Undercover Bride: The Wedding Dress Boutique

So Roo and I came up with a new blog series idea…she’s going undercover. Many wedding blogs who review the places they visit only write about the good stuff – the glittering service, the elegant decor and the impeccable attention to detail…but you know we’re not like other wedding blogs. Sure, when the service is good we’ll be telling you about it, but similarly when it’s shocking, we ain’t holding back!

And judging by Roo’s experience on her first assignment it’s going to be a very interesting series indeed!

This post was originally intended to be my Bridesmaids post for a multitude of reasons – mainly, because my SILI (Sister-in-Law-Ish) Louise had concocted what we all thought would be a funny, silly, lovely day together, doing the one thing we weren’t expecting to do as a bridal unit: visit a wedding dress vendor and ogle as I tried on all manner of meringues and a plethora of puffballs. We all presumed we’d forego the opportunity because I didn’t want to buy my wedding dress from a shop; I wanted my mum to make it for me. With that in mind, the cogs in Louise’s mind started whirring and she suggested that we go ahead and do it anyway – what better excuse to get together and act up a little before we get serious?

Lamb and I had planned a very short visit up north to finalise our venue arrangements, so Louise offered to book us in somewhere fancy where we’d be treated like royalty, and I’d feel like the (rock n roll) princess that us brides-to-be are supposed to when finding our dream dress. Neither of these things happened, and so here we are.

Unfortunately for the vendor we visited, I can smell a ring-bearing rat a mile off, especially since I have tried wedding dresses on before (with glittering service), and six years of on-off retail experience have taught me a thing or two about how to treat a customer, potential or otherwise. My experience in this bridal shop made me feel undervalued and altogether a nuisance – who you gonna call? My fairy weddingmother, of course. When I told Kat, she was as dumbfounded as I was. My dismay and her brainpower concocted this new series of posts, in which we hope to educate, reassure, and warn you (where appropriate). This is not a witch-hunt, nor is it a promotional feature. I’m simply a budding bride, just like you, and I don’t want you or I to be left jilted or jaded by the experience.  This should be one time in our life when we feel particularly invincible, so this is purely an educational exercise in marital mystery shopping. Without further ado, I present to you: Undercover Bride.

NB: As I had originally envisioned that I would write this experience up as a fond memory shared with most of my bridal party, I had asked my sister Jo to bring her camera along. When we arrived at the bridal shop, Jo asked the vendor whether we were able to take photographs, and we were told no. Jo took all the photos that appear in this post covertly, and I want to make readers aware that omitting any image of the vendor’s face in these published shots is a deliberate decision, as Kat and I agreed that it would be unprofessional to make her identity known. Anyway, on with the show!

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As we walked through the door of the shop, our vendor exclaimed, “I wasn’t expecting so many of you!” – this might have been a throwaway comment, but I was instantly unsettled by it. In all, there were only 7 of us; I could have taken it a little to heart, but to my ears she made it sound as if the number of us was a problem for her. She called out, “who’s the bride?” and I raised my hand, introducing myself. Instead of offering her name, she just asked me what kind of dress I wanted. After telling her I wasn’t sure (not a lie) I took to the rails with Rea and Louise. I think we half-expected for a barrage of monstrosities, but I was surprised to find a few little gems that ticked my proverbial boxes – admittedly, they weren’t really to my tastes, but this place