The Wedding Dress Hunt Begins

The wedding dress hunt has begun. First stop Browns Bride where I was told I was the smallest bride she’d ever seen and that my fantasy designers Oscar de la Renta and Valentino were “not for my size”.

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The wedding dress hunt has begun. First stop London's Browns Bride where I was told I was the smallest bride she’d ever seen and that my fantasy designers Oscar de la Renta (below) and Valentino were “not for my size”. Despite that rather abrupt start - which is exactly what you need if you're ever going to reach stage two - Sam really knew what she was talking about and hauled out some beautiful, spot-on gowns (as I was rather struck dumb) by Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera and Peter Langner which fitted to perfection. Well, with five clamps at the back.

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Nothing prepares you for the first time you see yourself in a wedding dress; afraid to breath, eyes innocently wide at the image. Adding a veil is almost too much visual significance to take - you’re a bride! It’s astonishing how quickly this feeling dissipates - after gown four you’re a hardened, seen-it-all-before critic with a deadline to meet.

First tip; although I’m a big fan of slipping on something over budget to gauge the benchmark, always ask the price on seeing the gown. We’re Brits, we don’t like talking about money, but please don’t do what I did and stand looking at the one (a full-skirted and heavily beaded Carolina Herrera) from all angles for 35 minutes before discovering it’s £9,000. Ditto the Monique Lhuillier and also the Peter Langner (above) at £12,000. It’s hard to recover from that rollercoaster.

Second tip; don’t stand on the little stage to view the dress. Of course we all look miles better with acres more leg but it’s an unrealistic vision.

On to the Vera Wang shop at the newly opened second Browns store on Brook Street (nothing gained from previous budget concerns). Katy is wonderful and gets me immediately. Just not sure if Vera does. Wang makes unquestionably gorgeous gowns with form-fitting corsets mixed with romantic, deconstructed skirts (below). They’re surprisingly comfortable, you could waft and dance to your heart’s content. I need to work out whether I want to waft freely or glide stiffly...

One gripe; why don’t bridal shops have 360 degree mirrors? These are expensive boutiques and we’re spending the most we’ve ever spent on a dress yet we’re looking at our back view through a handheld mirror - the back being a marginally important angle...! You get a 360 degree mirror in BHS for goodness sake. Most odd.

I have two more days of dress shopping booked before I seem to have ticked the London box and consumed as many holiday days as I'm willing to spend. I'm finding plenty of beautiful gowns for three times budget. Panic!

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