As someone who isn’t hugely body confident, I was dreading going to try on wedding dresses. In the end I only went to two shops, and knew it was ‘the one’ before even trying it on.
My mum could not wait for us to go shopping but five dresses down in the first shop I was done and couldn’t take anymore. One awkward moment was me putting one dress on (think mesh cut outs on the side which we didn’t know about which showed my bright green pants) and being like hell no, whilst the bride in the next cubicle announced that her dress was ‘the one’ – as I went to congratulate her, it turned out she was wearing the same dress that I had slagged off just that previous minute. Different strokes for different folks people!
I had put dress shopping to the end of my very long to do list and was more than happy to leave it to the last minute when I went to look at bridesmaid dresses with my mum (read all about those gems here!) at Bradgate Brides in Ansty. We tried on some bridesmaid dresses which I loved when the shop assistant suggested I try on some wedding dresses whilst we were there. I picked a couple off the rack, tried on the first one and told mum that this was the one. Mum suggested I try on a couple more just to be sure, but with each dress I tried on, I knew that it was ‘the one’.
I am not an overly fussy dresser, I don’t do bling or sequins so I had imagined the dress I’d go for would be quite plain, V-neck (too high makes my boobs look low) and flowy (didn’t want my food baby out). The dress I picked was just that. I loved how it fit, and although I had to have the straps altered slightly, it fit perfectly. It nipped in under the bust and flared out over my middle where I am most self conscious. I felt a million dollars.
We put down the £100 deposit and returned the following week with my old university housemates who were going to be bridesmaids to pick it up along with my dad. His face when he saw me lit up and I’ll never forget that really special moment. Except for the 3 girls that day, no one else saw my dress until the wedding – to be honest, I kind of loved the secrecy!
The dress I chose was a current season Alfred Angelo dress which had a small lace detail on the waist and was entirely made of tulle. I hadn’t wanted to spend a fortune but my heart was seriously happy when the tag said it was in the Bradgate Brides ‘outlet’ for £250! My parents very kindly purchased the dress for me and it is the most special item of clothing I have. On the day I teamed it with a pair of white leather converse and a fur stole which I picked up in House of Fraser about three days before the wedding when I realised just how could it could be!
The best advise I can give to people going in to try on bridal dresses is to go in with an open mind and try on as many different styles as you can. Each one I picked up differed in style, and I found that I like a number of different dresses which I had originally not even contemplated. I actually really loved a big poofy ball gown which is not my typical style at all, but I wasn’t over comfortable in it so that was never going to be ‘the one’. Try to think of if you could wear that dress all day; does it fit you as a person? Also be mindful of your budget when looking at dresses – what is the point in setting your heart on a £5k dress when you’ve got £500 in your pocket to buy it with.
My plan was to have my makeup and flower crown to do all the talking whilst my hair and dress complimented them. I went for a hair trial with a friend and we decided on a style (I’d looked on Pinterest beforehand to decide roughly what I thought I’d like). This all went to tits however on the day of the wedding when the flower arrived and we realised that the hair we had trialled wouldn’t work with the crown. In the end we improved by putting the crown on, brushing the hair through and messily pinning it. I actually think it looked even better on the day than the trial, and that hair was not going anywhere. I actually wore it for brunch the next day too!
My ‘signature’ look is red hair and lipstick so I knew I wanted to do that as a look for the wedding day. I had always thought I’d have an MUA do my makeup for the wedding but following one fail of a trial, I decided to do my own. I love makeup, I’d been blogging and vlogging about it for long enough so why not! I went for a little consultation at Estee Lauder to discuss their double wear base where I got my makeup done, and then I got to task practising.
I never had a set idea of exactly what I wanted from the wedding makeup except a flawless base and a bright red lipstick. I opted for the Becca Ever Matte Pore Filling Primer which is genuinely like glue for your face, the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation topped with the Bare Minerals Mineral Foundation. It sounds like seriously heavy makeup which it was, but it lasted all day. I bronzed up using my trusty NARs Laguna bronzer and highlighted with Mary-Lou Maniser from The Balm and Becca Opal.
On my eyes I went for a relatively neutral brown eye carved out using the Naked 2 palette (which actually smashed on the morning of the wedding leaving black eye shadow over everything!) and I lined my eyes with a small amount of Urban Decay 24 hour liner in Asphalt which complimented the green in the suits and florals. My lipstick was the MAC liquid lipstick in the shade Feels So Grand. I won’t lie, my lips were in agony the day after as it had sapped all the moisture from them but it really did last all day.
My top advice for bridal makeup is to try and look like ‘yourself’. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup day to day then you’ll probably feel quite strange and possibly self conscious if you wear a full glam look. Try to enhance rather than mask. If you are doing your own then practise is the best thing you’ve got. Utilise YouTube tutorials and anything you can find online because if you can think of it, there is almost certainly a tutorial for it!
Another piece of advice I can give is to keep a powder in your bag, a lipstick top up and some deodorant and perfume. You spend all day hugging and kissing people and your makeup may wear. I also did a LOT of dancing so that deodorant was hammered to high hell!
So there you have it.. my dress, hair and makeup story! It was a rollercoaster of emotions I’ll tell you that but I’m really pleased with how it all turned out.
Would you do your own wedding makeup? Do you have any tips you could share?