Wednesday, October 10, 2012

what you should know about wedding dresses

My brain has gone through some angst over the last week.

Brain angst.

Don't mock the cranial wedding dress duress, until you've had to choose between two wedding dresses - where both make your heart flip with joy. It'll keep you up at night. You'll sweat. You'll be paralysed by choice - you'll focus on one, then the other, then the one, in excruciatingly obsessive detail.

It'll be all you can think about for days on end, whether you like it or not You'll be utterly bored while being anxious. Your friends around you will just be bored.

It was a terribly tough decision. All I can really rely on is that I've paid the deposit - so there's no going back now - and that I think this dress was primarily the winner from the start. (I tried it on three times, so it was one I kept going back to.)

The day before I had settled on the other one - most of my bridesmaids seemed to prefer it. Then another contingent came in and insisted the one I ended up choosing was best.

I never had a clear-cut "yes this is the dress!" moment. Was I meant to? Twenty seven dresses later and here I am. I am pretty darn happy though, and without giving too much away - it's quite traditional in many senses, and I feel just a little bit like a princess wearing it.

The thing I've learnt most about wedding dresses is:

You'll feel like you're in a sausage factory
Choose a bridal store that actualy gives a shit. That's my advice. Some stores may stock lovely dresses, but they'll only allow you to try on two, make you wait months for an appointment, be a little bit rude and push you through.

My two final dress choices were at stores that allowed me to take photos (many have policies that won't allow this) but let me do so as my brethren is in South Africa. The ladies were also nice, patient, and allowed me to try on all sorts of stuff, sometimes twice.
In the end, I wanted to support good places, not the industry itself.

You need to have ordered a dress six months before your wedding...
IF you want lots of choice and don't want the chiding "tsk tsk, you're leaving things a bit late aren't you?" from the various assistants. Sometimes you don't have time on your side. It just means you have less choice.

Less choice in the wedding dress world is a blessing in disguise. Because there is almost too much to choice from.

That said. You probably will end up choosing something someone has worn - more or less - before
I did it for years. "There's no way I'm going for [that], everyone wears that, it's so boring." I'll be brutally honest. If you want something original - so a dress that's a different colour, or has funny things hanging off it, or different sleeves, etc, this is going to be very hard to find. It also mostly is more expensive.

Also, you might find, like me, that you feel you've had the 'original' Matric dance dress or been generally 'quirky' your whole life, and that you want to be more traditional on your wedding day.

The secret sauce. What brides tend to do is give their dresses their own unique stamp through the small embellishments they can find. I know this, only because I have done research on what 'accessories' are out there. Some of that research has included going through my friends wedding photos on Facebook in intricate detail to really observe what they did to their dresses. (It's amazing what you can find if you really look closely - something I obviously didn't take much notice of until now.)

There are tons of amazing things you can add to your dress. You might buy it as a blank canvas, and then add things like straps, belts, sashes, brooches, flowers. So you don't need to get everything all in one.

What you're willing to spend
I tried on a £4000 dress without knowing. It was beautiful. But I'd suggest you definitely don't do that. I set myself a budget, and not a ridiculous one, for two reasons.

One - I'm only wearing this thing once. It seems a shame to spend tons of cashola on a frock you get to wear once. For two, there's other shit at the wedding that I think is way more important and deserves more cashola-injection. Like an amazing DJ and endless bottles Diemersfontein pinotage. For example.

........Although, I did spend a lot of time studying Vera Wang's 2013 wedding collection, with dollar signs coming out of my eyeballs.


MeeA said...

I'm glad you've found your dress. Things get easier from there onward.
I got married in a dress borrowed from a bridal boutique owned by a friend's mom. It was plain and slightly big in the shoulders because it needed to accommodate my slightly rounded 6-month pregnant belly. Looking at the photos, you'd never say I was pregnant but I have often felt mildly regretful of the fact that my wedding dress wasn't really what I'd wanted.
In February 2013, we'll be celebrating our 10th anniversary with a vow renewal. I consulted a designer a few months ago but have decided not to blow several thousand Rand on a dress, even though my first wasn't all that either. Instead, I've found a pattern for a gorgeous dress that has my name written all over it and have priced the fabric of my choice. I'd rather spend the extra cash I can save on the honeymoon, since we never went when we first got married... :)

Anonymous said...

I battle choosing between a blue toothbrush or a purple one, literally stand there 5 minutes to choosing a wedding dress would be a nightmare....i love so many styles of clothing, but actually I have never imagined a wedding etc, and since I doubt I will get married if I do I'll be so happy I wont care about a dress or wedding, I'd get married in court lol....doesnt matter to me, what matters is that its the right person,so if the guy wanted a fancy ceremony etc I'd go with it otherwise I dont mind....

I don't understand women who say they dreamt about their wedding since they were young, wtf, I was too busy having fun and riding motorbikes etc when I was a kid..I used to daydream about being a ninja but it'll never come true :/
Ya so anyways, then these women freak out over everything to make sure it's their "Dream" wedding, and turn into bitches, or care too much about frivolous crap, they dont chill and enjoy it enough.

Argh I can't wait to see you in the dress :)


Wedding Dresses said...

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James said...

This is not said in a horrible way, but it seems you're becoming the kind of person you have always made fun of and held yourself out to be different from? Time to come back to Jhb and be like everyone else? Heaven forbid, you'll be wanting babies next! And then maybe a house in the suburbs with a garden? How boringly upper-middle class is that?

Peas on Toast said...

Mama - congrats on your 10th anniversary!! That's a remarkable milestone and something you should be very proud of.
And still so happy too, with vows renewing and such. And a pattern of your choice is definitely the way to go - will you make it yourself or have it made?

Chan - you definitely have your priorities straight, and if you do end up getting married one day definitely remember this! Many people, as you so correctly say, lose sight of this and get stuck in the details.

Wedding Dresses - no worries...

James - it's definitely occurred to me more than once that I may be turning into a "type" of person, but I rather like to consider "growing up," rather than becoming a stereotype. Maybe I boringly middle-class - but things like suburbs would choke me, as would upper-middle class conversation, so I don't think I'll be returning to that anytime soon. Thanks for the honest comment anyway :)

Val said...

So glad you have found your dress. Hope we will get to see some photos when the BIG day comes around. :)
My dress was made for me by a lovely, clever, little dressmaker who took the magazine picture I gave her and did the rest. It was gorgeous and the only hiccup was when I filled out a bit before the wedding (due to starting taking the pill) so some seams had to be altered. :)
But, hey, Peas if you marriage turns out as great as mine was, you have naught to worry about. And so what if you turn out to be a happy, grown up person! Most of us do!

Unknown said...

My wedding will just be a few months away and now I am looking for wedding dresses that will suit me and our theme.. Thanks for sharing these helpful ideas...


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