Well, the post is quite possibly the latest post ever! Having started on sharing my wedding dress journey back in March, I then stopped for a while. So here we are 8 months later, most of which have been spent working, or vegged out I front of a box set! (my laptop is also now officially drawing an old age pension, and takes more patience than I have most days!)
But I must write this post because I must share my experiences!
So this is the second to last installment in my Wedding dress Journey posts (the last being my wedding pics), if you haven't seen the others they are here:
During my extensive web searching for a dress I came across The Big Day, the shop itself is in Castleford is fairly close to where my parents live. I made an appointment to go to the big day on a Saturday I had to be patient an wait three weeks, but that was OK I am a patient person. (Incidentally you will need patience, ordering a wedding dress is a long process).
The day finally arrived and my mum and I set out for the Big Day, when we got to Castleford there was ample parking really close by which was really handy, we sat in the car for five minutes, I was a little nervous, what if all the dresses looked awful? What if they didn't have dresses to fit me? Given that this was a plus size dress shop if I didn't find what I was looking for here what would I do?
The shop itself is upstairs so it has no presence on the street, so still no clue of what lies within! We climbed the stairs and I pushed open the door nervously. I was greeted by Paula who is so warm and friendly, beyond Paula was a room of sheer magic!
The appointments are exclusive, we had the whole shop to ourselves. There is a second changing room so they could easily run two appointments but they don't, it certainly makes you feel special.
Paula started by explaining the sizing of the dresses and not to worry about the labels! She handed me a handful of little purple tags and told me to pop them on the dresses that I wanted to try. I still wasn't sure what I wanted so I popped tags on a few different dresses. It's quite hard to be objective in a room full of so many pretty dresses.
Incidentally the room is arranged in budget order starting with the cheaper dresses and working your easy round to the really expensive ones (I didn't look at those too hard!) There is also an extensive range of beautiful bridesmaids dresses which can be made in white or ivory, which is a great budget option.
After ten minutes browsing we were shown to the changing room, it is massive (the building used to be an old bank, high ceilings and all) and has a big comfy settee which my mum took residence on. There is a big curtain which you can use if you want to keep your entourage in the dark whilst you try on. I chose to leave it open so, after all she's my mum! Plus I had worn leggings which Paula has said I could keep on.
Paula put each dress on over my head and then after a bit of adjustment she fastened me in. It was a really easy process and I felt really comfortable. Paula is plus size herself, so has developed a genuine sensitivity. Although she is also honest, so if something is not right she will suggest alternatives. There is no telling you that you look amazing in everything just to make a sale: trust me I looked pretty ropey in one or two! I would say Paula us a very wise lady. (Now that she's blushing, I'll continue!)
There is no hard sell here, we were allowed to take pictures and mull things over. I asked questions about how they choose which size to order and how the alterations would be done and I was filled with confidence by the answers. I made progress in my first appointment but needed a seccond to commit. This was no problem, I booked my second appointment with confidence.
The second appointment came and in the end I made a very bold choice for my dress. I decided to stray away from white or Ivory, I liked one particular colour from one particular designer, Paula was very careful to let me know if the dresses I was trying on came in my colour, when I finally found the one I liked she went out of the room to double check she could get it, then she came back an exclaimed that I could fall in love with it! (Of course I already had, so all was well!)
So I had fallen in love with one dress and the straps from another dress, the Big Day did some magic and got the supplier to send a pair of straps through too. (I did have to pay extra, but it was worth it!)
The Dress is Here!
What felt like months later the call came through, my dress was here! Now then, I was getting nervous about the dress by this point (I still had not seen my dress in my colour choice) and the wedding was quickly approaching. There are not many dress shopps that will let you do this (time is money and all) but Paula let me book an appointment to visit and just try on! I guess you could call it a first fitting, but asides from an assessment of what needed doing, I just got to prance around in my dress. I was very stressed by this point and very worried about how I was going to look which I didn't let show, this appointment meant so much to me.
The Big Day are used to brides travelling miles, for my last fitting I booked a Thursday and Friday off work, the plan was to go on the Thursday and Friday, hang around for fitting and alterations and pick up on Saturday. I went on Thursday with my shoes (2 pairs since I was undecided) and was laced into my dress. Paula was very patient whilst I agonised over weather to go low heels or high heels (I threw caution to the wind and went high!) then it was on to fitting, first the waist, then the straps. I took my dress off, and the alterations were done it took about 20 mins or so. After those were done it was on to the hem, once I was pinned, I walked around for a while to check the dress moved properly and I wasn't going to fall on my face! My dress was quite creased due to the fabric, but It hadn't been steamed yet.
Picking up my dress
Eventually the day came for picking up my dress, I was so excited! (And a bit stressed by this point!) I had not yet seen my un-creased dress, but as I entered the room where it was hanging ready and waiting for me, I did have every faith that it would look beautiful... and of course it did! This is actually the first time I had met Lucy she had been the one to steam my dress, and as it turns out had actually had to iron it in places (unheard of for a wedding dress!). I wouldn't have blamed Lucy for hating me and my stupid dress choice! Of course she was truly lovely.
Loaded up with my rather large garment bag, petticoat and extras I left the shop, I couldn't wait to wear my amazing dress and that is exactly how every bride should feel, regardless of size.