1. Make an appointment ‐ most bridal shops operate on an appointment‐only system. 2. Buy a selection of wedding magazines and look for listings of bridal shops in your area…
Written by Louise Holt Last updated: September 3, 2006
Neither Michelle nor Natalie are particularly fond of frills and fancies, or in fact dresses and skirts in general. In the three years I’ve known Natalie, I’ve seen her in a skirt twice and in the 16 years I’ve known Michelle I can only remember once! As we were shopping, Michelle’s repeated request was: “Are you sure bridesmaids can’t wear jeans and trainers?” Another criteria for the dresses that all the girls had asked for was that they touch the ground, so the dresses have been ordered suitably long and all the girls warned not to grow until at least August!
Another thing that we needed to consider when looking at dresses was whether they had a children’s range. Whilst I didn’t want the adults to look daft in children’s style dresses, or the children to look like ‘little adults’ I did at least want all the dresses to be the same fabric, so they would have to be the same manufacturer.
In the end we chose a dress from the same shop that I’ve bought my dress from, which makes things much more convenient. The dress that we chose for Michelle and Natalie meant that we had a choice of around four dresses for Katie, Sarah B and Sarah M. So with both Michelle and Natalie all measured up and dresses chosen, two down, three to go!
The following week Katie and Sarah M came down from Scotland with their mums for the weekend so they could try on the dresses and be measured up and the weekend after that Sarah B came to visit, so that she could do the same. After all the trying on of the bridesmaid’s dresses and my dress the week before, I ended up being in our local bridal shop for five Saturdays in a row. They were all quite amused when they saw me walking through the door again ‐ in fact I know quite a few of them by name now!
All the girls have asked loads of questions about the day and all the details, right from when they get up to when they go to bed, I think they’re all as excited as I am! They all have a book that I gave them which they can fill in all the details about their dress, the fittings and everything on the day, so they’re all apparently enjoying filling those out too.
So, with the dresses on order, all we need to do if wait for them to come in and we can then start to have fittings! It’s all getting so exciting now…
There are lots of children on both sides of the family to choose my bridesmaids from and I’m lucky enough to have a number of good friends that I also would have liked to ask. However I didn’t think I should have more people standing in the aisle than would be sitting in the pews, so I limited my numbers.
My chief bridesmaid is Michelle. She’s one of my oldest friends ‐ we met in France when both of our families were on holiday back in 1988. Michelle lives in Ireland so I phoned her to tell her that I was engaged as soon as we got back from holiday, which is when I also asked her to be my chief bridesmaid. Michelle has been able to visit a couple of times during the planning. Despite the distance, thanks to the power of texting and email, is still able to help with the plans and generally keep me calm!
I am having one other adult bridesmaid ‐ Natalie ‐ who is Mike’s sister. I asked Natalie when we came back from holiday and went round to Mike’s parents for a meal. She was pleased that not only her brother is getting married, but that she’s bridesmaid too! It was lovely being able to ask her in person, so I could see her reaction although from the screech of excitement that I got down the phone from Michelle, I could tell she was excited too!
My three other bridesmaids are Katie (10), Sarah B (8) and Sarah M (6). Both Katie and Sarah M live in Scotland and Sarah B lives near Southampton. Katie and Sarah B are my first cousins and Sarah B is my goddaughter. Sarah M is my first cousin’s daughter and also my goddaughter ‐ it’s all a bit confusing!
Because nearly all of my bridesmaids live far away from me, shopping for their dresses was quite challenging. Mum, Natalie and Sue (Mike and Natalie’s Mum) and I spent a few Saturdays round the local area looking for bridesmaids’ dresses. When I’d been shopping with Mum for my dress, we tried to get an idea of what the shops were also like for bridesmaids dresses, to save wasting time going to a shop that didn’t have anything we liked. In a few of the shops, when I was looking for my dress, I actually saw bridesmaid dresses that I liked and in some cases I tried them on ‐ the assistants often looked quite amused at me going from bride to bridesmaid, but it’s so much easier to see what a dress looks like on someone, rather than on the hanger.
Michelle was coming over to stay for a long weekend at the end of February, so we had to at least have a short list of dresses by then, because we had to go back and try them all on in one day! We ended up visiting four shops on the Saturday that Michelle was staying. Mum, bless her, was chauffeur and she ended up driving miles that day.
There was one dress in particular that we liked, but a few days before we went to look at it again Karen McDonald in Coronation Street got married, with her bridesmaids in the same dress. I stopped being quite so keen on it then! By this time I’d been able to get hold of a sample of the fabric of the men’s cravats and although we weren’t expecting to get an exact match, we wanted to make sure that they didn’t totally clash, which again ruled out a few more dresses.
Read Gill’s diary next month to see how her wedding planning is going and to pick up some handy tips along the way.
I can't believe it, after 18 months of planning the day has finally arrived. It has been a roller coaster...