at David’s Bridal
Behind the scenes
at David’s Bridal
When the lovely folks at David’s Bridal asked if we’d like to visit their first Scottish store to try on some of their dresses, it took us all of five seconds to decide. The thought of running our fingers over all that tulle, taffeta and sparkle sent our excitement levels rising like kids in a sweet shop. And so it was that one sunny February morning, we set off for Glasgow with our inner magpies all a flutter…
CHRISTINA: If I’m honest, my last experience of wedding dress shopping was more than a little disappointing. A late bloomer when it came to developing the bride gene, I desperately hoped that I’d have that movie moment when my mum and I finally visited our first (and as it turned out, our last) bridal shop together. I’d spent hours online trying to hunt down bridal designers I liked, who all seemed to be available only in London boutiques or priced in the eye-watering range (eek, how many thousand pounds did you say?!). As I stepped into the Edinburgh boutique (which has since closed), I felt overwhelmed by the tightly packed rails of tulle and lace, and underwhelmed by the styles I (somewhat reluctantly) selected to try on after being assured by the sales assistant that there was no other room with “all the less weddingy dresses”. Seriously, where were the Oscar style jawdroppers I’d been picturing?!
Nine years later (how did that happen?!), and everything has changed. Now I love any excuse to dress up and although I’m no longer a svelte 26 year old (a lot of cheesecake, plus a baby will do that I guess), I’m really quite excited at the prospect of getting my bride on this time around. It may be something to do with the fact that David’s Bridal (which opened in the Braehead Shopping Centre in December but has been dressing style conscious US brides since it was established in 1950) is the exclusive stockist of Jenny Packham’s brand new Wonder collection (hello Downton-Abbey esque glamour) or it may be those two other words that are sure to send a thrill down the spine – Vera Wang. Either way, my magic pants are packed (the fear kicked in when we were asked what dress size we wear while booking our appointment), and I am ready.
ALIE: Thinking back to my first experience of wedding dress shopping was both a little amusing and slightly traumatising. For starters I had to trawl (wait for it!) the yellow pages for bridal shops. Back in those days, few companies had websites and the bridal shops I visited were definitely a few years off that… I went with my Mum and after the second shop we both felt like running for the hills. The first saw a rather ‘bullish’ lady tell me I couldn’t have a white dress as I’d look better in ivory (seriously I don’t – it makes me look sick!) and then demand I strip down to bra and pants (with her not leaving the not-large-enough-for-two-and-a-wedding-dress changing room!) There followed too much manhandling and my grand emerging as an ivory peaked meringue (I still have nightmares).
The highlight of the second shop was the reaction to our short engagement (a mere 3 months) – “Are you going to be putting on weight?” while looking at my middle area. How rude. And this the 21st century (ok just, but still!). I would have given up hope had it not been for a recommendation from a family friend who knew someone who’d got their wedding dress from a lady who made wedding dresses. I knew I’d found my dress when I heard it could be made easily within weeks (days even if it required!). Phew! 16 years on I still love my dress, although I doubt I could even fit one leg into it and I’m also not exactly sure where my dress is actually living (word is it may be hiding in a friends’ wardrobe from one of our house moves – oops).
CHRISTINA: Before our visit, we are given a little homework to do, of the online shopping variety (the best kind surely!). We are asked to browse the David’s Bridal website and pick out the styles we love most. My initial excitement is slightly tempered by the fact that I realise I have absolutely no idea what shape of dress suits me these days. Will I really be able to squeeze myself into that Wang? If not, I’ll die trying.
Heart palpitations kick in as I flick past showstopping ballerina ballgowns. Despite the sea of tulle, I’m slightly tempted to try one on – what happened to the anti-bride?! While some of the dresses are, although beautiful, a little traditional for my taste, there are so many styles to choose from – from flirty short dresses to floor-length vintage inspired gowns. Elegant lace nestles alongside crystal embellished detail, there is so much to love here!
I love the super helpful sections on fabrics, dress shapes and slips to wear under the dress, to get the best possible look. Plus the fact that all the prices are listed. And it’s refreshing to see that the ‘Curvy’ section of the Bridal Lookbook (with dresses available in sizes 20-30) runs to more pages than I can count and features lots of, not just figure-flattering but seriously gorgeous styles.
ALIE: Ooh homework. Looking at lots of pretty pictures of dresses online… and then more pretty pictures… and more. The range was huge and I had applied my usual online shopping technique of picking lots and then working to remove. Only this was hard as there were so many options. I was also more than a little curious as to what I would suit now in my no longer 21 year-old shape. And my view on wedding dresses it seems has changed. No longer frightened of the fuller skirt, I was positively drooling over tulle and lace. Vera Wang, I may have fallen in love…
Now it was to decide on which form of body armour to don as I prepared for the idea of stepping back into that bridal changing room…
ALIE: From the warm and friendly welcome at reception we knew we were going to be in for a treat at David’s Bridal. We were given a glimpse of the extent of the shop (so much pretty and so many dresses – no wonder we had so much to pick from online) and then we were introduced to our personal stylists Clare and Jenna. Within minutes we were giggling like old friends over body hangups (‘Leave those at the door!’, Clare ordered) through to our previous wedding dress shop experience (see above!). Something told me this was going to be a whole lot of fun…
Clare (my very own personal stylist who would also do well in the role of fairy godmother and all round best pal) captured my vitals and gave me a tour of the shopfloor where I could pick some of the dresses I liked. Oh hello! At this point I should point out that I am the girl clutching as many clothes as I can fit on one arm into a changing room and I often have to leave some and swap as the changing room hangers don’t go up as high as the amount of clothes I can fit on my arms. Perhaps it’s because I don’t get out often, but when faced with choices of what to wear I want to try them all! Thankfully Clare was brilliant at helping me narrow down and pick a select few based on what she’d already learned about what I liked and didn’t like.
Within my selection was number 1 dress that had spoken to me as I first entered the bridal shop. Yes it had tulle; yes it had layers and yes it was Vera Wang. With that and another couple of goodies, we headed for the changing room area ready to try and style.
CHRISTINA: I must admit, I did feel a little overwhelmed at first as I began to make my selection. There were so, so many gorgeous dresses – all winking at me and urging me to pick them! Jenna was a total star, magically appearing when I needed help or reassurance (‘If you like it, then why not give it a try?’), then blending seamlessly into the background whenever I needed a little time to process all the pretty. Soon my arms were filled with dresses and I was heading to the fitting rooms, with butterflies fluttering excitedly in my stomach. Just like a real bride! It was at around this point that Alie and I began to scheme up excuses to get remarried. You know, to the same husbands and everything but with these dresses.
ALIE: The undressing bit was a lot easier than I expected and not only that but super discreet as I was given a lovely basque and a fetching underskirt to don, thus pulling in the right bits and keeping my modesty much more intact than I’d expected. Who knew that before even trying one of the dresses on I’d feel more confident.
As I tried on dress number 1 I think I fell in love a little (in fact I did text my husband to suggest a vow renewal. His reply? “Eh?”). As Christina and I stepped out of our side-by-side changing rooms, we both squealed. As an aside, at this point I should say the changing room area is fantastic. The whole back of the shop is dedicated to this and there is so much space and lots of mirrors. It’s also nice to know it’s right at the back so no chance of having the curtain yanked open by an over-zealous sales assistant to reveal you to the general public.
As we squealed and oohed and aahed, it was starting to feel a lot real. Was one of us actually going to get married again? Christina looked stunning in a gorgeous Jenny Packham gown – like it was made for her. Beautiful. Clare and Jenna then went into creative stylist mode and adorned us with just the right amount of sparkle and veilage, then filled us in on the options for customisations and alterations (the store has an in-house team of seamstresses). We looked the part and more than that were starting to feel the part…
We tried on another couple of dresses (more squealing) and then were asked to pick the one we loved most. At this point it was clear for both of us and so off we trotted to re-dress in the gowns that we were beginning to feel strangely attracted to.
CHRISTINA: Alie looked incredible in her White by Vera Wang gown – it was so “the one”. When we were told the price, we were both shocked (in a good way!) – as in three figures and therefore seriously affordable! Alie looked a little sad at the prospect of taking off this dress, and so began my rationalising – aka reasons why she should buy it. She could wear it to work! She wouldn’t feel too overdressed or weird, because I’d be sitting beside her in my Jenny Packham after all. This dress made me walk differently – I positively glided out of the cubicle and started dancing around the fitting room. It was such a keeper! However, after seeing Alie trying to wield a camera in all that tulle, even I had to sadly agree that it wasn’t quite as practical as skinny jeans and a tee. And so it was that, despite a strong desire to impulse buy my halterneck dress and four inch heels (if they’d have been any other colour they’d have been mine faster than you can say Mastercard), I took one last, very long, look in the mirror…
ALIE: Sadly when all the fun was had we had to say goodbye to Clare, Jenna, Vera and Jenny (girls we could have hung out and in all day!). We had such a ball (quite literally) but I think what surprised us most at the end was how utterly exhausted we were. Brides-to-be this dress trying on malarky is tiring work. We say go prepared. Don’t take too many people with you initially (maybe just Mum or your best girl), don’t book too many appointments in one day and whatever you do make sure you have a wonderfully chilled evening planned afterwards. Above all else, remember that you should enjoy wedding dress shopping. Say no to manhandling, over-exposure and body assumptions and say yes to personal stylists who come with a good sense of humour!
Head over heels? To book your appointment with the wonderful David’s Bridal team fill in your details here or call 0141 885 2121. And then be sure to send us your wedding photos, because we absolutely cannot wait to see these divine dresses on a real life bride. So exciting!
So, dress shopping. Can we do it again – pretty please?! Alie & Christina x
This is a sponsored post, written by We Fell In Love on behalf of David’s Bridal.
Images copyright of We Fell In Love