Bride Tribe, Flower Girls, Page Boys, and other roles…

bride tribe blog post lila bailey blog

In my last post, I talked about bridesmaids & ushers and where we got to with our decision (you can catchup here). In this post, I’m going to explore roles you can give other friends and family members who aren’t included in your ‘bridal party’ as such. I’m talking bride tribe, flower girls, ceremony readings, etc…

Bride Tribe

First of all, back to my bunch of gals. Although it didn’t feel right to have everyone as a bridesmaid, I still wanted my closest girls to be involved. So instead of bridesmaids, I’ve got them as part of my bride tribe. They can still help with all the fun parts of a wedding (the hen party planning, getting ready in the morning, etc) but without the whole bridesmaids dresses & walking down the aisle thing.

bride tribe blog post ever after blog

(I wrote them all a card and gave them a little personalised box with some pressies inside).

I would 100% recommend doing something like creating a bride tribe if you’re struggling with your bridesmaid decision. At the end of the day, this is your wedding so doing what’s right for you is the most important thing. But if you can also keep everyone happy then that’s a winner too! (And how cute is having a bride tribe as well as bridesmaids!).

bride tribe blog post ever after blog

Photo by Naomi Kenton

Flower Girls & Page Boys

Another great way to include close friends is to ask their children to be your flower girls and/or page boys. Obviously this requires said friends to actually have children… But if they do, it will probably mean even more to them for their children to be involved rather than themselves.

bride tribe blog post flower girls ever after blog

Photo by Mila Kos Photography

Euan & I both have a close friend with a little one. Even more perfect is my friend has a daughter and his friend has a son – one of each!

 

Other Roles

Okay, so what about those cousins who you grew up with but haven’t seen for 6 years? Or siblings of your other half who you aren’t that close to? We’ve all been there! If you’re having a church wedding, readings are a big part of the service and a really lovely way to involve someone who otherwise wouldn’t be. Even if you’re not getting married in church, you can still include readings in your ceremony (which I highly recommend doing anyway!).

bride tribe blog post ever after blog

Photo by Little Red Book Photography

There are many roles across the day, such as making announcements (an MC if you like), or giving out confetti. You could even play to particular individual strengths of the person. For example, Euan’s sister has a photography degree so we’ve asked her to be a secondary photographer on the morning of the wedding and capture the boys getting ready with Euan. Without her, we wouldn’t have any professional photos of the groom and his friends as our main photographer will be with me (obviously).

 

To Conclude

When it comes to wedding politics, it is so easy to offend someone (or everyone). But as long as you feel confident with your decision and your reasons for making said decision then who can argue? (Well someone will, but hey ho!).

bride tribe blog post ever after blog

Photo by Mila Kos Photography

Bridesmaids & Ushers – The Dilemma

bridesmaid blog post lila bailey blog

So you may have read my blog post from a few months ago where I chatted about being engaged and all that comes with it. I briefly touched on the sensitive subject of Bridesmaids & Ushers, and admitted we were shutting it in a cupboard until further notice…

Well, further notice has been and gone (we had to make a decision eventually) so I thought I’d explore the decision making process and our final conclusion, in the hope that it might help any couples-to-be who are facing similar problemos.

bridesmaids blog post ever after blog

Photo by Little Red Book Photography 

Ushers

So with my fiancé, Euan, it was most definitely an all-or-nothing approach. He could either have all of his close friends, plus my brothers and his brother-in-law (totalling 8!) or he could scale it back and just have family plus his best friend as his best man. After a lot of going back & forth, he decided to keep things simple (and therefore offend the least amount of people) by having my brother and his brother-in-law as ushers, his best man, and a musher (mini-usher) aka my youngest brother who will be 13 when we get married.

bridesmaids and ushers blog post ever after blog

Photo by Naomi Kenton

One of the main things for him was not wanting to have a ridiculous amount of ushers. We’d both previously said we liked the idea of having slightly more intimate numbers for our bridal party, and the thought of having 7-8 ushers just seemed a little ridiculous. He seems super happy with his decision, and his friends completely understand.

 

Bridesmaids

Ah, my turn. Don’t get me wrong, Euan found his decision hard, but I definitely found mine harder. I have a fabulous bunch of girlfriends from this area and I also have some wonderful childhood besties from where I grew up. However, I was definitely more adamant than Euan about having small numbers for my bridal party. Anyone else feel like they would just end up doing things to keep everyone else happy rather than themselves? And the thought of finding a dress that 6-7 young women will agree on surely makes your head spin? It certainly did for me.

bridesmaids and ushers blog post ever after blog

Photo by Mila Kos Photography

I also started going down the round that I’m sure many of you are familiar with; the ‘well if I have them, then I really should have them too. And if I’ve got her, then I should definitely have her’…. And so on! My head could honestly have exploded.

In the end I went back to where I started and asked my cousin to be my maid of honour, and my childhood bestie and a very close friend from later years to be my bridesmaids. And I feel so good about my decision!

bridesmaids and ushers blog post ever after blog

Photo by First Light Wedding Photography

To be continued….

In my next post, I’m going to chat about the other gal pals and what you can do to keep everyone happy (or try to).

Did you catch my stationery blog posts? You can find part 1 here.

Wedding Stationery – The Options, Part 2

wedding stationery blog post lila bailey blog

In my last blog post, I explored the first two options in my wedding stationery summary; DIY stationery and personalised & professional. In this post, I’m exploring the middle ground, so to speak, of the wedding stationery world. And there are a few options which fall under this category!

 

‘Something In-Between’ Wedding Stationery

Now this is quite a broad section, but also means there’s probably something for everyone. If you don’t have the time/energy/patience/drive for DIY wedding stationery, but spending a fortune on bits of paper for otherpeople seems absurd, this is the blog post for you. Ultimately, your guests need wedding invitations (and often information cards), and you need their RSVPs back. You may also want to send Save the Dates and Thank You cards in the same design. And then there are the orders of service, menus, place names… The list goes on!

wedding stationery options part 2

Photo by Dan Ward

Something new that’s cropping up a lot is email RSVPs, and I can see the attraction; you’re already cutting down a third of your stationery requirements. And you can add to that by sending the information over via email when they RSVP. Attractive, right? You could even send digital invitations too, but it depends how far you want to trust technology…

wedding stationery options part 2

If you’re like me and love the idea of slightly more traditional wedding stationery, then there are plenty of companies who offer middle-of-the-range wedding stationery. A popular company is Papierwho have hundreds of designs to choose from and you can edit your text to whatever suits you, but they won’t by any means break the budget. Less beautiful and less unique than other options, but does the job (without having to remortgage).

wedding stationery options part 2

Photo from Papier

Perhaps you’re up for a touch of DIY, minus the having-to-paint-some fabulous-designs-yourself part. Etsyhas a huge range of sellers who offer digital templates for you to purchase and download. You then create your stationery yourself and either print it yourself or seek the help of a professional print company. You could also do something similar if you have a particularly artistically talented friend or family member who is willing to paint you a design that you can digitally scan and use in the same way.

 

wedding stationery options part 2

Photo from Etsy

 

Conclusion

As with anything when it comes to your wedding, do what feels right for you. Don’t stress over trying to impress a handful of people that probably won’t be impressed no matter what you do. But equally, don’t make a decision you’ll come to regret just for the sake of money. My advice is to always set yourself an amount of money you’re happy to spend but that will also get you what you want. There is no point in over-spending and feeling nauseous after the wedding due to your looming overdraft, but at the same time you’re only going to do this once so you might as well do it properly.  And if you’re worried about the sheer amount that goes in to one day, then have a read of this post.

Wedding Stationery – The Options, Part 1

wedding stationery blog post lila bailey blog

Wedding stationery is one of those things that completes a wedding, but at the same time seems like a total waste of money. Am I right? I’m an actual stationery nerd, and when I was originally setting my wedding budget I put aside a lot of money for my stationery. But when they the time came to crunch those numbers, the wedding stationery – along with the wedding favours – became far less important and lost 75% of their funding. Austerity and all that!

So, what actually are your stationery options? I’ve done my research and I’ve summarised for you (you’re welcome). In short, you’ve essentially got 3 options; DIY, personalised & professional, and something in-between… In this blog post, I’ll be exploring options number 1 & 2.

wedding stationery options part 1

Photo byClare Kinchin

DIY Wedding Stationery

This is definitely the option I’ve seen the most of, and it’s getting increasingly more popular. Whilst there are a few elements of a wedding you might think you can DIY, I’d say your stationery is the safest one. Pinterest is full of ideas & inspiration, and you can find hundreds of tutorials on Youtube.

If stationery isn’t really your forte, and you fancy a project, then this is the option for you. Set yourself a strict budget, (because believe me craft materials don’t come cheap!) and make sure you’ve got the time, patience, and motivation to follow through until the end. Your stationery won’t be perfect (unless you’re incredibly talented!) but it’ll be unique to you, and will almost definitely have saved some money (not time, mind you).

wedding stationery options part 1

Photo by Freckle Photography

Personalised & Professional

If money isn’t an object or you have enough in the budget to spend on stationery, then definitely go for some incredibly stationery suites. Okay, I’m a little biased (stationery nerd and all that) but there are some incredible companies out there offering the most fantastic stationery. It would be rude not to invest!

You can opt for anything from hand painted watercolours, to your very own wedding venue painted exclusively for you and printed on all your invites, RSVPs, and orders of service. Yes, really! One amazing local stationery artist I came across is De Winton Paper Co. Her stationery suites are outstanding and she is super talented. And have a look at supplier listings on wedding blogs, such as Rock My Wedding, to find the ‘write’ company for you (terrible, terrible joke).

wedding stationery options part 1

Photo from De Winton Paper Co

Next time…

In my next blog post I’ll be looking at your ‘somthing-in-between’ wedding stationery options. Stay tuned!

Did you see my last post? You can find it here.

Your Wedding Experience – What to Prioritise

your wedding experience blog post lila bailey blog

Your wedding experience; the middle ground… So at the beginning of the month I chatted about wedding priorities from a guest’s point of view. And then chatted about the things that aren’t so important, both to you as a couple on your wedding day and to the guests. But there’s a whole other category I’m yet to explore. Your wedding experience. The things that really don’t matter much to guests on the day itself, but are actually crucial to your day and the memories which you’ll create.

Your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Luna Weddings

The Photographer

On the day – unless the photographer is exceptionally useless (it happens) – guests probably won’t pay much attention to the photographer. And they won’t know whether they were worth their money or not. However, a photographer – the right photographer – is one of the most important parts of your wedding day, irrelevant to guest experience.

your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Clare Kinchin

The photos captured on your wedding day are one of the only lasting memories you will have. As time passes, the emotion of the day I’m sure will never leave you, but the details of the day will. You might even forget what you looked like, what your bridesmaid wore, what the weather was like. The photos you have will last forever, and I cannot emphasise how important they are.

And behind the photos is a photographer. People underestimate the power of a good photographer, and the difference it makes. A good photographer isn’t just measured on their ability to edit photos, it’s about how they capture your day, how they manage your time, and how the cope with the unforeseen. Of course, it’s hard to know these things just based on their photographs. It’s good to speak to your already chosen suppliers or other industry professionals who may have worked with the photographers you’re considering and can give constructive and professional advice.

your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Sam Docker

Another thing to consider is the style of photography you want. There are many, many good photographers around, but not all of them will be right for you as a couple. And always make sure you’ve looked through an entire portfolio of a wedding (preferably multiple weddings) so you know that their photos & editing style is consistent. That way you know they’re not just showing you a handful of their best images (as the rest could be dreadful!). If they’re reluctant to show you a whole wedding then that tells you everything you need to know.

 

The Wedding Dress (and other outfits)

Well, it just wouldn’t be a blog post of mine without mentioning the wedding dress (sorry, not sorry). Don’t get me wrong, guests will take a huge interest in your wedding dress. But, it won’t affect their experience of the day. Your wedding experience, however, is practically defined by your wedding dress (I would say I’m over exaggerating but I just can’t bring myself to…).

your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Luna Weddings

And harking back to my post about your wedding not just being about one day, the wedding dress (and all the shopping that comes along with it) makes up such an integral part of your experience as a bride. It’s not essential to your guests experience, but it is absolutely (definitely, 100%) essential to yours. I don’t know about you but I would never go to an important event dressed in something I wasn’t totally comfortable with, and that rule is soo much more apparent for your own wedding day (obviously).

the dress blog post ever after bride firs look

Photo by Ben Selway

And of course the groom’s outfit is essential to his experience too. Although maybe not as important, he still needs to be happy, comfortable, and feeling like he looks a million dollars. (Because, naturally, you’re going to look like 2 million dollars…).

There is also the bridal posse to consider, too. Guaranteed the guests won’t really care what colour the usher’s ties are and whether the bridesmaids are wearing halter-neck or strapless. However, these outfits are still important to both you as a couple and the people wearing them. Time and consideration will go into each person’s attire, so it’s important that a decision everyone is happy with is made.

your wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Nick Walker

 

Your Wedding Experience

Those are just a few things that really will matter to you, both on the day and as time passes. But what will make your wedding experience the best ever is if you relax, stay calm, and just enjoy yourself. Whatever happens will happen, and as long as you have supportive friends & family and amazing suppliers, then it will be okay. Take some time out with your new spouse to just take in the day. That could be when you go off together for photos, or just a moment of holding hands amongst the noise & commotion. Whatever it is, just put that time aside for yourselves because all of this is really is just about you and your future together.

 

byour wedding experience blog post ever after blog

Photo by Lucy Turnbull

The Bridal House of Cornwall – Local Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

the bridal house of cornwall wedding dress shopping experience lila bailey blog

On my hunt for the perfect wedding dress, I recently visited The Bridal House of Cornwall in Truro. Whilst Truro isn’t super local to me, it’s still not far. I actually travelled down by train and it was comfortable & easy.

The main reason for visiting The Bridal House of Cornwall was to treat one of my besties to a ‘wedding day out’ as I was going to ask her to be my bridesmaid (not that she knew that of course). I’m a tad fussy when it comes to bridal shops, and after my last experience I knew I didn’t want to just go ‘anywhere’. I wanted it to be really lovely. We were not disappointed!

 

The Bridal House of Cornwall – About the shop

If you know Truro at all then you’ll know what a gorgeous city it is. And The Bridal House of Cornwall, a stunning Georgian Mansion nestled in the heart of the city, was very in-keeping with that.

the bridal house of cornwall ever after blog

They stock a range of designers, from the high-end glitz & glamour queen, Jenny Packham, to the more affordable Spanish brand, Rosa Clara. Plus a bit of everything in between! A personal favourite is London designer, Naomi Neoh, who uses incredible silks and laces to create ultimate elegant wedding dresses.

the bridal house of cornwall dress shopping ever after blogthe bridal house of cornwall dress shopping ever after blog

 

The Bridal House of Cornwall Experience

There are two different options for your appointment. They offer a standard hour long appointment which is free of charge, or an ‘experience’ appointment which I highly recommend. My bridesmaid & I arrived early and were seated in the library and handed a glass of bubbles. The stylist was super friendly and chatty, and made us feel instantly welcome & comfortable.

The library is a gorgeous room. One wall is filled with shelves of shoes & jewellery, and another a bookcase design with vintage teacups and other adorable trinkets. My bridesmaid, Ruby, was in her element (which made me super happy because I wanted her to enjoy the day as much as me). We chatted some more to the stylist before she took us through to the showroom. In my opinion, they have the perfect number of dresses. Not so few that you can’t find any you like, but not so many that you get lost amongst them.

the bridal house of cornwall dress shopping ever after blog

Once we had chosen a handful of dresses, we were taken through to another room (honestly, this place is just fab) where I then tried on the gowns. There is a catwalk which you walk down and the stylist takes pictures for you to look through later. Before the appointment, the thought of a ‘catwalk’ seemed a bit daunting, but it’s not like that at all. The whole appointment was super relaxed and most importantly, fun.

We spent probably around an hour trying on dresses, and I enjoyed every second of it. As did Ruby! Once the dress-trying part was over, we went back into the library to look through the photos and select the ones we wanted to keep. And just when we thought the fun was over, we went back into the showroom where our stylist let us loose on the Photo Booth props and we had a mini photoshoot to document the day!

the bridal house of cornwall dress shopping ever after blog

 

It was honestly the most wonderful experience and I don’t think I’ll have another one like it. Although I didn’t find ‘the’ dress, that didn’t matter to me at all. It’s all these moments which make planning a wedding so exciting & memorable, and I’m so thankful to the team at The Bridal House of Cornwall for making such an important day that bit more special. 100% would recommend!

‘All this, just for one day’ – Let’s Discuss…

Okay, so as a bride-to-be how many times has ‘all this, just for one day’ been said to you? Have you even thought it yourself? I have already had so many people accost me with questions about it ‘just being for one day’. Well, people, I’m about to take you on a journey of discovery.

Newsflash! It’s not just about one day.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

Photo by Dan Ward

All this, just for one day? Part 1…

Firstly, it’s not ‘just a day’. It’s the foundation for your marriage. The day it all started. A celebration of your love. A chance for you to show the people around you how much they mean to you, how much you mean to them, and how much you (as a couple) mean to each other. It’s pretty symbolic.

Not to mention the family & friends reunion side of it. Tell me another instance where you get to sit in a room with all the most important people in your life. In one place. Altogether. For a happy occasion. You can’t? That’s because there isn’t one.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

Photo by Luna Weddings

All this, just for one day? Part 2…

Secondly, why wouldn’t you want an excuse to dress up in the best and most expensive clothing you can afford, drink amazing wine, eat wonderful food, and dance the night away? And whilst smiling the entire time! That sounds like the perfect day. What’s not to love?!

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

Photo by Clare Kinchin

All this, just for one day? Part 3…

 

Seriously though, it really isn’t just about that one day. Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s about the journey.

It’s about that indescribable feeling of being proposed to, and the tears of excitement and happiness as you share the news with family & friends.

It’s about deciding who you want to stand beside you on the day, and watching their expression as you tell them.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

It’s about working with your partner and making decisions about your day which reflect you as a couple, and learning more about each other as you do so.

It’s about listening to and respecting your partner’s thoughts & visions for your day and coming to conclusions that you are both happy with.

It’s about wedding dress shopping with your mum and girl-friends, drinking bubbles and squealing for no particular reason, just because.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

It’s about the days out with you girls/boys and giving them a chance to show you how much you mean to them.

It’s about sharing your excitement with your parents, and watching how happy it makes them to see you so elevated.

It’s about all of those little things in the build up. All of the decisions you make because of the wedding. All the conversations you have and all the memories you make along the way.

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

So, no, it’s not all for just one day.

 

Previous Post

 

Where to Save Your Money – Wedding Priorities

where to save your money lila bailey blog

In my last post, I explored the 4 things worth spending the majority of your wedding budget on (you can find it here). In this post I’ll be chatting about where to save your money; all those little bits which can spiral out of control and actually no-one really notices on the day…

 

Where to save your money

1. Stationery. Don’t get me wrong, I love stationery. And because your stationery the first time your guests get to see a glimpse of your wedding day, it is a really important added touch. But it is an added touch, and whilst everyone needs to know where to be and when, there comes a point where all those stationery extras become a little unnecessary.

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post stationery

Photo by Clare Kinchin

 

2. The Guestbook. Again, having a guestbook is a lovely touch and a great way to get creative. But let’s be realistic for a second. You don’t need to spend muchon a guestbook. There are many different guest book ideas, none of which cost too much, so don’t try and overcomplicate things by coming up with some elaborate guestbook plan. Save your hard earned cash for putting towards one of the wedding priorities, because – let’s face it – your guests really aren’t going to notice or care about how much money/time/effort you put into the guestbook. They’ll be more interested in the booze – trust me.

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post stationery

Photo by Luna Weddings

 

3. The Wedding Favours. Personally, I adore the idea of wedding favours. Anything miniature and you’ve got me hooked. That was – however – until I was looking into having gin miniatures as wedding favours at my own wedding. I was going to end up spending £250 on essentially a large shot of gin per person, and for what? The idea is great, and the gin miniatures would’ve been super cute (for about half a minute). But is it worth £250? I’m not saying don’t bother with wedding favours at all, I think they are a lovely touch. Just be clever about it. Instead of spending £1.50 a head, trying spending 40p. Every little helps!

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post wedding favours

Photo by Freckle Photography

 

4. Those extra bits. The list of ‘extras’ you can add to your wedding day is honestly endless. Baskets of flip flops, sparklers, sweet stations, additional decor, the list goes on… And if your budget allows, then go for it. But if you’re trying to cut back on your spending then trust me, these things are not a priority. A lovely touch, don’t get me wrong, but should in no way be the focus of your time, energy, and money.

where to save your money wedding priorities blog post extras

Photo by Voyteck Photography

Wedding Priorities – What you Should Spend your Money on

lila bailey blog page side image

‘Wedding priorities’ is a really important topic, especially if you don’t want to end up spending a fortune. Planning a wedding is no small task, and it can be so easy to get carried away. I’ve recently done a bit of research into what guests actually notice at weddings, and what they don’t. Here’s what I found…

 

Wedding Priorities

  1. The Venue. It does make sense. After all, it doesn’t matter what ‘additions’ you have to your wedding day, if the venue isn’t right then that’s all that people are going to notice. There are loads of elements that make the venue ‘right’ for you, so it’s about deciding what kind of wedding you want and how the venue will reflect you as a couple. It’s also worth considering the time of year you want to get married and finding a venue that suits your chosen season.wedding day priorities blog post

Photo byDan Ward

2. The Ceremony. This is essentially the most important part of your day, and the bit that holds the most meaning. Guests have been waiting for possibly years for this moment, so it’s good to remember that they will actually enjoy it, even if you think it’s the boring part. What makes a ceremony boring is if it’s totally impersonal or it drags on for hours. Keep it around 30-40 minutes long, and include something personal. That might be a reading that means a lot to you, or maybe even writing your own vows. Either way, this is why everyone has ‘gathered here today’ so make the most of it.

wedding day priorities blog post

Photo by Dan Ward

3. The Food & Drink. Providing plenty of food and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) is something that guests will always remember. If the food was scarce or rubbish (or both) then that’s what guests will come away with in the forefront of their minds. Likewise with the drinks (okay, maybe mainly alcohol – but the non-drinkers will sure remember if all they were offered was water!), if the alcohol runs out or the bar is very expensive, this will have a negative impact on the day as a whole. The last thing you want your friends & family to say is ‘lovely wedding but I left hungry and the drinks were overpriced’…

wedding day priorities blog post

Photo by Richard Murgatroyd

4. The Music. Whether you opt for a band or a DJ, make sure the tunes are fun and get people on the dance floor. You can’t beat mixing it up with some old-school classics as well as modern pop-hits. And if you are having a band, make sure you’ve either heard them live yourself or they come with excellent recommendations from someone you know or respect. Bands are not cheap, and you can be sure your guests will remember if your first dance was sung out of tune or they only played classic love ballads… Not exactly the crows pleasers you may have hoped for!

wedding day priorities blog post

Photo by Ben Selway

So those are the top 4 wedding priorities. Next up I’ll be exploring the less important elements of a wedding which sometimes get more attention than they deserve…

 

Check out my previous post!

Wedding Dress Shopping Experience Part 2…

all this, just for one day blog post lila bailey weddings

So you’ve heard about the wonderful experience, now for the not-so-wonderful… (if you missed my last post then catch up here before reading this one).

 

The Experience…

The bridal stylist sat us down, and at first was quite pleasant and talked us through what I would be doing during our appointment. However, quite quickly our ‘welcome chat’ became a little patronising and almost felt like a dictation of what I will and won’t feel when I put a wedding dress on. I was asked about my wedding and my vision for the day, and I explained in quite substantial detail about what I pictured for the wedding and the dress. I mentioned fabrics and necklines, as well as the overall ‘feel’ of the dress. An error of mine was failing to mention that I was in the wedding industry and had worked with wedding dresses before, plus I had visited the Harrogate Bridal Show every year of my childhood and teens, so my understanding of the wedding industry – in particular wedding dresses – was quite vast. I wonder if this would have made a difference to the way I was treated (not that of course it should have done). Very bluntly, I was asked what my budget for the dress was. I don’t like to discuss money, and despite my bridesmaids being family or as good as, I didn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about my wedding budget in that environment. I gave the stylist a starting figure but said I was aware I will probably be spending more and was okay with that. I explained there was flexibility in my overall wedding budget to spend a little more on a wedding dress if I decided to. She retorted with an incredibly blunt ‘well our dresses start at X which is almost double your budget’ and gave me a look as if to say ‘so what on earth are you still doing sat there’. I replied explaining I’m open to expanding my budget for the right dress, but unfortunately she had already made her (uninformed and incorrect) assumptions about me and frankly wasn’t interested.

Nevertheless, we powered on and went through the collection of lovely dresses, picking out ones in styles I knew I liked from the previous appointment. I selected one dress which was made of a very interesting fabric, and I was curious to try it on as I’d never seen anything like it. Instead of taking that one to the dressing room, the stylist picked another one and ushered me behind the curtain. Once we were in the dressing room, the stylist said ‘the dress you picked out is not in your price range so I’d advise you to not try it on’ I was slightly shocked by her audacity and replied ‘oh that’s okay, I’m really open to trying anything on’ and she looked at me coldly and said ‘we’re talking £12,000plus for this particular dress so I don’t think you should try it’. Her boldness was honestly outstanding.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

(A Suzanne Neville dress)

The appointment only continued to get worse. I was told to put on these enormous platform heels, which I was fine with. What I was not fine with, however, was stepping into these (rather large) dresses without even a hand to hold onto for support. Keeping in mind (as many of you will know from dress shopping yourselves) you’re not wearing an awful lot when in the dressing room, and for someone to watch you struggle into a dress whilst wearing giant heels (and not a lot else) is nothing short of terribly embarrassing. I cannot tell you how anxious I started to feel as the appointment went on. The stylist made it perfectly clear that she was completely disinterested in the appointment, and if the yawning wasn’t enough, she kept disappearing to have whispered conversations with her colleague behind the front desk.

I tried on a dress which was absolutely gorgeous and one I really liked, as did my mum and my bridesmaids. The stylist, however, had other ideas. She hauled me back into the dressing room where she put me in a dress which was wonderful, but just not me. It was very much ‘of the times’, and definitely stylish in a designer sense, but not the timeless wedding dress I was looking for.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

(Disclaimer – this is not the dress she put me in, but you get the idea…)

As I came out of the changing room she exclaimed ‘this is the dress!’ to my posse of wedding-dress-groupies and started to ramble on about how the last dress was ‘too old’ for me (despite it being strapless with a modern skirt) and how I should be looking for something ‘young & fun’. Without giving anything away, I have certainly not been looking at dresses that are ‘too old’ for me. In fact, quite the opposite. Despite what the stylist (with a blinding complex) thought.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

(Another Suzanne Neville dress)

It was at this point where 3 other people entered the shop, one of which being a man. At first, I didn’t mind because I assumed they would be taken downstairs. The women were, the man however was invited to sit on a chair right outside my dressing room. If I wasn’t feeling uncomfortable enough by now, this certainly sealed the deal. I might add too that my dressing room was opposite a floor-to-ceiling mirror and the stylist was not discreet with the curtain. Need I say more?

Despite me taking the time at the beginning of the appointment to explain exactly what my wedding vision was, the stylist had paid no attention whatsoever. She kept describing my wedding as ‘rustic’ when I’d said nothing of the sort. Again, forming her own opinions based on the smallest amount of information. At one point she put me in a dress which I instantly hated and said ‘I’m not feeling this at all’ and instead of getting me out of the dress and into something I liked, she left me standing in it and went to chat to her colleague (again). I was stood awkwardly in a dress which didn’t make me feel good for over 5 minutes, trying to make positive comments about it until she got back and put me in something else. It all started to become very frustrating, and I quickly wished we had never come. What started off as the perfect day was turning into a nightmare. By this point I was feeling so completely rubbish that I didn’t even want to smile when in a dress I liked because I thought if I showed any emotion at all I might burst into tears.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

Whilst all of this was happening, none of us knew how we were all feeling about the appointment. I wanted nothing more than to turn round to my mum and girls and say ‘I’m hating this. I feel so uncomfortable and I’m not having a good time’ but I never had the chance. Even when the stylist left us, she was always in earshot. And because I thought maybe it was just me who was picking up on this awful vibe and atmosphere, I didn’t want to start being rude in case the others thought I was being completely overdramatic (no bridezilla moment I can assure you!). As it turned out, we had all felt exactly the same during the appointment, and we were also all unsure of how each other was feeling at the time. I must have a pretty good pokerface because none of them had any idea I was feeling so miserable! If I could turn back time, I would definitely be far less polite and actually tell her she was making me feel awful. Or failing that, maybe just have given up altogether and left. But, I can’t go back in time so I just have to live with the experience and learn from it. After all, a wedding isn’t just about the day itself, it’s all the moments during the buildup and the things we experience during that time.

wedding dress shopping experience part 2

It was also incredibly interesting to be on the other side of an appointment like that, and it made me realise where the business I used to work in was going so wrong. Whilst we were told to act professional and give the opening spiel to each bride who walked through the door, actually this comes across very negatively and isn’t at all what brides want. Not brides like me, anyway! I much preferred my genuine, down to earth, and relaxing experience at Suzanne Neville where I was made to feel like a princess and my tastes, opinions, and visions were listened to and respected. That’s what a wedding dress appointment should be like.