Floral is the new Black…

dress 1 Dress ASOS £45dress close up

Accessories, Shoes £25 ZARA, Necklaces £14 Top Shop and Vintage, Gold Bag (not pictured) Vintage Gift 

A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law was getting married in Dublin and make no mistake, this was to be a ‘fancy’ affair!  Nearly 200 guests were decamping to gorgeous Ireland, to see the happy happy couple take their vows and partake in a mean party thereafter.

So, what’s a girl to wear to such a do?  As usual I left my dress shopping way too late and as usual, the amazing ASOS came to my rescue.

After several hours, ok, days, scouring ASOS.com, with a customary glance at Top Shop and Very.co.uk, I found it, THE DRESS.  Now I’m normally a casual kinda gal, but when I’m going to an event, function or wedding, I like to girly it up a bit and this dress practically jumped off the screen and screamed girly in my face.

Bold in print, but modest in it’s style, this gorgeous Fallen Star Floral Maxi was everything!  Unfortunately my size wasn’t in stock, but fear not, after tweeting my distain, within minutes the helpful peeps at ASOS had replied and suggested I added it to my favourites list and told me to keep checking back for re-stocking and within a few days there it was!

When the dress arrived it was WAY too long; not just, stick on some heels and deal with it long, but I’m going to need to grow half a foot long.  Step in seamstress extraordinare Alison, who for a bargain £8, took the hem up a good few inches.  So, dress altered and bags packed, we boarded our Ryanair flight to sunny Dublin and had the most amazing weekend.

The dress was £45 (and would appear to be no longer in stock), but the weekend in Dublin…. way too expensive to say! However, it was worth it and I felt a million bucks in THAT dress.

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That dress though…

wed 3   wed wed 2 So nearly five months after my big day, I’ve been busy, I’ve finally gotten round to a post on my dress; or should I say, that dress! I posted about the process I went through when looking for my wedding dress, so not to repeat the whole story, I went to a sample sale and pretty much bought the third dress I tried on, for a bargain price.  It did take some altering though; well, taken in three sizes, the train cut off and length taken up, oh as well as the top (around the neck) tidied up and shoulders sorted, soooo just a few things to be done and that didn’t come too cheap… That aside, I LOVED my finished dress; so what if I could barely sit down and had to take it off before the end of the night (I may have danced my last dances in skinny jeans and plaid), but what the heck, I adored wearing this dress and I wouldn’t change a thing.  Style may cost nothing, but being able to breath out after a day in my dream dress…. priceless.

Here comes the bride

In the month or so that has passed since becoming engaged, I’ve bee a very busy bee.  Venue is booked, registrar is booked, DJ is booked, photographer (my-brother-in-law to be) booked; yip all the main things are done and with just under seven months to d-day, you could say there’s not much left to do.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?”  I hear you cry….ah yes, the rather important matter of what I shall be wearing on the day….well, drum roll please….. I have found THE DRESS!!  It pains me not to be able to share a photo and even being the non-traditionalist that I am, this is one tradition I feel I should adhere to.

However, I wanted to share my dress finding story, as I hope it helps any of you brides to be find your dream dress, on a budget, as I have been so lucky to do!

My original plan, being the bargain hunter that I am, was to find a a second had, possibly vintage wedding dress online, or in a charity shop.  I’d even looked at ASOS to see if I could style a plain cream/ivory dress for the big day.  I had no intention of going to a bridal shop as my budget really didn’t allow.  Wedding dresses are stupidly expensive, many costing more than my entire wedding will, so I was going down the pre-loved route, that was until I found out about Sample Sales.

A Sample Sale is when a bridal shop, normally twice a year, sell off their out of season stock, to make way for the new stuff coming in.  I was still dubious, I mean, if a dress usually sells for £2,000 plus, would I be able to afford one, even in sale?  We all remember that episode of Friends, the one where Monica goes to a Wedding Dress sale, whistle in hand, to fight to the death for her dream dress…..I wasn’t looking forward to wrestling any potential purchases from the paws of another budget conscious bride!

Thankfully, in this case, that scenario couldn’t have been further from reality.  The sale I went to was at Glasgow Bridal Store, Anne Priscilla.  A beautiful shop a few friends of mine have found their dream dresses in, and one that, as I said, on my budget, I wouldn’t have been setting foot in, was it not for the promise of ‘cheap’ designer dresses!

You had to call to make an appointment for the sale and I was lucky enough to get the second last slot of the day.  So off I trotted a few Sunday afternoon’s ago, accompanied by my mum and sister-in-laws to be.

When we went into the shop I quickly scanned two rails of the sale dresses….hmmmm….not much grabbing me, but I’ll keep an open mind and try some on, I thought.  A lovely sales assistant told me to point out the dresses I wanted to try and then strip down to my undies in the cubicle and she’d help me try them on.  What followed was 45 mins of the most wonderful fun a girl can have.  I have to say, out of the five or six dresses I tried on, I could have bought three of them.   The lovely lady pinned me into each dress and then I paraded around the store, to the oo’s and ah’s of my lovely in-laws to be.

My ‘perfect dress’ in my head, was  vintage, long sleeved and very sleek, I did not want strapless, sequins, long train or anything to meriange like.  Just my taste, no disrespect to these dresses, I just knew what I was after.  However, three dresses in and standing there in a creation by wedding dress designer Provonais, I was completely off track, and in love with a dress.  I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice to say, I was bowled over by a dress that is not long sleeved, not vintage and a fair bit showier than I would have imagined.

And, just to seal the deal, the price.  This dress was originally priced at a staggering £2,050….however, sale price and what I paid for it, £450!!  I couldn’t believe it!  To be honest, £450 is still a little more than I wanted to spend, but the dress is worth every penny.  Now the bad…being that it’s a sample sale, you have to take that actual dress from the shop that day – no getting it altered there, or made to measure, you take the sample and deal with the rest yourself.  Some of the dresses I tried were pretty grubby as well, as you would expect from being tried on hundreds of times, so they would need dry cleaned too.  My dress is not too bad and as it needs taken up (and in a few sizes), will not need cleaned as well.

Yesterday I visited a specialist bridal alterations shop, to get a quote for the work needing done on the dress – it’s not cheap, and to be honest is not far off what I paid for the dress, however, when you look at how much I saved, it’s still a bargain….right?!

So, anyone who fancies the sample sale route, follow your favourite stores on Facebook/Twitter and keep an eye out for their sales, even give them a call and see when their next one is.  It’s worth a shot and you may find your dream dress at at a quarter of the price!