Not THAT White Dress

Dress: Asos

Cardigan: Dangerfield

Belt: Kinki Gerlinki

Shoes: Chie Mihara

If you’ve been reading my Twitter feed you’d know that I’ve managed to find The Dress.

It’s not this one (in case you were wondering) and everyone keeps asking me what it looks like. But apart from a few close friends, and my bridesmaids I’m keeping it quiet. It’s actually a difficult one to describe anyway, and I keep forgetting how lovely I find it until I go in for a fitting, and it’s there and it’s SO lovely.

It’s also COMPLETELY different from what I’d originally planned. So I can show you that one:

Dress: Dolly Couture

I found Dolly Couture through one of the (many) wedding blogs I’ve been reading for inspiration. The moment I spotted the Avila Bay dress I thought “Blimey! That’s it! And it’ll only cost me $600!”

Reviews seemed consistently positive, and on her Facebook page she’s got hundreds upon hundreds of photos of her customers. Each bride – regardless of race, size, colour – looked breathtaking.

I loved it, and I STILL love it; but a girl really (ideally) only gets to be a bride once, so even thought I was convinced this was The One I still wanted to do the whole Wedding Dress Shop Experience.

I knew my Mum would have her reservations about the dress too, so I had this wonderful plan that kind of backfired on me.

1. Take Mum down Sydney Road in Brunswick, which is the more serious hardcore wedding destination in Melbourne. Meringue Avenue

2. Try on lots of stupidly expensive, massively over-the-top wedding dresses. The kind where you need three bridesmaids to help you go to the loo.

3. After finding nothing that appeared to my taste and/or purse-strings we return home at which point I show Mum the Dolly Couture, and she’s so relieved that I’m not going to spend $10,000 looking like a pavlova for eight hours of my life that we buy the dress on the spot.

4. Have a glass of champagne to toast.

At first everything was going to plan. We had a hairy moment when Mum insisted we go into Mariana Hardwick but mercifully the only dress that really caught my eye felt like it weighed about twenty kilos and the thought of spending a hot summer’s day slogging around in it was less than appealing.

We tried on a few traditional wedding dresses (tight bodice, huge skirt) which was a bit of an experience. For the first time I realised why so many girls for whom the style really doesn’t “speak” ended up wearing such an item. After being helped into a hoop skirt, then laced into the bodice some helpful bridal-store staff member brings you out into a beautifully lit antechamber where you’re helped onto a pedestal that magically makes you seem a foot taller and twenty kilos lighter. As she pins a veil to the back of your head you look open-mouthed at your reflection and suddenly you’re eight years old again playing dress-up princesses. It’s a pretty compelling feeling.

Still, I’ve always been of the (very outspoken) opinion that too many women spend too much money on an uncomfortable dress that actually doesn’t suit them because it’s The Wedding Dress, and so after a brief flirtation with the idea of wearing Barbie’s-Wedding-Gown-Circa-1984 Mum and I continued on our merry way.

Things became a bit unstuck as we passed a (I’ll be honest) kind of seedy looking dress shop called “Hera”. I had a rather unkind giggle at the thought of buying a wedding gown from a shop named after Zeus (who shagged his way through the entire female population of ancient Greece)’s wife. But it was the only shop left open that late in the afternoon.

Inside it was much more low-key than the Bridal Palace’s from earlier on. A few a-line gowns down one side, bridesmaid dresses down the other. I was perusing the latter when I spotted a nice-ish looking black dress, and I held it up for Mum to see: “This is much more my speed,” I said. “Pity it’s in black”

Mum called the shop owner over – who it turns out was the designer – and asked if she could make it in other colours. “Yes”, said the woman. They were couture, they could do whatever I wanted.

Mum sent me into the changeroom: little more than a curtain with a full length mirror in front of it. No pedestal, no soft lighting.

I put the dress on, and when I came out and looked in the mirror my heart kind of sank and sang at the same time. It was exquisite.

That’s all I’ll say, because I don’t want to give too much away.

Instead I’ll show you some accessory photos from today:

Earrings: Gifted by The Sophisticate’s folks

Shoes: Chie Mihara (via eBay)

20 thoughts on “Not THAT White Dress

  1. I love hearing wonderful stories about how ladies find their wedding dresses. I was all set to buy a Karen Willis Holmes dress (she does beautiful work, by the way) until I walked into Steven Khalil. His studio was the last place on my list and if it had been the first it would have saved me weeks and weeks of looking. He made a dress specifically for me (couture) which he will never make again. The feeling of being so special and wearing such an amazing dress cannot be beaten. I love your original Dolly Couture dress but I bet the one you end up wearing will be absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to see it.

  2. I love your story! Thanks to two friends getting married (and driving me crazy) I have begun to loathe everything wedding and don’t ever want to get married myself now. That means it takes fun stories about finding a dress in a shady shop to make me smile. So thank you for taking me out of my wedding funk for even a moment 🙂

  3. You look absolutely lovely! I LOVE those shoes. At some point I’m going to cave and order myself a pair of Chies.

    I always love seeing what dresses brides pick out! I’ve been on bridal shopping expeditions with a few girlfriends, and in nearly every case it was the shady looking places that had The Dress. Who would’ve guessed?

  4. I had two dresses as well. I was determined to wear a turquoise dress like my Granny & mum had done and I found a beautiful dress at Monsoon but about 3 months before the wedding, whilst looking , for a bra to wear under my dress, I came across another dress – THE dress. So I ended up selling the Monsoon dress and I wore my 2nd dress instead.

    So happens to the both of us! I wore my blue version of this dress this week. I love it so much.

  5. hey, just a question on your original dress that you bought from dolly, well, i want that EXACT dress, and was wondering if you are willing to sell it 😀 XOX

    it would save me ordering it at a later date 🙂

    it’s just so weird that its the exact dress and it would be in my size, well, my size when i am a bride 😛 xox

  6. Tease! I am now desperate to see this dress!

    I nearly ended up with a completely not-me traditional style wedding dress because of the exact feelings you described! It’s strange, even though I love the dress I wore (which was still very wedding-dress-y but not white or strapless like every other one seems to be) sometimes I still think about the other one. Very powerful, the 8 year old dress-up stuff!

  7. OMG OMG OMG- I was reading my sunday age M and who do I see- YOU!!!!!! How exciting! Looking gorgeous as always of course!!

    I love the dolly couture dress you were going to have-cant wait to see the wedding dress you chose!

    The chie mihara shoes are dreamy- beautiful color and cut! Sigh!

  8. The white dress with the red cardigan is so lovely…and my 10 year old daughter took the words right out of my mouth when she saw the shoes and said ‘I really like them!”
    So happy you found your wedding dress. Its a special thing to find the right one that fits perfectly and screams out everything that is you and you alone!
    When is the wedding?

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