Saturday, 21 March 2015

My Wedding Dress Journey: Dress Shop 3 of 4

This post is long overdue.

Mae Bridal in Witney Oxfordshire was by far the prettiest shop I visited, there is only one range of plus size dresses, but they are seriously awesome dresses.

I didn't buy my dress from here, only because I'm from Yorkshire and went up there to try dresses with my mum and we ended up buying one together (an experience I wouldn't change). If I could have bought 2 dresses I would have bought one here for sure! (I nearly did!) So since I didn't buy a dress I thought I could at least write a post to tell other plus size Oxfordshire ladies about my experience.

Every inch of this shop is perfect. Here are some pictures to prove it (Incidentally I snapped these pictures when I had my hair and makeup trial, with Jules hair and makeup who runs some of her trials out of Mae Bridal)

Under normal circumstances I would not have gone into Mae Bridal... let me explain my logic: growing up plus size in the 90's I soon became to realise that there is nothing in a boutique for me. Boutiques are stunning places with filled with dresses dreams are made of, the size lables however stop at a 20 (If you're lucky). Over time I just got into the habit of walking past boutiques and not pausing to look in the window.

I found Mae bridal through searching for stockists of a particular brand of dress: Sonsie by Veromia, and here they are:

There's lace and beading and sparkles, not cheap sparkles but glorious beautiful bling!

If you are bashful this shop is for you! Trying on wise, Mel left the dresses behind a big (and luxurious) curtain (see picture 1), then I stepped into the dresses by myself and Mel popped in and fastened me up, then the curtain was pulled back for my party to see. If you are bashful about anyone seeing you in your underwear then this is great! Take note: most shops involve someone seeing you in your underwear! Mel's approach is a real rarity.

Mel was really friendly and I didn't feel uncomfortable at any point. Sometimes you get a vibe from someone that they are holding their feelings about your size back (badly!) out of politeness, Mel wasn't like this at all. It's hard to be plus size not to feel judged, wedding dress trying on brought these feelings to the surface for me, largely because you are forced to scrutinize yourself and there is so much pressure for everything to be perfect something bigger gals are told that they can not be. (Incidentally wedding perfection is an impossible goal, something WILL go wrong on the day to some degree, I promise! -Ours was a missing cravat which my groom went dashing into Oxford for, a couple of hours before he was due to tie the knot!) Anyhow off topic, apologies. 

I guess I should show you some pictures of me in some dresses then! (direct links don't work so each link will take you to the Veromia webpage, then just look for the number) 

With blogging pictures paint a thousand words, so I'll let them do the talking, pretty gorgeous dresses though! I can of course chat about any of these dresses, just ask in the comments.

There was one dress I liked a lot (which I haven't shown you... yet!) it went into a sale and Mel remembered me and e-mailed me to let me know which was really sweet. (Like I said I nearly bought a second dress!) I know someone will have got an amazing dress though!

Another big advantage for me was that Mel was really good at communicating over e-mails, with my job I found it hard to phone places in opening hours.

Mae bridal really was breath of fresh air, a beautiful boutique with beautiful plus size dresses! If you are in the Oxfordshire area and are planning to tie the knot, give Mel a call!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

My Wedding Dress Journey: Dress Shop 2

Shop 2

Shop 2 was an outlet.

By the time I visited Shop 2 -The wedding Collection in Beverley East Yorkshire I was starting to narrow down my ideas (these shops are in order of dress success, not chronological)

I was hopeful I would be able to try on a few dresses, but with an outlet what you see is what you get! Plus size dresses were far and few between, in all honesty I was trying on the biggest dresses in the outlet (size 26-30) to put this into perspective I am usually a size 22. I was not going to buy a dress I was in danger of not fitting in to, hence I was only trying on dresses I could actually wear. Unlike many brides I did not set out to drop dress sizes for the wedding, 2014 was a busy and stressful year, I was a bridesmaid and I was a bride and I had both wedding cakes to make! On top of working full time with a long commute. I was not going to put all that extra pressure on myself, just no.

I guess another important point with outlets is that they are not private appointments. This did not feel like shop 1 where a whole room was looking at you, it felt friendlier and nicer I found myself chatting to another bride quite easily.

I only have pictures of one dress as it was the only one which I considered buying. So here are the pictures:

This was another phenomenal dress in its own right, the rouching around the waist was a great design feature and really drew in my waist. The tulle skirt was spectacular it had a superfine glitter making it shimmer and sparkle. It came in around £900 (down from £1300), expensive but understandably so. 

Sadly this dress is discontinued but it's by Veromia.

At this poin I knew I could be pickier. Nothing could have stopped me comparing any of the dresses here to another dress that I had found...

Sunday, 8 March 2015

My Wedding Dress Journey: Dress Shop 1

Dress Shop 1

Not the first I visited, but the worst experience for me. (I will stress for me... they knew what they were doing and they were polite, but were more geared to smaller gals)

Having visited this dress shop with a friend (when she was trying on dresses) I asked if they would have dresses to fit me. The lady was confident she had LOADS of dresses I could try on... I was skeptical but after all I am standing right in front of her and she could see my shape and size so I booked an appointment.

I tried on 3 dresses here... well 4 if you count the one that was pinned to my front!

Also the appointments were not private, so when I was squished into dresses that were too small I had to walk into a room full of strangers in order to show my accompanying party. Now I'm fairly robust, I don't hate my body I just accept it, people are different... if I spend my life wishing I was different life will pass me by! Anyhow I didn't experience any negativity (maybe I was just lucky, or naive)

So let's have some pictures! 

I don't have any of the details for these dresses to put in this post, so apologies for that. (If any brides to be think that they might like one of these dresses I can supply the shop details on request!)

The first dress was too narrow from the hips downwards, the chiffon type fabric was not for me, also it wasn't comfortable in any way, which is so important! (It's a long day, everyone who has been a bride will say that, they are not REALLY is!) The internal structure of the dress felt flimsy like the bones would bend and it wouldn't stay put! I knew I didn't want a dress that I would be adjusting all day, there is a lot of attention on you and I didn't want to be wiggling and adjusting as someone is always looking at you!
The next dress was also not for me (I had the same comfort and fit concerns as dress 1) also my mum hates duchess satin! I must say I'm not keen it was really heavy! 
The third dress was amazing in it's own right, this pose was me with my fairy princess wand! 
That's my mum in the background she is so cute! 
As amazing as this dress was, it was not the look I was going for.

I should have left it at that! Then this happened:

To be fair this doesn't look as bad as it felt but the memory of having a dress pinned to my front and having nothing on the back wasn't great..  my back really was against the wall for a reason! It's important to be strong, if you don't want this experience, say so don't let it happen.

Let's face it I didn't fall in love with any of the dresses. I must stress the shop was not for me, there was not enough choice and I wasn't willing to settle for a dress because it's all I could get. 

The dream shop is out there I promise... I found it!