It was more than a year since becoming engaged when we finally decided to set a date. We had been travelling permanently for a year and loving it. Back in our hometown of Sunshine Coast Australia for Christmas we finally succumbed to the pressure from family and friends and set a date for the following year. Then the pressure was on to find the perfect wedding dress.
There was only one Saturday available before we left Queensland to begin another year of travel. So, I gathered some of my Brisbane/Sunshine Coast-based bridesmaids together and booked three appointments at the leading wedding dress shops in Brisbane. Quietly pinching myself to make sure this was actually happening for real…I was beginning my search for my perfect wedding dress.
Zero expectations, zero idea
I had zero expectations because I had read how long this process can take. After a bit of searching on Google, I had narrowed it down to three styles I thought would look good on my body shape. A Princess style, A-line style and a Ballgown style. All with different necklines and backs. How terribly wrong I was!
Now to give you a bit of an idea of how difficult this could have been, I have never been the type of girl who dreamed of getting married. I hadn’t been planning this day forever and already picked out my dress and flowers by the time I was fifteen. Heck, at that age I was learning how to survive on my own, afford groceries, and get myself through school.
I did have a love for fashion though, which I thought would serve me well. Had I been in a bridesmaid role, then yes, it would have. But as the bride, it wasn’t so easy. My speciality was knowing what looked good on everyone else.
When it came to me, I had literally no idea what style suited my body type. But I remained optimistic and had two very stylish bridesmaids who I knew would ensure I looked the right balance of glamour, sexy, and elegance.
Would this be the day I found my perfect wedding dress? Which one of the gazillion gorgeous gowns I'd saved on Pinterest and in Evernote, would become the winning dress? The one that would be hanging in the window at my wedding?
An ocean of choices
We parked the car, excitedly jumped out, opened the door and headed up the stairs. At the bottom of the stair I glanced to the left and that’s when I saw it. A huge poster on the wall of a gorgeous gown. It took my breath away and I said briefly, “wow I like that”.
By the time I got to the top of the stairs though, that moment was gone. I was met by a huge room filled with hundreds of breathtaking gowns, excited women, and weeping mothers. And just like that, I was swept away in an ocean of choices, most of which looked like the perfect wedding dress for me.
My bridesmaids quickly got my big deer in headlight eyes back focused to the task at hand. I showed the lovely assistant that was assigned to us the three different gowns I had researched and found I liked online. As she scurried off to find them I was ushered to a change room while my bridesmaids got comfortable on the comfy sofas.
Shortly after the assistant arrived with the three dresses. With an assistant, me, and three wedding dresses, there wasn’t a great deal of room left to actually get changed. I was in heaven though. Surrounded by tulle, lace, sequins, ruffles, and layers. As I squeezed into the first gown I have to admit, it was a whole lot of fun and I felt like Cinderella.
All three gowns were stunning! There were different things we all liked about each one. By the end of the third dress though, we knew we hadn’t “nailed it” as far as finding the perfect wedding dress was concerned.
Falling in love with mermaid style
I felt truly blessed because the assistant we had been assigned was an older lady who had a wealth of industry experience. She was very matter of fact (which I love) and by her own admittance, had quite a knack for finding the perfect wedding dress for the brides she worked with.
As I wriggled my way out of dress number three she gently said, “wait here, I think I have the perfect wedding dress for you. Have you considered a mermaid style?” Ironically, that was the one style I knew I didn’t want! Trusting her knowledge, I hesitantly agreed to at least try it on but I had absolutely zero confidence I would like it.
It was a tighter fit than all the rest. As I squeezed into it, she had to pull and tug to make it sit right. I didn’t even bother looking in the mirror. Under her arm was a veil and she placed that onto my head. Out I went to hear the response of my bridesmaids.
At the same time, I looked up and into the mirror before me and my breath was gone! “Oh my gosh” I gasped. “Wow! It’s beautiful” and the tears began to stream down my face.
Had I found the perfect wedding dress
There I was, after making fun of teary brides, and the waterworks were flowing strong. It had suddenly hit me that this is for real. I was going to actually become a bride!
I finally felt that feeling I imagine all girls have, that moment where you feel like you are in a fairy tale. By my own admittance (and that of my friends) I looked stunning!
It was a mermaid style design with a plunging back and a plunging neckline in the front. Lace covered the bodice to mid-thigh and then a different lace continued to the floor with a small train.
The veil chosen was several metres long, with hand stitched edging and fell beyond the train beautifully. It was exquisite in every detail and I thought I could have walked down the aisle then and there and been happy.
As I floated around on my little podium feeling like a princess and twirling like Julie Andrews in the sound of music. I lapped up the moment before eventually having to come back to reality. Had I really found the perfect wedding dress? Was this what I would be wearing on my special day?
Back to reality
Taking my head out of the clouds I took a closer look. There were elements I didn’t think were ‘perfect’ and especially the lace on the bottom which reminded me of something in my past. Maybe that could be changed?
The other ‘reality check’ was the price. Worth every penny for the years of experience and expertise the designer had put into carving out their career in the wedding industry. Worth every penny for the way it hugged my figure and accentuated my feminine curves in all the right places. But was it right for me?
I just couldn’t get it out of my head that for the same price, I could have two round the world tickets. Not to mention it was more than my entire wedding budget just on the dress. (Clearly, I hadn’t done enough research before setting my budget LOL). I always did have a knack for liking the most expensive dress in the store!
Not to be perturbed or to ruin the fairy tale moment I reminded myself that I can always find a way to get what I truly want. So, I had them price everything up and we discussed the changes I wanted, fittings and delivery expectations. The other challenge I hadn’t considered was how to organise a fitting considering I would be overseas for the rest of the year until two weeks before the wedding.
As we walked down the stairs my bridesmaids were excited and couldn’t believe we had ‘nailed it’the first day. Not wanting to put a dampener on the experience I remained optimistic. Maybe we would win the lotto between now and the wedding? It was still so far away so there was plenty of time.
As we went to exit the building I saw the poster again. Pointing it out to my bridesmaids we laughed about synchronicity and serendipity. Then went and celebrated with some food and champagne across the road in a restaurant and headed home. A great day had by all but had I really found the perfect wedding dress? It was back to the bridal books for me I think!