Thursday, 7 May 2015

Wedding Dress Shopping & Feeling Anxious

Finding a wedding dress is such an incredible and strange experience. It's so easy to become concerned that people will make snap decisions and opinions about your age or simply your lack of knowledge. I had certainly never been shopping environment where you are surrounding by an array of items that hold so much significance, have no idea where to start, have someone else dress you, stand on a pedestal with lights on you and people cooing around all giving their opinions. 

I was a little be apprehensive and nervous to say the least.  

As is the trend for long term engagements, my own six month seemed short to those in the wedding industry and I was met with a lot of "Oooh you haven't got much time!" and "Have you got everything sorted?" Apparently it's pretty normal to order your dress six months to a year before if not longer. I think I ended up ordering mine one or two months before and had to pay for 'rush ordering'. 

We tried a whole range of bridal shops, including off the peg warehouse style places and much fancier made to your measurements places. I must have tried on something like 30-50 dresses. Often you choose some and then they'll suggest others that are similar, I found that a lot looked far different on than on the hanger. Yet I found absolutely none that were temple appropriate! (Sleeves, back, not see through and a bust covering neckline.) People were often surprised by such requests which could make it even more difficult.  

It was in the bridal store that I picked out the least amount of dresses that I found my dress! It was certainly a different fit than I thought I would go for and it was the back that I loved most. It was simple, relaxed and bohemian with almost a Grecian feel. However as with every other dress I tried on it needed some changes in order to make it modest. The neckline needed to be made higher and the lace that covered the front middle panel, sleeves and back all needed to be lined.  

I was fortunate enough to have my dress made to measure and the neckline could be changed at this stage, however I was to go to an external seamstress for the lace to be lined. At this appointment it was the first time seeing my own actual dress and to have the opportunity to try it on and test the fit, the length, etc. I happened to go on my own without any friends or family and explained the changes I wanted made. While I didn't give my reasoning, the seamstress went on express that the lace was the best part and gave an expression that looked like it was an absolutely ludicrous idea that I would want it lined. She went on to express her opinion which conflicted with my own and I felt pretty put out and taken back. In my stressed, flustered state I exclaimed that it for religious purposes and mentioned that it was to do with the venue to which she clearly thought was strange and silly standard of dress. Regardless of my reasoning whether it be personal taste or personal religious commitment or a mixture of both it shouldn't really matter. While she probably meant no harm and may have simply been giving her own opinion it was the manner in which it was done and my own vulnerability as inexperienced in wedding planning situations, the appointment left me very unnerved. 

The initial work was agreed on and they did an wonderful job, many of our wedding guests went on to ask me where the dress was from and if I had bought it as it was on the day! I was incredibly happy with the price and quality of the work.

Yet as I left the appointment and walked throughout the city I was overcome with such a strange feeling, something I have only ever experienced to such an extent once before. It was as if my mind or soul internally started to shake. I became unnerved and apprehensive for no apparent reason. I wanted to withdraw within myself. To shut out the public eye and curl up somewhere. Overcome with stress and concern. It is so difficult to express fully how it felt and not even knowing what was happening or how to describe it made it worse. It didn't even feel like I was freaking out about the appointment because while it was different that I expected it turned out successfully, but maybe it was a trigger or a catalyst? 

I tried calling my (now) husband a few times but being in university and his phone on silent, he didn't see my calls. I didn't really know what to do and simply carried on walking, the train station was pretty far away and I still wanted to make the most of my time there. In my concerned and confused state I spotted a large Waterstones book store that I had never been to and went inside. I am go glad I did. Childlike love of literature filled and anchored me. Instead of these horrible, swallowing feelings I will filled with a sense of relief. I scanned the shelves and flicked through book after book, clinging to their safety until the feelings almost disappeared.

It was such a strange experience and I'm incredibly fortunate that I found something that helped, especially as I knew very little about what was happening. If anything it has caused me to cherish the little joys and anchors in my life and how vital it is that I keep them there. Before the wedding a lot of people told me that I would miss all the planning once it was over, and I can safely say I don't. 

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