Saturday, 24 December 2011

{Guest Post} Finding the Perfect Dress


For so many women, finding “the dress” is the key to a successful wedding. Perfect dress equals
happy bride which in turn equals happy groom, the combination of which creates the blissful
beginning that is essential to every successful marriage (which is the whole point after all). It is
the key feature of the all important photographs; those physical memories that will be shown to
children, grandchildren, and, ultimately, outlive the once glowing couple that occupies their fading
facades.

Unfortunately the “perfect dress” doesn’t come cheap and it often seems that no expense will be
spared in finding it. In a society fraught with recession, budget weddings are becoming more and
more sought after, yet the budget dress remains very much taboo and those who find it prefer not
to disclose its true value to even their closest friends.

But what is the “perfect dress”? Since the early 90s, the simple strapless dress has dominated the
bridal gown market, forcing women to squeeze bodies of all shapes and sizes into bodices that,
unfortunately, do many of them no favours. A veil will only cover a small number of sins, and with
more and more brides opting for a simpler headdress alternative, mighty cleavages, back flab and
bingo wings are being exposed for all to see and, of course, forever immortalized in every one of
those photographs. We want to look our most beautiful, but it is equally important to be true to
the uniqueness of our bodies, personalities and values. I have always been anti-strapless and pro-
budget, and was able to demonstrate both in my choice of wedding dress, and I am happy to see
more and more brides doing the same. Here are a few suggestions for finding the wedding dress of
your dreams (not everyone elses).

1) Hit the high street. 
This is not the most ethical of options but certainly a good starting
point for brides on a budget. Many well known high street retailers are venturing down the
wedding dress road, and some have achieved breathtaking results. As is often the problem
with shop bought clothes, the sizes are generic, but find a good dress maker to do your
alterations and your beautiful dress will soon fit like a glove. This is definitely not the eco-
bride option, but buying online will improve your carbon footprint.

2) Customize. 
With strapless dresses occupying the majority of the market, these will be the
easiest gowns to pick up in sales and outlet stores. But if, like me, the strapless dress is just
not for you, get customizing. Some vintage lace can make beautiful straps or a waistband,
or the addition of a beautiful bolero can transform your dress into the one-of-a-kind you’ve
been dreaming of.
3) Recycle.
If your own mother or grandmother’s dress is exactly what you’ve been looking for,
then absolutely wear it. But the reality is that those dresses will often be out dated or just
not to your taste. Instead try companies such as Bliss Studio (www.blissstudio.co.uk) and
Oxfam Bridal (www.oxfam.org), to give lovely worn-once dresses another chance to walk
down the aisle.

4) Vintage. 
Not always budget, but a great option for eco-brides and those looking for
something totally unique. Some stores and websites do charge a small fortune, but if you
enjoy the chase, try traipsing the vintage stores – you never know where your dream dress
might be hiding.

5) Ebay. 
It is true what they say that you can everything on Ebay, and wedding dresses are no
exception.

6) Borrow. 
Not everyone has the guts required to ask someone if you can borrow their
wedding dress but, the fact is, they’re not going to be wearing it again and you only need it
for one day. Ask and you may well receive!

7) Support the little guy. Want a handmade dress without the cost? Seek out new designers
on websites such as Etsy (www.etsy.com) for gorgeous gowns made with love.

8) DIY. 
Only for the very brave. Find a pattern you love, pick out the perfect fabric and whizz
together your dream dress.

Thank you to Katie Thompson for contributing this wonderful guest post!

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