And more precisely, your wedding.
As you know, never had the whole 'dream wedding' in my head so I went in without any set ideas. Apart from the shoes. I found the shoes last year. Kind of.
We've set the date (I think) and venue (kinda) and I've picked the dress (well its between two, will make the final choice on Tuesday).
I swear I am a very organised person really!
I asked my fantastic Maid of Honour to book a couple of appointments at Bridal Salons and she made superb choices with Harrods (Pronovias) and Browns Bridal.
They are two very different places to look for Bridal gowns so it was great to see such a wide selection in a day.
Harrods first. Yes Harrods of the horrifically extortionate Al Fayed fame (but the prices of Bridal gowns here shocked me in a good way)
For once in my life, I was on time....but then again I had jetlag on my side. It was a relatively early start which is always great as the streets and shops are never as busy. So into harrods we went and I had an absolute angel attending to me! I'd been a bit wary of the whole gown thing, I'd been told so many stories from people who had bad experiences and I'm happy to report for me, it was nothing but love.
Harrods Bridal is actually a Pronovias and they have the bridal gown thing down to a T. Its a Spanish company which made me love them a little bit more. I'm not sure of the exact meaning of Pronovias but Novia means Bride and Pronuba means Bridesmaid.
They have the Pronovias collection which ranges from £1500-3000. Then Manuel Mota ranges from £2000-5000, Elie Saab and Valentino from £5000+. So whatever your budget, they pretty much have you covered. That was an unexpected surprise.
I was attended to by the wonderful Hajer. She gave us a quick run down of what Pronovias does then she walked me round and recommended I pull out anything that vaguely appealed. Alrighty then. Good advice as I did end up trying on a wider range of dresses than i might have done. I figured I didn't want a huge ballgown/princess dress but you never know....so I tried one on.
You never know but sometimes you do. Not for me. For those that don't know me, I'm not as tall as I look (I'm 5'6" without heels) but I've got a small frame. So there were some dresses that were just really good fun to try on....and I could barely walk out the fitting room in them as they were so damn heavy! But I found one very pretty, vintagey, lace number that I LOVED. And again I was happy to call off the search. (No pics of any dresses I tried on in case I change my mind!)
This is a dress from the 2010 collection. Inspired by Michelle Obama no doubt. There does seem to be a shift in Bridal Salons away from the traditional wedding dress to more interesting options like this dress.
Elie Saab clothes tend to come with a few too many bells and whistles for my liking but I love the grecian inspired draping and megawatt bling on this dress.
A lot of the dresses on the website are very 'dressed up' with capes, veils, and other extra bits. In reality they're more striking and delicate and simple!
One of the things liked about Pronovias is they're very flexible with alterations so if you wanted to, you could quite dramatically alter the skirt shape of a dress you find.
In the UK they also have a salon on Bond Street but the details for Harrods are 0207 893 8433.
They have a Flagship in NY and several stores across America. www.pronovias.com.
Next stop was Browns Bridal.
Wow. Browns Bridal excels in the art of the show-stopping dress. They carry some of the best names in the business with exclusive dresses by Carolina Herrera, Oscar De La Renta, Peter Langner (who trained with Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Lacroix and Dior before setting up on his own), Max Choul, Collette Dinnigan, Carlos Miele, Angel Sanchez, Temperley, and after a little research before my appointment I quickly pegged Monique Lhuillier as my favourite.
We were attended to by Lesley who is clearly a true professional. She emphasised the key point (which can be easy to overlook) that you need to choose a dress that makes the most of your assets. And sadly for me, Monique Lhuillier dresses did nada for me!
She also made a brilliant point about my shoes and pointed out much to my dismay why my choice wasn't suitable (more on that later).
(Top two dresses are Monique Lhuiller and the Bridal Ballgown is by Oscar De La Renta)
I'm pleased to report I did fall head over heels with the most unexpected dress at Browns Bridal! Until I went to Dublin.
I'm beginning to realise the problem for me with all this bridal stuff, is I love it all!!!!
Oh yes, and its not where the normal Browns is, Browns Bride is on Hinde Street, between Selfridges and Marylebone High Street.