Friday, 26 March 2010

Hunting for Dresses part trois

(Three is the magic number!)

So the story so far - after a fairly thorough search (see here) I finally found the perfect dress (see here.)*
But I am not the only one in need of frock .. I have an entourage and they need to look fabulous too!

Of all the decisions I have had to make, I never, ever, thought for a moment that this one would be the most difficult. Why on earth was it so difficult? My bridesmaids (sisters three) were pretty easy going about it, and they are all between a size 8 and 10 and would look good in a bin bag. The problem was me - I just couldn't make up my mind what sort of look we should go for. I fell in love with every idea I came across (I read too many blogs - that may be the problem.)
Back in the early days (a year ago now - eek!) I was pretty sure I didn't want them in matching block colour. I think mainly because I was (still am) resisting having a "wedding colour".
Then I was quite taken by the idea of Liberty print dresses.

Then I got my dress and wondered how much the girls' dresses needed to go with mine ... (answer, obviously: they don't)
Then I saw this picture and thought - I want them in a white or cream dresses of their own choice. How lovely and original!

[via once wed - so cute huh? by the way how lovely are the flowers?]

Then I found this collection of dress
es all available at Portobello so it was off to the market. Possibly a bit optimistically since it was about 2c and trying on dresses in outdoor market stalls wasn't the funnest.

You see what a nightmare I've been? And my stoic sisters stand shivering in the cold hoping I'll make a bloody decision.
We went to defrost in the Westfield (big mall, conveniently near) and thought we might as well have a quick peek in the bridesmaid staples that are Coast, Hobbs and LK Bennet. The latter had a couple of very pretty floaty little numbers. The sisters three tried them on and smiled.
"We like us being all matching" they chorused "We all feel pretty and just like bridesmaids" (well maybe a bit less Madeline) and the lovely lady in the shop who gave us bubbly and cups of tea said "I can give you a discount."
I wish I could say that was that. But is wasn't. For the next two months I vacillated. I thought about these dresses from Fenwicks (wouldn't they look nice in three different colours?)
[taken with my phone - apologies for quality]

but then they weren't really that nice on.

I went to a fabric shop with Mama and she offered to make the dresses**. Great idea - but then what style?

[from sewdirect - i love this website!]
More emails.

Two of the three are deep in their studies by this point. I would want to kill me.

Then last week Nick and I were back in the Westfield (we were buying maps) and we passed LK Bennet.

"Look Nick - that's the dress the sisters three quite liked and I didn't get."

"Show me"

So I tried it on for him and even held two more on hangers next to me so he could image the three of them together.

"And they liked them?"

"Yes. They said they felt pretty"

"and what don't you like about them?"

"umm - they are all matching and they are from an obvious shop"

"so you wanted to be more original?"

"um, yes"

"don't you think the sisters three have pretty individual styles and will make these lovely dresses look original anyway?"

"well, yes ..."

"the dress is gorgeous - get three now and make everyone happy"

Damn - I so should have brought him along ages ago.

So I slightly sheepishly asked the lovely manager (she really was very lovely) if could still have that discount. And now we have three of this dress and everyone has sighed a huge sigh of relief.

Hooray! - now what can I be a right pain about next ....

PS - I would like to thank the sisters three for lots of things but especially for their patience with this. Also - I actually only have two sisters, one is a doctor and the other is setting up her own business. The third is my sister-in-law-to-be who is doing her finals at Oxford a fortnight before the wedding. Saints I tell you!

*Well actually you don't get to "see here" because I'm not showing it anyone until the day. I'm crap at keeping secrets and very much want to show everyone but just this once I'm going to try.

** she really is that handy and has made our flowergirl's dresses in a jiffy including smocking them. Amazing. However, making dresses, if you choose nice fabric, is actually not at all cheaper than buying them off the rack. Ironic but sadly true.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Versus ....

So how likely do you think England are to win their group this summer? Pretty likely? Even without Beckham playing? Are they really likely to win every game against Algeria, Slovenia and the USA?

And how likely are Germany to come second in their group? Will either Serbia, Ghana or Australia beat them?

Yes, this summer I will be paying very close attention
to the Football World Cup in South Africa. I love watching international football as much as anyone and a World Cup summer is usually something I look forward to a lot. After all I have not one but two teams to support (not counting my soft spot for the boys in blue). And if they end up playing each other, brilliant! Or even better, if they both get through to the finals and face each other at Soccer City on 11th July I couldn't wish or hope for better.

However, this year I have a slightly different reason for paying special attention to the group stages ....

Because on 26th June, at about 8.30pm (about half way through the speeches and just before we sit down to dinner) the first game of the knock-out stage will be played; the winner of group C versus the runner up of group D.

I think you see where I'm going with this.

There is a strong possibility that either one half our guests, or the other, or even all of our them, will be very distracted that evening.


All I can say is thank goodness there is no chance of Italy playing that day otherwise I don't think any of our vendors would even show up!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Hunting for Dresses part deux

(And that's 'deux' not look any further for you Nick!)

So in my last post on this subject I dwelt rather heavily on the negative brain-melting putting-way-too-much-pressure-on-myself side of my dress hunting experience. I will now skip over to a much sunnier side of
the street.

A complete abjuration of wedding dress shops wasn't really a workable option so I decided instead to rip off the plaster. I would take a Monday off work and have one whole day's try-on-athon, and I would do it with my mother. I was a little nervous. Mother and daughter stuff can be famously tricky - mothers don't just push your buttons, they made your buttons! I'm very close to my Mama but she influences me in ways friends can't or don't and has almost as strong an opinion on what suits me as I do. But I needn't have worried - she ain't no slouch in the style stakes and all she really ever looked at was the expression on my face so in the end the day pretty much rocked.

Of all the places I ended up going to these are the ones I recommend for those still hunting...

The Designer Wedding Dress Exchange - run from a really nice (and normal!) lady's front room in Weybridge. She has tons of designer dresses, including Vera Wang, Caroline Castigliano, Sassi Holford and on and on plus veils and shoes and other trappings. And everything is a lot cheaper than in the shops - I mean A LOT! I found a dress there that I liked - the David Fielden number below; all floaty and romantic - which I nearly got until we decided it looked a bit maternity on me. I really recommend this place though.

Oxfam - It was Peacocks Feathers' blog that first made me aware that this exists. Brilliant idea but it is luck of the draw. This time we went to the one in Leatherhead where the assistant again was really nice and has since called me when some new dresses came in that she thought I might like - how nice is that?!
Shikasuki - Speaking of the lovely Rachel Peacocks, I got to meet her in the very person when I went to this amazing vintage clothes shop in Primrose Hill. Not really a wedding dress shop but they have a incredible collection of beautiful pieces - one 1950 sequined evening dress I was very tempted by. I didn't go for it in the end as I knew Nick wouldn't like it that much (something about the neckline) but it would have been something wickedly different and fun. Maybe next time (ha ha).
(I did buy my sister some fabulous clip earrings there though.)
Mirror Mirror - verging on the snooty/pushy but they have a great selection of designers and let you take your time and take photos which is more than can be said for some other shops. I had a brief crush on a Cymbeline dress but got over it.
and finally ...
Heirloom Couture - Rachel (a different one) has a tiny little studio on Kensel Road. The first time I went I was alone, soaked from the rain and exhausted from work. It was like walking into an Aladdin's cave of dresses - beautiful pieces from 20's 30's, right through to amazing sequined 80s numbers. And best of all is Rachel herself - she's so sane and sweet you feel as though she is already one of your best friends the moment you walk in. But I was so ashamed of how sweaty and bothered I was and the fight I'd just had with my sister on the phone that I didn't really take any of it in. But back there with my mother I tried on a dress that fitted me as though it had been made for me and we couldn't stop smiling. Then I put on a veil and Mama burst into tears. So now the dress and the veil are mine and best of all, I got to share a very special moment with my dearest mother.

all pictures by friends and relatives except the first which is from here