Wedding dress story: Kerry
Every bride has a wedding dress story, so last month we started a brand new feature sharing your gown highs and lows, kick-starting the series with Vicky’s tale. Now we have a fresh new account for you, and it comes from our very own Popup Weddings co-founder, Kerry. Here is her dress story.
My first thoughts about my wedding dress were that I didn’t want anything that was too cumbersome to walk in, or demanded an extra helper when it came to going to the loo! That ruled out big princess dresses, but I really wanted a maxi dress, albeit one that was comfortable. I ran this idea past Alasdair and he was on board. I know what you are thinking… “Why are you asking your husband to be? He shouldn’t know anything about it until the day”, but if you know Alasdair, you know that he isn’t one to mince his words and not offer his opinion, wedding day or not. Some might call it ‘being honest to a fault’. I just knew I didn’t want to walk down the aisle not knowing if he would like the dress.
I started with the usual occasion dress shops, Monsoon, Debenhams, John Lewis… but nothing felt any more special than the maxi dresses in my wardrobe. None felt like ‘the one’. So I bit the bullet and booked an appointment at a local wedding dress shop. Off I went with my mum and two sisters, but then having decided against the maxi dress, we started by browsing a few books, and my sisters picked out some potentials. But I hate shopping. So after four hours of trying on just four dresses, stress levels were running high and I wanted to go home. There was just one last dress to try on…
The are no two ways to say it, the last dress I tried on was instantly ‘the one’. It was as if the Gods knew I was giving up. It was perfect – not a maxi dress, and comfortable. I had to have it.
Then I looked at the price tag. It was four figures. There was no way I would spend that amount of money on a dress I would only wear once, so I went home disheartened. It was then that I turned to the internet and started to scour the bridal blogs, coming across a lot of brides who had bought their dresses from eBay.
Buying from eBay
I had read both good and bad stories about brides buying their dresses on eBay. But, with 18 months still left until the wedding, I knew I’d have time to alter anything that wasn’t quite right or get another one altogether if needed. I found a couple of people on eBay in China who were willing to make the dress I had seen in the bridal shop, for a fraction of the cost. I was wary that the dress might be a massive disaster, but I went ahead and ordered it. They just wanted some pictures of what I wanted and my measurements, then I waited.
While I waited for the dress to arrive I set about trying to find a cheap petticoat from eBay to match the one I had used when in the bridal shop, and was able to find one that was similar enough and thought “That will do!”
I guess they must receive a lot of orders for wedding dresses, because after several emails chasing the order, the dress finally turned up in this tiny parcel six months after I ordered it. It was clearly from China from the customs label, but I couldn’t believe there was a wedding dress in a bag the size of a packet of sugar. I opened it slowly, and it burst out of the package like a trick snake. It wasn’t identical to the one I had tried on in the shop, but it was still a lovely dress, albeit a bit crinkled from being in such a tiny package.
Trying it on
Eager to try it on, I was standing in the bedroom trying to get into this dress that takes at least two people to do, but I couldn’t get it on right. Even at that point though, I wasn’t quite happy with some small aspects of the design interpretation. The area around the bust was more like Madonna’s iconic cone bra which actually really upset me. It was still too long even though I had given them my measurements and some of the beading was placed in some misfortunate places (like on the nipples). To top it all the petticoat I bought and saved wasn’t at all right. It didn’t fill the dress out very well and was way too short.
I was actually starting to panic a bit, because despite not costing much money, I’d waited all that time for the dress, and it seemed like there was so much wrong with it. I couldn’t wear it as it was, I would look ridiculous and I couldn’t wait to order another one and risk that not turning up or being equally bad.
I decided that I would go and ask the bridal shop if they would rent the original petticoat to me for a week, which they were happy to do, but asked out of curiosity what dress it was for. When I told them my eBay story, they had a look of pity on their faces and they did that side head tilt people do when they feel sorry for you. I explained that I was 90% happy with the dress but it needed some extra tweaks.
The perfect dress
To my surprise, the bridal shop told me to bring the dress in, so Alasdair and I took it to the store where they insisted I try it on and stand on their pedestal under their lighting to best show it off, and they couldn’t have been more helpful. I used their petticoat and they helped me put it on. They could see where it needed the tweaking but over all they said they dress was lovely “considering”.
They even suggested I take it to a seamstress to make the alterations I wanted and provided me with a local recommendation. I called the number they gave me and it sounded like a little old lady answered, so I booked an appointment with her. The bridal shop also let me take the petticoat with me (for nothing) so I could get the dress altered with that for the complete look.
My mum and I went to this lady’s house and I explained all the drama of my experience so far. She led us to her back room which had a full length mirror. I had to put the dress on, so lucky my mum was there to help and the seamstress could see where it needed altering and even suggested a few other things she could do.
With all her helpful suggestions, I imagined this was going to cost me loads of money, but I was pleasantly surprised with the quote of only £60 to get all the work done I needed. One week later I got a phone call to say the dress was complete. Back my mum and I went, and I put the dress back on. It was amazing how different it was, I was absolutely over the moon with it after all the wonderful alterations were finished. I was so relieved and felt so happy with the dress I actually gave the seamstress more money to say thanks.
All-in-all it only cost me £150 in total, most of which was the cost of the seamstress in the UK. In my opinion, totally worth the punt, but not without some stress along the way.”