

Entering the store was intimidating, I've never been in a bridal store, let alone tried anything on.  Luckily Angela at NBH was just lovely.  She asked me if I had any thoughts as to style, I showed her the photos I'd collected & printed, she told me she would pick a few out and I just had to go strip down to bra & knickers and she'd be with me (1st embarassment of the day).

So I strip down to bra & knickers, holding my tshirt over me (yes body image issues), then Angela came in, opened the curtains (hello embarassment) told me to drop the tshirt, turn around, arms in the air.  Luckily I only had about 10 seconds to think about it (and I'll be honest the option of pulling on pants, top and bolting to the car was high in the thought list).

The first dress was ok, but when I walked out to the mirror, I was popping out the top and my arms looked HUGE, and standing at the next mirror was a skinny mini size 6-8 who looked like a model in her white gown, my confidence immediately hit rock bottom, so I embarrassingly said no not this one.  She stripped it off me, said be back in a minute, and I stood there, almost in tears, feeling like a whale, and about to tell the lovely Angela to not worry about it.

Angela came in with another dress, I think she could tell I was feeling horrid, so started some smalltalk which got me out of the funk a little.  The next dress was better, lace ups sucked it in at the waist, and it fitted better at the bust, so the mirror image wasn't as horrifying.  But still not the exact right one.

I tried on 2 others, then Shizam I found the one.

One of the first dresses that caught my eye in my online search had rouching across the bust and waist.

One of the first dresses I liked online 
This dress had embroidery and bling on the bust over chiffon, then the chiffon fell in rouch style down across the waist and into the skirt.

Another dress I liked had a bit of bling on the shoulders, and back, I tried on a similar grecian style dress and the style really didn't do much for me, but the dress I tried on that I was warming to had a bit of bling on the skirt and the back.

Another I'd liked, with a bit of bling
The dress is a lace up and the cross overs under the bust really help bring the waist in, and made me feel secure across the bust.  It's made from chiffon, and I think the soft fall is really flattering, plus with the rouching, helps hide the bumps!

So all is going along swimmingly, I think I've found my dress, then Angela asks when my wedding is, I tell her 23 July, she replies 'oh excellent, that's plenty of time for alterations (the one I tried on was a little small, puckering at the back)', I'm thinking woohoo excellent, job done, then she says 'you're very organised having your dress sorted a year ahead of your wedding!


I tell her no, it's not 23 July 2012, it's 23 July 2011, as in 3 and a bit months away.  The look on her face makes me feel sick straight away.

She says that all of their dresses are 6+ months minimum, even with a rush order (more expensive) you wouldn't have it before late August, early September.

So we're standing there looking at each other, me close to tears, she with a concerned look on her face.  Then she says head out to our Boolaroo store, they have more sizes and might have something similar.

So I leave NBH and heading to my car decide to have a look in Belles & Beaux, recalling the positive comments on Simple Savings.  The store was packed to the brim with deb dress hunters, brides and bridesmaids.  I had a look, found a couple, tried them on, but wasn't taken with them, plus they said 5-6 months to get anything made.

So I head to my car, I'm deflated and tempted to head home and forget it, Mr Mel calls to ask how I'm going, I try to keep it together so he can't tell I'm an inch away from crying, but he can tell.   He says 'chickadee go to Boolaroo, don't give up, your dress is out there'.  I call my sister, and she gives me a pep talk also.

So after I have a bit of a cry (due to Mr Mel's sweetness & the dress situation!)  I head to Boolaroo, with not a great deal of confidence.

The ladies there were lovely, I told them straight up that I was on a time crunch, so they knew from the get go I was a bit shall we say, emotional!

Again I went and stripped off while the ladies go picking dresses for me.

The first 2 were nos before they were zipped up.  The next one was very nice, but satin, and the shiny-ness (word?) was offputting, and not overly flattering on my figure.  I tried on a few grecian styles, nope, a 1 shoulder one, nope, a halter neck NO!  Then she brings in the chiffon dress I'd tried at the Hunter St store, in the next size up.

I try it on and I know straight away it's the one, one of the ladies comments that she'd never seen it on a girl before, that it was much nicer than on the hanger, the lass who was dressing me (yes I've forgotten her name!) had the biggest smile she'd had all day.

I tried on the satin one again, tossing up between the satin & chiffon, trying both with a chiffon bolero to cover the arms a bit.  And there's no competition, the chiffon dress is divine, I ask both ladies to give me their thoughts as I was flying solo, and wouldn't be able to have anyone come back with me. They both agreed the chiffon one, and seeings as it was cheaper than the satin I'm pretty sure they were being legit.

The next thing was the time crunch with getting one made in time.

While I was getting dressed the ladies had a bit of a pow-wow, then said that while they don't usually sell the samples, if I wanted the one I'd tried on, I could have it.  I could have kissed both of them.

I said yes please, I'll have the dress and bolero, and bonus Saturday was 15% off all in store, woohoo!

So I have my dress, yay, sigh of relief.  I am leaving the dress at the store, and will go back in 5-6 weeks for alterations/fitting, am considering having cap sleeves made out of chiffon, embroidery and bling added.

Between now and the fitting I need to sort underwear & shoes, compared to the dress shopping, it should be a breeze!

So now my spiel is over, this is my dress, it's not a great photo, it looks so much better in person, ivory chiffon, adding caplet type bits of chiffon, with an ivory chiffon bolero (very plain).

Not a great photo - but this is my dress!

Cap sleeve - probably going to add to my dress, similar to these
Extra warmth for winter wedding & to help hide arms! (couldn't find my exact bolero online)
And it goes without saying, when I rang Mr Mel to let him know I'd found my dress he was very relieved, he said if I'd not called in the next 1/2 hour he was going to ring my sister and ask what to do!  How sweet is he!

After calling Mr Mel, I rang my sister, and she said she'd been stressing since speaking to me, and was so happy to hear I'd found a dress I loved!

I would have loved to have had her with me for the dress shopping, but living in different states makes it very difficult, as soon as I got home I emailed her a photo from the website, and she loves it too.  She'll be the first one to see it, as she's my 1 and only bride slave.  Plus she needs to lace me up/in!

Another thing crossed of the to-do list, woohoo!!


  1. Congratulations on finding your dress! xx

  2. Oh my gosh Mel...what a divine will look glorious! Mimi

  3. Thanks Mimi :) I was shocked & very very happy to have found it!

  4. How nerve wracking it is choosing a wedding gown. I had the same problem when I got married at a size 18. The dress is lovely and you will be beautiful on your very special day.

  5. Thanks Jan :) It was a very confronting and scary day! But ended on a good note, will make swimwear shopping for honeymoon less confronting :) But shall leave that till alot later

  6. You may have had difficulties in finding the right dress but see? You have found the one! :D Boleros are just easy to find and that style of bolero on the third photo is amazing and fits the dress so well ;)

  7. Thanks Grace :) The bolero I've gone with is a little different to the one in the photo, but once on looks like it was made for it, the ladies in the shop were shocked it looked so nice! :)

  8. It's going to look absolutely gorgeous!! x

  9. Oh, I love me a good wedding! :)

    And that is a lovely dress - because it has a 'clean' and uncluttered look to it. And A-line is always flattering.

    I wish you the best of luck!

    This Good Life


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