On girliness and wedding dresses



Wedding shop in Glasgow


It’s kinda hard to express what’s been going on in my head lately.  And I’ve kept quiet here while I’ve tried to work it out and I think keeping it in is a bad idea and I have no idea why I have.

We live in a world of expectations and fairytale movies and I feel like I’m caught up in this wedding industry lately, and it’s hard and weird.

I promised myself and worked really hard on early planning to make sure that I don’t let this wedding get the best of me. I’ve seen brides turn into maniacs; women who are intelligent and mature turn into bridezillas and control freaks.


Husband to be


Folks ask why I’ve done certain things so early and it’s really just a simple thing – space it out and it won’t freak you out.  There is still a bit of a freak-out going on in my head sometimes, but that’s mainly because I’m so, so far away from everything related to my wedding.  I chose to get married in NZ, because that’s always where I wanted to, but it turns out we have so many friends here that we know won’t make it, and that’s kinda bittersweet.  And all communication with suppliers is over email or through my mother, and that’s never ideal – despite hating the phone, we still don’t always communicate that well with emails. Tone, and all that.

The main thing in my head at the moment, which is making me super sad, is the wedding dress shopping. I started it when my friend Deb was visiting a few weeks back, because I thought after being friends for so long, it’d be a nice way for her to be involved, and it was a ridiculously hot day, so I was sweaty (horrible getting dresses on and off) and didn’t look my best and I felt self-conscious being in my underwear around a stranger, and though I tried on a dress I really liked, I felt less than bridal, and quite homesick.


Scotland is beautiful lately


I watch a lot of Say Yes to the Dress (I started for ideas, now I just do it to torture myself), and I know that I have always pictured that moment when you get your wedding dress and it’s perfect for you and you have that special feeling of knowing it’s yours and what you’ll look like on your wedding day. I feel like I’m supposed to do this with my bridesmaids and my mother and I’ve been a bit deprived of that.  I never like to dwell on or pity myself for things that I have chosen, and I know I’ve chosen to be here. But it still hurts a bit.

I know we discussed doing it when I was in New Zealand, but I felt so very unattractive and overweight at the time, and it just didn’t really come up. I have put off even looking (other than occasionally online) because I don’t want to be the one who can’t fit a wedding dress sample size, and when I went a few weeks ago, I only really fit one of the dresses. It was a bit sucky and felt a bit deflating and I just feel like I’m missing out.


Part of our wedding venue


And it’s silly because I know I’ll get that moment when I’m getting ready in the morning of my wedding and my mother and sister and everyone sees me in my dress all ready to go and we get to share that together.  And it’s so very cliche and girly to want to stand on a podium in a bridal shop while everyone oohs and ahhs and tells you it’s “the dress” but.. I want it. I really want to feel special in this and enjoy this.

I’m losing weight and working on that and also working on telling myself that it’s not 100% necessary for me to be the size I want to be before I try things on. If I lose the weight I want and feel body-confident for my wedding, then that’s awesome, but I don’t need to wait to find a dress until I do. I’ve been telling myself that I have to wait for too long and I need to stop getting myself down and just get on with it. Adjustments can be made and dresses can be changed and geez, I’m not enormous. I’m just bigger than I want to be and bigger than I’ve been most of my life and I go into bridal shops and want to yell at everyone I’m not usually this big I assure you like I’m hiding inside a big person’s body or something. And sometimes it feels that way.


Me in June


So I have appointments again in a few weeks and we’re going to go for a coffee in-between them and have lunch afterwards and a drink or two and really try to enjoy it. I’ve reached out to girlfriends here and asked them to be my replacement family for some upcoming shopping trips, and hopefully some will join us then, but if not, it’ll be a nice morning out with Helen.

I think I’ll feel so much more excited about the wedding once I find my dress, and I think I need to just let go a bit and trust everyone around me that the day will work out how I’ve envisioned it.  These 8 months are going to fly by.




7 thoughts on “On girliness and wedding dresses

  1. OMG thank you so much for articulating all of these FEEEEELINGS in a post. And please know you are not alone. I had major anxiety over the dress shopping because in my head it was something I would experience with my mum and my besties. And all of them were over there, and here I was over here. I asked my mum to come to London to help me, and then had to deal with all KINDS of rejected feelings when she said no (err, she gets free flights through my dad’s work, and had free accommodation with me, and she’s retired so…what’s THAT about?). I resisted dress shopping for a long time, but it was really really stressing me out, so thankfully another bride-to-be friend took me to my first shop. She made that first experience wonderful – she made me choose THE most ridiculous dress in the shop and try it on, she said “this is going to be FUN, let’s have a laugh, let’s take the seriousness out of it”. And she was right – I did have fun, even though I greatly missed all those people I had envisaged around me in that moment.

    I went to a few more appointments, never finding “the right one” or anything that I had “a moment” in, and I got really discouraged by it. Wasn’t I meant to have a Say Yes To The Dress moment? Lot’s of them were nice and do-able, but I wasn’t screaming OMG or getting teary over it. What was wrong with me?!

    I also started feeling guilty about dragging “just friends” to the shops with me. By that I mean girlfriends who I had only recently met or been friends with since moving to London – not people that knew me deep down and knew my personality. They didn’t know the country, the town, or the climate I was getting married in. They didn’t understand that “garden wedding” meant more “casual farm” than “manor estate”. I ended up advertising (putting out an open call for help) on facebook because I didn’t want to particularly ask someone to waste their Saturday watching me try on gowns, get hot and sweaty and flustered. I didn’t like the idea of someone feeling obliged to help me, when really they wanted to say they were busy! But it turns out a lot of girls are secretly CRAVING to get inside the illusive bridal shops and were more than happy to spend a few hours with me – and so I kind of indulged their curiosity as much as they indulged me my trying-on experiences.

    LONG story short (kinda) but in the end, when I found my dress, I was actually all on my own. It was the very last appointment I had booked on a long day of trying on a bazillion dresses. My friend who had spent all day trying to help me had left as she had something else to do, and so I walked into this tiny store which happened to be at the end of my street all on my own. I think the assistants were surprised that I didn’t have anyone with me – but I explained that my family and bridesmaids were all overseas. They were so supportive and lovely and I ended up finding not one, but two dream dresses in that shop – they 100% knocked everything else OFF the list. I actually got warm fuzzies on the inside and teared up with these dresses on. And on the body concious part – so many dresses I had tried on I had thought “yes, this dress is THE one, all I need to do is lose some weight from my *insert body part here* or tone up my *insert other body part here*. My actual dress though? It was perfect without me having to change ANY part of myself – that’s how I knew it was right. I felt amazing and beautiful and pretty and bridal and girly without changing a single thing about my current self.

    Two weeks and two more try-on’s later I made my final choice, and I actually felt waves of pressure lift off my shoulders that I didn’t really realise I was carrying. In a strange way, I’m really proud that I chose my dress all on my own. It’s special and secret – while I have shared photos (this wonderful little store took photos FOR ME in the dress (unheard of as most of the stores wouldn’t let you take photos AT ALL), and let me spend an hour skyping in my mum and my bridesmaids) – no one in the world has actually seen me in the dress (apart from on a fuzzy skype). My dress was ever so slightly over my budget, but I honestly believe that the little extra is my paying for the “bridal experience” that I felt like I was missing out on before – this little shop opened a whole bottle of champagne (just for me!) when I went in to confirm the dress and the assistants made me feel so special. I know I am missing out on having those moments with my mum and my bridesmaid, so having some kind lovely people try and recreate it as best as possible actually means so much to me right now.

    WOW that was an epic comment, but just wanted to share – it’s NOT all doves and roses like they make it out to be. It’s a process, one that can be highly emotional. I think it’s great that you are sharing these feelings and acknowledging them. As for your body concerns – you sound like you are on the right track, making small changes to get to where you want to be. Don’t let your “now” upset you – these dresses are made to flatter all shapes and sizes and there are so many tricks that can be done to nip and tuck and hide and distract. It’s just about finding the right combination of those things that make you feel wonderful. And you will find it!

    Good luck!! Sending you lots of love and wedding dress wishes xxx

    • Thanks SO much Leah for sharing your thoughts and I’m glad my post resonated with you. I actually did think about having that experience on my own and it being special that way if I couldn’t rally any troops to come with me. My good friend Helen who lives here is my bridesmaid, so she has been a great help, and I am feeling a lot better about it all since I wrote the post – sometimes it’s great just to vent!

      A dress I really liked is now 60% off cause the store is closing down, so I’ll be there on Thursday to try it again! I think I’ll feel much more excitement once I know I’ve got the dress sorted. I’m glad you finally got there in your own way and I know your family will be thrilled when they see you in your dress on your big day. xxx

  2. Oh Kat, I can only imagine the stress and constant to-ing and fro-ing when it comes to wedding planning.

    My sister had her wedding in NZ and I had to fly back for it – leading up to it I felt like the most useless Maid of Honour – not being there to hug her when the family were all putting in their two cents, not there to cry with her when she tried on her first wedding dress and not there to laugh at all the impossible requests of her many guests. But, when all was said and done and the day arrived it was pure happiness.

    I think sometimes the build up becomes far too stressful and people start to forget what it’s all about. I hope it all runs as smoothly as possible for you – it’s good you have your mum back in NZ to help out!

    Looking forward for more updates, and you’re looking fantastic so definitely go get that dress! xx

    • Thanks so much for your comment – it has been stressful! I’ve tried really hard not to get stressed, but it’s impossible at times. I’ll post about “the dress” today!

      I think the day itself will be great, but yeah, like you’ve said, it has been a weird time and will be a strange lead-up to it! Trying to email my mother and keep her involved, but I think she feels pretty distanced from it all.

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