Shopping For The Perfect Dress…

Dress Shopping

Shopping for any dress can be quite the task but when it comes to shopping for the most memorable dress you’ll probably ever wear it’s a whole new ball game girls! Having worked with hundreds of brides over the years and booked many (many) appointments, it’s safe to say I’m well aware of how exciting it can be for any blushing bride out browsing for her gorgeous gown. Yet in the midst of all the eager emotions it’s deceptively easy for things to get a little overwhelming. To keep things cool, calm and collected here’s a few of my tips when preparing to shop for that show stopping frock…

The budget
Okay ladies, it’s not all fun and games so let’s get the boring bit out of the way first – budget! It’s absolutely ESSENTIAL you do the maths before running riot in your local boutique. Wedding dresses can range from a few hundred pounds right up to thousands, and falling in love with a fancy frock before you’ve ascertained what your purse strings can stretch to is undoubtedly playing with fire. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than nursing a broken hearted bride on a budget! If your funds are limited let the consultant know in advance so she’s not under the assumption you have an open cheque book, otherwise it wastes both your time & hers… especially if you’re playing dress up in gowns you can’t afford to commit to rather than trying on the ones you can!

Get In Touch 
Believe it or not but here in the UK January-March is one of the busiest times for bridal boutiques so it’s only natural that diaries fill up fast. If you’re eager to secure a Saturday or late night appointment it’s vital you get in touch ASAP to avoid disappointment. However before you make plans on where to book always do your research by contacting the shop first to ask if they carry your size, confirm if they have any specific dress styles you’re on the hunt for and also what their price range is… there’s no point in making the effort to visit somewhere that doesn’t cater for your shopping needs!
Don’t solely rely on what their website states either as it may not have been updated in quite a while. I know a few retailers who aren’t sensational at keeping their websites or on-line presence updated, which only leads to disappointed and agitated customers.
When I was shopping for my dress (quite a few years ago *gasp*) I found a good way to test the customer service of a shop was by emailing a query. If they got back to me pronto and professionally I felt pretty confident the customer care was going to be positive, however if I received a late response without justification, or worse still none at all, it made me think long and hard about whether I wanted to spend a significant amount of money with a store that doesn’t seem to be making much effort with me.

Battling Body Confidence
If you’re quivering at the mere idea of trying on all those gorgeous gowns in front of a shop full of strangers, it’s probably best you opt for some of the smaller boutiques and/or those that offer one-on-one appointments instead of multiple bookings. That way you can bring along your nearest and dearest without the worry of having to feel too uncomfortable in a shop full of unfamiliar faces and other browsing brides. I’ve found many of the girls I’ve worked with in the past actually much prefer solitary appointments so they have time to look & try in complete privacy before choosing ‘the one’.
Quite a common yet personal issue that many brides face is often feeling conscious about stepping in and out of the gowns in front of the consultants. Just keep in mind they’re professionals that have worked with a small army of women who own an eclectic range of boobs, bums and tums! However, if you’d still prefer to step in and out of the dresses without assistance don’t be afraid to say so. Some brides are terrified at touching the gowns let alone putting them on single-handedly, whereas others are much more confident when left to their own devices and simply only want help to zip or lace them up.

A good way to help boost body confidence is by donning support wear that offers more coverage than just your undies… even something simple as a pair of tights can make you feel less exposed during those quick gown change overs!

Taking Shape
Even if you’ve spent hours flicking through your favourite glossy magazines and top wedding websites it’s safe to say that many girls who fall in love with a dress on paper may find it surprisingly disappointing when they eventually try the shop sample on. However those gorgeous images you’re swooning over are indeed air-brushed, digitally perfected and the models chosen because of their seemingly appealing height & body shape – yes even the curvy girls!
However in the real world we come in a wonderful range of shapes and sizes. As beautiful as your favourite dress may look in the advertisement you need to be realistic that the sample may not look quite as amazing on you… a harsh pill to swallow but unfortunately it happens to us all *sigh*
Instead lean on the experience of your consultant – with any luck she will have worked with enough brides to advise on what materials, tones, shapes and silhouettes are going to compliment you best. Remember it’s her job to make you feel and look amazing!

No Pressure 
This is your day, and like every other bride out there you’ll want it to be uniquely perfect. Never conform or agree to buying a gown you’re not 100% sure about, regardless of how much others try to convince you otherwise. A good bridal consultant will never make you feel cornered, pressured or uncomfortable – instead they’ll give you time to mull your decision over and respect that you may want to explore other options elsewhere.
The same applies when it comes to choosing who accompanies you on your dress shopping trip. Whatever you do don’t bring a whole bus load of onlookers as it will only add mass confusion to your shopping experience, particularly if you’re easily dented by others opinions!

I’ve witnessed quite a few brides fall in love with a gown only to be shattered when one of their many on-lookers blurts out ‘yeah, it’s amazing – but just not what I would personally pick.’ Arrrrghh! This often made my blood boil… it’s such a rude and pointless remark that unnecessarily scars judgement and could be very hurtful for a bride in love with the dress she’s standing in.
Those few simple words can break hearts and cause mass confusion, so if you’re bringing along additional friends or family for support keep it to a maximum of 2 people who have similar tastes, are open minded and fully understand what you want… not a self obsessed bridesmaid that only has eyes for herself or half a dozen huffy aunts that have very distinct tastes and no room for yours! Having positive leading ladies around you will make for a much more relaxed & productive experience for everyone involved.

pink heart

Have you made your trip down the aisle yet? If so how was your shopping experience… did you love or loathe it? Have you any tips of your own to share? Or, if you’re yet to make the trip down the aisle are you looking forward to shopping for your perfect gown?

As always I’d love to read your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, whatever your relationship status!

Cheerio Chums…

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Covering A Tattoo For The Big Day…

Tattoo Cover up

At the tender age of 16 (and without my parent’s permission I must add) I totted off to a local Tattoo Parlour with the notion of signing up for my own little permanent patch of ink. Of course I hadn’t quite matured enough to stop and think of the long term implications, but conforming to the trends amongst my peers I opted for a small oriental symbol on the top of my right arm. The bizarre thing is I had no real inner desire for permanently etching such a tiny irrelevant symbol on my body, however what’s worse is after the initial unveiling I’ve buried it under long sleeved tops ever since because I’m so self conscious of showing my chunky pale arms. See, utter stupidity!

A few years later when I started working in the wedding industry, I quickly discovered I wasn’t the only rebellious teenager that made a thoughtless spur of the moment decision – there are in fact countless others who all highly regret their impulsive tats. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked with many gorgeous brides who have worn their full sleeves of amazing designs with pride and looked amazing for it. Maybe it’s because their markings have meaning, sentiment and look incredibly beautiful. Yes, the expression of personality is impressive but for other brides it leads to a common dilemma… how do I cover my tats?

Laser Treatments

This is probably the most common option for those who are eager to say goodbye to their ink permanently, however it doesn’t come without potential consequences. Yes, it may well be a permanent solution but it’s expensive, painful, can leave nasty scaring and take multiple sessions without the guarantee of removing it completely. However there is slightly more hopeful news for those of you who have a darker coloured designs as apparently it’s easier to break down the pigmentation of black and dark blue inks compared to colours. Definitely worth looking into if you’re adamant ink free is your only option.

 Laser removal

The White-Out Technique

From my own snippets of research this seems a bit of a touchy subject amongst the tattoo guru’s. Basically the concept behind ‘whiting out’ is when the tattooist covers over the unwanted tattoo with white ink to create a fading effect. Although it would seem that results depend solely on the design and colour, from a personal point of view I’m not entirely convinced on this option. There’s quite a bit of scepticism amongst experienced tattoo artists who disagree with whiting-out, deeming it a flawed concept that could potentially make the problem worse than better. Is it worth while exploring? I’m not convinced. But if it’s something you’re intrigued in learning more about make sure you do your research, speak with the pro’s and anyone who has tried and tested this controversial technique with designs similar to your own.

tattoo artist

Make-Up 

I must admit, I’m genuinely surprised at the lack of products advertised claiming to solve this problem. I would have thought bridal magazines would be a perfect source considering it’s an obvious target market, clearly not, as I’ve yet to see anything advertised in any of the wedding glossies tackling the issue. However after some digging around online I found what I’d consider a bloody good solution for temporary tattoo coverage. Tattoo Secrets claims to provide all the fundamental solutions via a nifty little Tattoo Cover-Up kit for £29.99 – to be fair not a bad price for eradicating a sticky situation for many brides to be. However like any product, it’s worthwhile ordering this asap for an early test run to ensure it doesn’t flair up any nasty reactions and (of course) does the job it claims to… a pretty sound option if you ask me!

 Tattoo-Secret-Camouflage-Kit

Accessories

Of course the blazingly obvious choice is to cover up the key area using accessories, and with most tattoos being on the arm/back/shoulder/ankle this isn’t really a hard task. There are endless styles of pretty little boleros, shrugs, wraps etc to keep you covered. However one thing you’ll need to consider is if you intend to wear your accessory throughout the day. This might seem like an easy task in mid winter but many forget to take into account that that it can get pretty hot indoors when cooped up in a satin shrug. If you’ve bought (or are buying) your gown from a local bridal boutique it’s definitely important to highlight any areas you feel conscious about showing so as a potential solution can be pinpointed early on. Remember your consultant has more than likely worked with dozens of brides that have the same issue, so she may have the perfect resolution tucked right up her sleeve. If you’re currently on the hunt for something straight forward, check out the range of pretty accessories Liberty In Love have to offer. They’re rather fetching don’t you think?

 Liberty in Love

To be honest, prevention is always better than finding a cure. From someone who bitterly regrets the ‘spur of the moment’ decision to get a tattoo I’d highly recommend you think before you ink as it’s something you may later regret. Asking yourself why you’re getting it done can sometimes be enough to make you stop and think before you take the permanent plunge. Remember it’s not a crayon stain, it can’t be rubbed off if you get bored with the idea… once it’s there it aint going anywhere!

Do you have a tattoo regret or have toyed with the idea of getting one? Have you experienced laser treatment or had to disguise your ink at any stage? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below… thanks for reading!

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If The Shoe Fits…

If the shoes fits2

We all love a gorgeous pair of shoes right? But when it comes to finding the perfect tootsie attire for your big day there’s so much more to think about than simply picking out a pretty pair of peep-toes. Considering you’ll be on your feet a good portion of the day and night, it takes an Academy Award Winning bride to smile rather than grimace over the pain of throbbing blisters *ouch* So before you dash into the nearest shoe boutique waving your credit card with excitement, take a few moments to contemplate what you desire before splashing the cash on those hot new heels…

Home or Away?

If (for example) you’re having a good old British winter wedding, you’ll probably want to scan the shelves for something a little more practical such as a cosy closed court or cute wedding boot. If on the other hand, you’re planning on jetting off into the sunset you’ll more than likely want to opt for something lighter such as sandals or flip-flops. However before you decide, double check where you’ll be getting married and what the terrain is. Sounds odd, but I’ve witnessed countless brides who have returned home with burnt and blistered feet due to the heat of the sand from beach weddings… not exactly the souvenir you hope to bring home!

How High?

My solid advice would be to wear what you’re normally comfortable with. If you’re often found dashing about in flats then spending an entire day in six inch stilettos might just leave you crawling on your hands and knees before you’ve even had a chance to cut the cake. Alternatively go with a kitten heel, which always gives a much better posture than flats. If indeed you’re a heel enthusiast, just keep in mind these two fundamentals: The height of your groom & the length of your dress. If your gown is scalloped or ornately edged it’s probably best to discuss bespoke length measurements with your bridal retailer to avoid potentially hefty alteration bills. Just ensure you stick to the heel height you were measured in when buying your shoes.

Matching Up:

If you’re trying to match the shade of ivory/white with your dress (and believe me there is A LOT of different shades out there) then you’re going to need a little swatch of gown material to take with you. Most bridal retailers will supply this on request, so you don’t have to stress about keeping the correct tone in your mind’s eye… which is literally impossible to do anyway. This little swatch will also come in handy for matching other items such as jewellery, hair accessories, invites, flowers etc. So if you can, ask for a few samples in case the original gets lost or is needed by one of your vendors.

Style:

Some brides prefer traditional bridal shoes to something a little off the wall in terms of colour or design, which is perfectly understandable – not all of us are fashion dare devils! If this sounds like you, I would highly recommend investing in a pair of wedding shoes from Rainbow Club who have a beautiful range of dyeable styles which are ideal for brides wanting to get the wear out of their shoes after the wedding. For those tempted to opt for something a little different, Irregular Choice shoes are incredibly popular amongst brides looking for something a little quirky and wildly unforgettable. Alternatively, for something more personal why not have your shoes hand painted? Check out the jaw-dropping designs by Figgie Shoes, possibly the most beautiful creations I’ve ever seen. It’s so darn hard to pick a favourite, her talent is amazing *swoon*

How beautiful are these designs by Figgie Shoes?

How beautiful are these designs by Figgie Shoes?

Comfort:

If like me, comfort is a top priority it’s probably better choosing a closed toe style that you can line with super-comfy/extra fluffy/beautifully bouncy insoles… and other foot-friendly paraphernalia that will ward off aches and pains for as long as possible! I also find wedges are much more comfortable than a stiletto heel, and surprisingly easy to walk in compared to balancing on a thinner heel. Above all, make sure you break those little beauties in by wearing them around the house as often as you can before the big day… I promise you, your feet will thank you for it.

Also ladies, don’t forget to treat yourself to a soothing pedicure that will help breakdown hard skin and calluses. If you suffer from verrucas or other fungal infections seek treatment ASAP to ensure nothing prevents you from feeling your best on the big day… you’ve a whole night of shuffling on that dance floor to look forward too!

Do you have any top tips when it comes to wearing heels or are you more of a play-it-safe in flats kinda gal? I’d love to read your thoughts, advice or views in the comments below…

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Top Tips For A Stress-Free Pre-Wedding Eve…

 Pre Wedding Eve

 

Picture this… it’s the eve of your big day, you’re filled with a mixture of nerves and excitement as your beloved besties descend upon you, all eager to commemorate your last ‘official’ night of freedom. However before you start popping the champagne corks and divulging in new posh pamper products take a few moments to consider the potential consequences…

1) Don’t Bring On The Bubbly:

It’s pretty normal for most of us to want to relax, unwind or even celebrate all those hard months of wedding planning with a little glass of something sparkling, but before you go hunting down the corkscrew consider the potential headache you could end up nursing the following morning… definitely not the best start to one of the biggest days of your life eh?

2) Leave Lathering Up:

If you’ve managed to keep your pores looking as pristine as possible, it’s probably safe to say the last thing you’ll want is an outbreak of spots or a ghastly rash from a seemingly harmless new bubble bath or luxurious face mask, to ruin that flawless blushing-bride glow. Making changes to your regular skin care routine the night before your wedding is like playing Potion Roulette, it’s simply not worth the risk regardless how expensive, fabulous or highly recommended the product is.

3) Ditch the Movie:

If you’re already up to high doe with nerves (as most brides are on the eve of their wedding) you’re probably best avoiding any wedding related chick flicks. As fun and harmless as they may seem, most of the time the story line is littered with pre-wedding disasters – not great for the nervous system if you’re potentially on the edge of your perch!

4) Hold the Hair Care:

Those ladies who religiously wash their hair every single day of the week will struggle with this one, however your hairdresser certainly won’t be impressed with your head full of super, soft & silky locks. Freshly washed hair can be incredibly hard to style and work with – so if you can bear the thought of lathering up the night before the eve of your wedding it’s probably best to do so.

5) Case Closed:

You’ve more than likely spent several months obsessing over the tiniest little details, so pawing through your planner file at 11:45 pm is a recipe for inducing a full on panic attack that will undoubtedly leave you pacing the floors hours later. Just remember *almost* every problem has a solution. Step away from the wedding paper-work and quit obsessing!

 

 

I know, I know… it’s much easier said than done when you consider the combination of emotions leading up to the big day. However having worked with hundreds of brides, I’ve discovered some of the most effective pre-wedding nights pretty much boils down to being super organised and willing to take some much needed time to yourself. Light exercise (such as a gentle walk) followed by a relaxing bath and curling up with a great book is a super way to keep you feeling calm and your mind distracted. Don’t forget to stock on some relaxing herbal tea that can help aid a great night’s slumber –  just make sure you try it well before hand so you don’t end up with an upset tummy. Take no chances, keep it stress-free, familiar and you’ll reap the rewards!

If you have any tips to share on what helps you relax or de-stress I’d love to read them in the comments below… as always thanks for reading!

Cheerio chums 🙂

 

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