Our Boobless bride to be Dawn is back on the blog today with the second insight into her journey of wedding planning. Dawn won a place in our recent competition to find our new Bride-to-be writers and wow did we have response from you all on her amazing story. Here she tells us about her first venture into wedding fairs and how a boobless bride finds THE dress…
Bridesmaids chosen… so it must be time for the obligatory wedding fair. Although as you know I was married before, we got married in Cuba so none of the traditional planning was required. We simply went into first choice, picked the cheapest long distance venue and bosh…wedding done. This time it is a completely different experience – which is wonderful!!!
I managed to arrange a weekend where the bridesmaids could get together – all 5 of them – and booked us in to a couple of wedding dress shops on the Saturday and two wedding fairs on the Sunday. (Beth – Sister-in-law and Maid of Honour, Lindsay, Jodie, Emma and Boon –
My besties and my mum Sue) A pre hen gathering.
But that was weeks away…and I’m a little impatient so decided to start getting ideas. This is when operation ‘secret affair’commenced. Beth lured me into cheating on my bridesmaids, it is all her fault, she took advantage of my fragile newly engaged state. (Thrown under the bus Beth – sorry!) We only ventured into Cardiff to visit the vintage fair for some inspiration, had no intention of looking at dresses – Eek. But having found the most amazing vintage petticoat it was only right we had a little look to see what vintage dresses may suit the petticoat…I won’t try anything on without my mum and other bridesmaids present….will I?! Well, one won’t hurt… Oops. Before I know it I’m knee deep in dresses and a fabric connoisseur able to differentiate tulle and organza.
It has started…but I’m really doing the bridesmaids a favour – as now I know what style I want now so can concentrate on that on our bridesmaid weekend. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So I now know the style I want, just finding it is the difficult bit.
Now you may think I’m digressing a little now – as I’m supposed to be talking about a wedding fair, but all will become clear…
I suspect I am not the typical bride. I find the whole finding ‘the dress’ thing tedious and frustrating for two reasons; firstly the women in the bridal shops want to put me in size 20 dresses and I’m sure I am a 12 (damn you steroids) and secondly I have no bloody boobs!!!
How do I drop that into convo when describing the dress I want… “Good afternoon, I’m looking for an ivory dress with a drop waist, lace and a design that cleverly masks the fact I have no breasts”. Beth suggested going to the place she had her dress, but I was a little reluctant as I didn’t want to rain on her parade – but Beth was adamant. So off I trot to ‘Do you Believe?’ in Newport, South Wales and my goodness am I glad I did!!!
I embraced the situation and told Helen I needed a dress that would hide my ‘knitted knockers’ (an amazing alternative to prosthetics – please pass that on if you know anyone who has had a mastectomy) and suck in my fat. In true Welsh Bird style, I tell Helen it all…what happened
to my ex-husband, my struggle after, my diagnosis and meeting my amazing man. Instantly we connected, Helen has always had a passion for designing dresses that have a functional aspect for women with problem areas or disabilities…but more than that…she wanted so badly to not only make me a beautiful dress, but make me happy after such a testing few years!!! So, Helen is making me a dress…Yes, that’s right, my own dress!!! I choose EVERYTHING!!!! It is so exciting. My luck is changing…and as luck would have it, she isat the wedding fair on the bridesmaid weekends so my bridesmaid can pick dresses with her,and I can show the girls what we are thinking of doing. (See it makes sense now.)
So…back to the weekend!!!
Friday night, the girls arrive and we do as any bridal group would that are consciously trying to lose weight for the big day… we have a monster take away and start watching ‘Yes to the Dress’ and ‘Don’t tell the bride’ to get us in the mood and start planning the weekend.
So on the Saturday we head to Cardiff, to be honest I knew at this point that I was only really trying on dresses to have that experience with the girls and get ideas for Helen. It was a surreal day really – didn’t feel like a bride at all, in fact just found myself dismissing everything I tried on almost immediately. All I could see was short hair – the aftermath of chemo, fat – the aftermath of steroids and comfort food and no chest – the aftermath of cancer. And of course all the young girls working in the shop are beautiful size 6 and about 19 years old. My poor bridesmaids having to put up with me grumpy and struggling with body image issues and not feeling too great on my medication. Not really the ‘moment’ I was hoping for. But we left the bridal shop and had a lovely day shopping.
Sunday has now arrived and I’m looking forward to a lovely day with my bridesmaids but still not feeling very bridal. The first fair we attended was the ‘Chosen Vintage & Bespoke Wedding Fair’ in the Paintworks, Bristol. It was a lovely event, smaller than I expected but I suppose it was quite a specific bridal genre so makes sense.
First thing – a goodie bag – that lifted my mood immediately, it had a jaffa cake in it…my favourite lol. There were some amazing stalls there…genuine 1920-1950’s dresses, a little too authentic for me but beautiful none the less, incredible wedding cake designs and stationary sets, great ideas for centrepieces and lighting solutions…one of my favourite ideas was a traditional ice-cream cart being pulled by an authentic 1930’s push bike.
Lots of photos taken and now I’m really feeling the buzz of being a bride. Off we go now to the ‘West of England Wedding Show’at UWE, Bristol….Wow!!! What an event!!! Professional stalls offering everything you can think of and a real life catwalk!!! I’ve never seen a fashion show so was looking forward to that! First find was a Bailey’s fountain!!! I know!!! Love at first sight and my bestie Lindsay decided to treat me to it for my wedding gift…she’s a treasure.
One by one my bridesmaid took ideas and have taken on a little project of their own. (For now a secret) Then we found Helen at Do you Believe’s stand. She showed the girls a bridesmaid dress she thought would suit my dress and one by one the girls tried them on with me holding my breath…they loved it and all looked amazing!!! So…bridesmaid dresses…CHECK!!!
All bridesmaids are now beaming and we are all in full blown wedding mode. So Helen puts me in a dress that is close to what we are thinking to show the girls…a lot of changes to be made but the general idea could be seen.
There it was, that bridal moment. This is THE DRESS (kind of) – without a doubt. My mum is in tears, I’m in tears the girls are in tears and you can’t even get the full effect yet. Helen is truly making the dream dress for a boobless bride. I’m ecstatic… just the fashion show to go.
One by one the bridal shops show off their best selection of dresses, it was amazing. Such a diverse range of dresses…vintage, lace, sexy, daring, sparkly, short, long, full, fitting, you name it, it was there. Then unexpectedly the compere introduces the collection from ‘Do you
Believe, Newport’ with no thought at all, we all start cheering and whooping at the excitement that this was Helen’s collection!!! It never dawned on use for a second that this was not the kind of response given at bridal shows…the compere was stopped dead in his tracks, everyone staring at us in complete disbelief. Oops…we literally brought the show to a halt whilst he composed himself and ridiculed the fact we clearly did not know the etiquette at these events. Well… you can take the girls out of Newport….