I knew finding a Wedding dress would be hard but I didn’t realise how much anxiety it would cause!
I’ve watched most episodes of ‘Say yes to the Dress’ and ‘Don’t tell the Bride’ plus many more Wedding shows on TV, I’ve photographed 100+ Weddings, I knew the drill, I had a game plan, I thought!
Pinterest my old friend, I started a huge pinterest board of all the dresses I liked. Turns out you can’t buy anything you Pin in store! That or you can order it from China but the horror stories put me off.
I knew I wanted a lace gown and I didn’t want a strapless dress. I wanted a cutout back, maybe in the shape of a heart and lots of buttons down the back. I was thinking a bit of blush pink in the dress would be nice too.
So we started shopping, about 15 months out from the Wedding, I found a brand of dress I liked, Allure Romance and then found a store that stocked a very similar dress to what I had seen online. Off to Ferrari Formalwear at Capalaba with my Mum (See dress number one below) I didn’t love it. I really thought I would! It had the blush pink I like, the lace, the illusion back, technically it ticked all the boxes but it certainly wasn’t my wedding dress and it was really itchy, I didn’t realise the mesh they sew the lace onto would turn my skin red, curse my sensitive skin!
Then the woman in the shop pulled out an all lace strapless dress for me to try. I wasn’t into the idea of strapless but humored the staff and tried it on. Turns out the dress assistants know better than the Bride haha. I really liked it! Like a 9 out of 10. But I didn’t want to buy the second dress I tried! That seemed too soon! I had only just started and wanted to see all my options! I look back at the picture now and I think maybe I should have saved myself the stress of continuing to look and bought this one, it’s really nice, right?! (Don’t worry I loved the dress I ended up choosing)
I tell the staff about my Wedding, the setting at Spicers Clovelly Estate, the winter vibe, the autumn leaves and they suggest a silk ballgown, ha! Now it looked like a beautiful princess dress but not at all what I pictured myself in! Again, I tired it on, because why not?! 9.5 out of 10, I loved it! But I seriously had a hangup on buying on my first Wedding dress adventure out! It’s really pretty right? My only concern was it was a bit restrictive lifting my arms up.
We tried on a few more in the original lace illusion look I wanted but they just weren’t making the cut, maybe the idea of what I wanted wasn’t actually what I wanted!
So I went home to talk about it with my fiance and by talk about it I mean half tell him and then not really tell him because I wanted the dress to be a secret haha! Then a week or so later I was driving over to my Mums house and drove past A Formal Affair at Alderley. I’ve driven past this store hundreds of times and spotted this gem in the window! Maybe I wanted a colourful dress that looked like nothing I’d seen before? I pickup up Mum and my Bridesmaid who lived just around the corner and off we went!
I really liked the floral dress but was a bit worried it was too bold, however it did have the winning feature of pockets! I feel like I should have just bought this dress for the fun of it and hope I had chance later in life to wear it haha. The brand of the dress Sherri Hill, the price of the dresses around $900, which would have been pretty amazing for a Wedding dress.
After going home and doing some solid google searching I found a few more dresses at Ferrari Formal wear. This time off to their Underwood store as they had different stock for me to try. I tried on a mermaid dress… while it looked nice, I couldn’t move, or sit, or turnaround in… and I couldn’t figure out how I would go to the loo in it… such a funny shape on me!
Then we found this AMAZING lace style ballgown which was fabulous and oh so incredibly itchy 🙁 I loved it but couldn’t bear it, if I couldn’t survive the itch in the shop, it wouldn’t be good for a whole wedding day! I tried on pink dresses in tulle and silk, more lace, more A-line dresses and just couldn’t quite find it. The silk ballgown from day 1 was still at the top of the list!
Turns out A Formal Affair also have an A Bridal Affair at Chermside West with more Wedding style dresses but in similar brands to the colourful formal dress above. They had a floral green dress which I was pretty keen on and a pearl detailed dress in the same Sherri Hill brand, definitely worth a look.
Randomly wandering around Chermside, I poked my head into Review to check out their new affordable Wedding dress range, they were pretty and great for a engagement party or elopement style Wedding and definitely well under budget but just not me.
Feeling lost I called one a my recent Brides who I had photographer her Wedding and we’d hit it off. Lauren and I caught up for coffee and spontaneously went to Belladonna Bridal at Woolloongabba, conveniently they had a free appointment slot. Again, we couldn’t find that wow dress. The shop assistant suggested we head over to Wendy Makin and rang up to see if we could be squeezed in, winner, off we went!
The dresses were to die for! But my poor budget was struggling as we were in the process of buying a house at this point. The floral pink dress was magical and so were the polka dots, Lauren and I both loved them all. I ummd and ahhd for probably far too long in the shop, we got some prices and headed back home. These were definite contenders and some sole searching needed to be done!
So I rang my cousin, who is also a Wedding photographer and a really bad influence when it comes to shopping and spending money! We’ve both photographed Weddings of Brides wearing Darb Couture Dresses and Brad makes the most amazing gowns, if I was going to spend on Wendy Makin why not check Darb out too.
I absolutely 100% fell in love with an exquisite blush pink and pale green ballgown with a little pink bow and I wanted it. ALL of Brads dresses are phenomenal and he’s a gem himself. We went for a drink and then headed home… and then the offer on the house came back for negotiation. We went up by $5000 and *poof* dream dress gone. I literally cried.
A few weeks later I was showing a client their Wedding photos I had taken and the Bride mentioned her dress was from White Lily Couture and I should try there. I really liked her dress so why not give it a go! With Mum, Bridesmaid and flower girl batman (yes she went in her batman costume to go dress shopping, my little winner!) in tow off we headed to an appointment at White Lily. They had beautiful flowy gowns and really soft lace that didn’t itch! They just weren’t me, I couldn’t put my finger on it and honestly a bit over my new budget.
Through a Bridal Brisbane Facebook group I saw someone mention Angelic Bridal at Chermside. I picked up the gang and off we went. They had some beautiful dresses and were ridiculously affordable. The best priced dresses I had seen in awhile, hope to the new budget bride had been restored! Honestly if you’re on a budget for a Wedding dress you should go here and the staff were super lovely! But I’m sure you’ve guessed by now I just can’t make up my mind and I’m driving myself nuts!
A week or so later I’m driving home from a meeting at Norman Park and spot a new shop! White by Gossip Gowns, I’m in a good mood and have time, so why not stop. It was a small shop with less dresses than the others but it had a nice feel and it was empty of customers so I had plenty of time to look around.
Then I spotted it, a silk sleeveless ball gown with sparkly pockets! It was so comfortable and I just felt good in it. I asked the price and brand.. of course, it was Sherri Hill again! The best party it was $890… seriously!
It wasn’t at all what I originally set to buy. But it just felt right. I felt like a Bride. I didn’t have that cry moment people on TV have but I had a big smile! It was the only one left in Australia and no more could be ordered so I put it on hold and bought Mum back a few days later to have a look. She loved it too. Done deal! It was weird but fun to be able to take my dress home then and there. It fit pretty much perfectly so it was mine to take haha winner!
A few months out from the Wedding I tried it on again, still loved it but wanted it a bit more ‘poofy’ so I went on the hunt for a hoop to go under it, I had enough length so why not! Turns out the comfy hoops are like $500+ but hot tip, Brides sell them second hand on gumtree! Someone around the corner had the perfect hoop for sale for only $50 and it was my size, sometimes these things are meant to be right? Back to Gossip Gowns to see their seamstress Del, she is awesome, I would highly recommend her and you can book her direct from her home studio. She took in the bust a little so everything was tucked in nicely and took the hem up for me for only $200, I thought that was pretty darn good!
Now, below are some photographs from my Wedding day! I adored my dress and in the lead up to the big day was so excited to be able to wear it! It was so comfortable and I felt like a Bride. It was fun to twirl and swoosh around in and break it down on the dancefloor!
That’s my story, thanks for reading xo
Thank you Kirsty from Wildflower Weddings for our Wedding Photographs!