Wedding in Edinburgh


Monday, November 19, 2007

The Night Before the Wedding

On Friday Kirsteen and I checked into the Balmoral Hotel. We had a lovely room on the 6th floor with big windows, a little turret and fantastic views over the bridges and Arthur's seat.

Here's the view from one of the windows in our room:

View from our room in the Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh

Shortly after checking in we took a mad half hour dash to Berketex, picked up my wedding dress, Kirsteen & Jenny's bridesmaid dresses and walked back along Princes Street with the huge heavy bags.

Here is the front and back of my wedding dress:

Front of Wedding Dress

Back of Wedding Dress
And Kirsteen & Jenny's bridesmaid dresses:

Bridesmaid's Dresses

We both paid a little visit to the Balmoral's Spa for a french pedicure which was very nice and chilled out in their lovely relaxation room with candles, music and fruit juices - it's a shame I can't have that room the morning of the wedding!

In the evening we had a glass or two of Cava then wondered along to Le Sept for a quick bite to eat. I managed to restrain myself and didn't have my usual (French Onion Soup, Duck with Port and Berry Sauce followed by chocolate torte) - i settled instead for haddock crepes and a salad - better for the wedding dress tomorrow.

After dinner Michelle and Ailsa came round and we had a few more cavas (but not too many more for me as I didn't fancy being the hungover bride). Amazingly I wasn't feeling too nervous yet, but after my bedtime bath I found it a bit harder to get to sleep!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Final Wedding Dress Fitting

On Thursday I had another of these days where I was rushing around like a headless chicken. I worked all morning, went to a personal training session at the gym at lunch time, took the car into town and down to Armchair theatre in Abbeyhill to hand in my final cheque for the payment of the wedding DVD along with a CD with some music on it for them to use, grabbed a sandwich for lunch, went up the town, met my Mum for a quick coffee in the Dome, picked up my engagement ring from Lime Blue (looks very sparkly now after its polish!), tried to find some nice wedding stockings/holdups in Debenhams with no success, then went to Berketex and met Jenny and Kirsteen for our dress fittings.

I tried the dress on again and everything still fits and I still like it, thank goodness. Jenny was also having her final fitting and Kirsteen her first fitting and they both looked lovely in their dresses.

I spent a good amount of time prancing around in my dress and felt quite happy in it. Hopefully on the day with the hair and the makeup all done I will look the part!

If you are budgeting for your wedding remember to add in the cost of dress alterations. I forgot about this and have no idea what the average price is, but to give you an idea for your budgeting, the alterations to my wedding dress (hem taken up + something done to the bustle) was 60. The alterations to the bridesmaid's dresses were also 60 each (hem taken up and dresses taken in a bit). This was through an independent fitter who comes into Berketex. My sister Karen, on the other hand lives in Dublin and the same sort of alterations to her dress are costing around 50 Euro.

It is Saturday today and it is exactly a week to go until the wedding. My skin looks good today without a blemish in sight, so I am hoping that it will be like that on the big day! I am also starting to feel a little nervous as well. Hopefully everything will go smoothly.

I have pretty much finished all my wedding planning now. Last night I made the wedding favours for the ladies at the wedding - little cream boxes tied with burgandy satin ribbon, with really nice chocolates inside. So nice in fact, that I ate about 5 of them while I was doing it, so I am off the the gym now to do a good hard workout (for the 5th time this week!).

My makeup crisis has also been resolved. My personal trainer Carole is also a makeup artist and she is going to come to the hotel on Saturday to do my makeup. I have a trial with her on Sunday, so hopefully that one will go much better than the previous one :-)

I am going over to Kirsteen's tonight to meet up with her and my other friends Michelle and Ailsa for a few glasses of cava, then the plan is to work hard all weekend on my business and take the rest of the week off, relaxing and having the occassional beauty treatment!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

My First Wedding Dress Fitting

Last Thursday I had my first wedding dress fitting at Berketex Bride. Not really good timing on my part, given that I had just had a weekend of drinking and unhealthy eating in Barcelona!

What usually happens at a first fitting is that you will try on the dress that you ordered and the dress fitter will check to see how well it fits you. She will then pin everything into place and then go away and make the alterations to the dress. The purpose of a second fitting, which is usually one or two weeks before the wedding is to have a final check that the altered dress fits you perfectly and again and to check if any further alterations are required.

When you go to your fitting you need to wear the underwear that you have bought for the wedding day and the shoes that you will be wearing on the day.

It was amazing to see and try on my dress as I had only ever tried on the sample dresses which tend to faid with age and don't look as good. My dress looked much brighter than the sample dresses and it was lovely to try on a dress that nobody else had tried on before me. I would love to describe the dress in great detail, but in the usual tradition I am keeping this a secret from the groom, so I am not going to spill the beans! I was pretty happy with it and since I had lost about 12 pounds or so since February it looked a little better than it did the last time I was in.

My dress fitted me almost perfectly and I only need the hem taken up a little bit. The upper part of the dress is a corset style with ties that pull you in, so this allows a bit of leeway if I am too lose a little weight or put a little on (hopefully not the latter).

Overall I was very happy and the staff in the shop were really nice and let me take me time, wandering about in the dress to make sure that it was just right.

I have my final fitting booked for the 18th October, just over a week before the wedding so hopefully I manage not to eat too many cakes between now and then!

For anyone who is interested in the cost of alterations, I really have no idea, but it is costing me 60 for alterations to my wedding dress, which includes the hem being taken up and something done with the back of the dress so that it can be bustled up in the evening.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Wedding Dress has arrived

I just received a letter from Berketex to let me know that my wedding dress has now arrived!

This then caused me to have a dream about going for the fitting only to discover that the dress was black, rather than white - argh!! I'm not quite sure what my subconscious was trying to tell me, but I'm pretty sure they don't do black wedding dresses - at least not in Berketex.

Luckily I have been on a bit of a fitness drive, so I have lost enough inches everywhere and I am now smaller than the dress (being bigger than the dress is not an option as they can only alter it in the way). I still want to lose at least another 7 pounds before the end of September, but I seem to be on a bit of a weight loss plateau at the moment despite going to the gym four or five times a week.

Anyway, to test out the theory that writing down your goals, makes them more likely to happen, I have written down on a postit note -

"I will lose 7 pounds by the 27th September"

And I am writing it here again for extra effect :-)

The 27th September happens to be my first fitting for the wedding dress. I need to go in to Berketex with my bridal underwear, shoes and get measured in the dress. They will then pin the dress into place and I will have a final fitting a week or two before the big day.

More on wedding dress fittings later...

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Getting Fitted for your Wedding Dress

It's time for a bit of a rant today. Why on earth do wedding dress designers and bridesmaid dress designers have such a different sizing system from High Street shops?

I'm sure if you have tried on some wedding dresses already or been fitted, you will know exactly what I am talking about...

Here is an example - I am a UK size 14 normally (US 10). I was in the wedding dress shop for my fitting, in my size 14 jeans (which were actually a wee bit loose on me), getting measured up for my dress.

Basically this means that you are measured on your hips, upper hips, waist, under bust and bust. You are then recommended the size from the designer's sizing chart according to your measurements. If one of your measurements happens to be half an inch above a certain size, then you are recommended the size above. This is fair enough, as they can take dresses in, but can't take them out, so you need to be sure that you end up with a dress that either fits you perfectly or is too big.

So, I was measured up for my dress and recommended, guess what? A size 18!! All my measurements were a 16, which is equivalent to a 14 in the high street, apart from one measurement which was slightly over, so I had to be recommended an 18.

I ended up ordering a 16 because a) I am planning to lose at least stone before the wedding, b) The size 14 sample dress on the shop was half an inch away from fitting me and c) Most of my measurements were a 16 anyway.

My point is, why on earth do wedding dress designers have such a bizarre sizing system? Most girls would love to come into a shop to be fitted and told, well actually we need to order you a size 12 (or whatever size is smaller than your current size).

I didn't particularly care too much, as the main thing is how you look, but the lady in the shop was telling me that she has had girls who were in tears after being measured - some who have returned a few weeks later, a stone lighter after a crash diet!

On Saturday my bridesmaids were all fitted for their dresses and again, they had to order dresses that were much bigger sizes than they normally wear. They are all size 12 and 14, but had to order size 16 dresses.

Anyway if you are in this situation yourself, don't feel bad as it happens to us all. I was told that nearly all bridal dress designers have a sizing system that is one size higher than the highstreet (e.g. size 12 = size 14 bridal). The most important thing is that the dress fits you on the day and you need to be sure that you don't order a dress that is too small, as if this happens there is nothing that can be done. I was told that dresses can be taken in a size and a half or more, so this means that you can go down from a 16 to a 12/14 or an 18 to a 14/16.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I have chosen my Wedding Dress

On Saturday, after visiting Butterflies and Pronuptia I made a quick return visit to Berketex on Frederick Street with my Mum, my sister Karen, Kirsteen and Jenny and tried on my favourite dress one more time.

I think it is important to try on a dress a few times before you decide to buy it. This was my fourth time trying on this dress and as soon as I put it on I knew that this was definitely my favourite out of the 30 or so dresses that I have tried on so far. When I stepped out into the shop with it on everyone thought it was lovely and (I think) everyone agreed it was the nicest dress.

I'm not going to describe it, as I want to make sure that it is a surprise for Stuart, but I will say that loved the material of the dress, the flattering cut, the detail on the dress and the way it looked when I added all the accesories such as the veil and tiara.

I was originally planning to wait a month or so before getting fitted for the dress - to allow me to lose a few pounds, but for two reasons I decided to get the dress on the day. One reason was that there was an offer on for that week only. If you bought a dress over 800 you could choose a tiara or a veil up to the value of 100 for free. The other reason is that designers can discontinue dresses whenever they like with no warning, so there is always the risk of not being able to order your favourite dress after all.

The dress cost 949, which was slightly over my budget of 900, but getting a free tiara or veil kind of cancelled that out.

Annoyingly Berketex do not take credit cards and they need a 50% deposit to secure the dress. They did realise that not everyone can instantly write a check for 500 or so, so a 100 cash deposit secured the dress as long as I followed it up with a check in the post. I am trying to put as much of the wedding things as possible on my credit card, so I can take advantage of the free airmiles and hopefully get us a free flight or two out of all the wedding purchases. Berketex either take a 50% deposit when ordering the dress then the other 50% when it arrives, or they have an interest free payment plan.

Once you have ordered the dress it comes in around 6 weeks before your wedding and you get a fitting at that point so they can take the dress in if necessary. I'll talk a bit about the joys of getting measured in my next post.

For now, I am pretty happy though - I have booked the wedding venue, the band, the photographer, the videographer, flights for the honeymoon and now the wedding dress. I also managed to get a bargain half price pair of shoes while buying my dress - even better :-)


Friday, February 23, 2007

Pronuptia and Butterflies, Edinburgh

For the third Saturday in a row I had another day of wedding dress shopping. Although I am enjoying trying on all these lovely dresses, I hoped that this would be the last day of trailing round the bridal salons in Edinburgh :-)

First stop was Pronuptia, 13 Antigua St, Edinburgh. This bridal salon is near to the top of Leith Walk and is a brand new salon. Outside it looks like it is going to be a really small shop, but it's a bit of a tardis and opens out into quite a large shop inside. The one difference between this shop and the others was that all the dresses were in see-through plastic dress holder/bags. The good thing about this was that the dresses were very clean and new looking, but the bad thing was that it was very difficult to choose dresses to try on because you had to take them out the bag to really see them properly. I tried on a red dress in this shop for the first time, which was lovely, but not what I want to wear for my wedding. After trying on 5 dresses I found one that I really liked, but it wasn't as nice as the one I have my eye on in Berketex. The assistant that helped me only worked there on a Saturday, but she was very nice and helpful. We also tried on a selection of bridesmaid dresses in this shop and they had a good selection in lots of colours and styles for around the 200 mark. Overall a good shops, with a decent selection of wedding dresses for reasonable prices, but I didn't find my dream dress.

Next we went to Butterflies which is at 17 West Port, just near to the Grassmarket. This shop was very small but had a large selection of dresses, including lots of bridesmaid dresses and party/prom style dresses. Although I had an appointment, the shop was packed full of people. I suspect that you only need an appointment for bridalwear. I felt very rushed in this shop compared to the others. When a dress didn't fit me, the assistant didn't bother doing it up completely, she would just hold the back of the dress. In other shops the assistants all took time to put in a panel and use pins so that you could see the dress properly. There also wasn't a lot of space to wander about in the shop so it was harder to get a good idea of whether or not you liked it. I found one dress that was particularly nice, but I didn't like it as much as my favourite so far! One thing that I did notice about this shop was that the wedding dress prices seemed very reasonable. There were a lot of dresses around the 600-700 price range.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Berketex Bride and Eleganza Sposa Edinburgh

Last Saturday I visited two more Edinburgh bridal shops - Berketex Bride in Frederick Street and Eleganza Sposa in Waterloo place.

The first stop was Eleganza Sposa, which was a lovely big bright shop with a large selection of dresses. The dresses were slightly more expensive than the other shops that I have been to so far e.g. lots of dresses in the 1000-2000 range, but there were still plenty of dresses under 1000 and lots of different styles.

When we arrived we were offered tea or coffee and I had to fill in a form with some information and what my budget was. We then picked around 6 dresses for me to try on. Unlike the previous two shops, this shop had all the pricetags visible on all the dresses, which I think is good as I don't see the point of risking falling in love with a dress that is twice my budget!

The shop had nice big changing rooms, and comfy seats for the bridesmaids and mums to sit on. I also thought the assistant that helped me into the dresses was very friendly and helpful.

As in the previous two shops, I found two dresses that I liked and had them written down on a piece of paper so I could come back later.

The next stop was Berketex bride in Frederick Street. The salon here wasn't as nice as Kavelle or Eleganza, but it was spacious and there was a good selection of dresses.

The assistant Anne was extremely helpful and suggested that my Mum and Kirsteen picked a dress that they would like me to try on. We picked out around 5 dresses and again, I tried them on one by one. The dress that Kirsteen chose was horrible (at least on me it was) - a creamy yellow colour and straight up and down. I made a 10 second appearence in it for her benefit only.

The one my Mum picked was actually one of my favourites. It had a very flattering cut and made me look like I had a smaller waist and bigger bust than I do, which was great!

For the fourth time I liked two dresses and yet again got them written down. Anne, the assistant was very good about encouraging me to try on the dresses that I liked for a second time. I also tried them both on with a hooped underskirt which gave the dress more shape and made me feel like I was floating along, rather than standing on the dress.

Today (Friday) I went back to both Eleganza Sposa and Berketex and tried on the four favourites and I am pleased to say that I have narrowed it down to one dress - hooray!

Berketex have an offer on until tomorrow - you get a 100 towards a veil or tiara if you spend over 800 on a dress. Anne was nice enough to squeeze an extra appointment in for me on Saturday (tomorrow), after the time that she normally finished, so I can come back after my other appointments that day and try on the dress again with all my bridesmaids there to give me an opinion this time. This also means that if this is the favourite dress I can take advantage of the offer.

So I'll be back with an update after tomorrow, hopefully the final day of frantic wedding dress shopping. It is so difficult to choose a favourite dress out of more than twenty dresses and really easy to end a day of shopping feeling extremely confused!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Trying on Wedding Dresses for the first time

Yesterday was my first day of trying on wedding dresses. Part of me was looking forward to this experience, but the other part of me was feeling quite nervous - what if I look hideous in all the dresses!!. I had two appointments in Edinburgh - one with Kavelle on Gorgie Road and the other with Thistledown on Haymarket Terrace.

I met Kirsteen, one of my bridesmaids for a quick lunch at All Bar One and decided we may as well wash it down with a bottle of wine. This also helped to wash away any fear I had of trying on the dresses.

My first appointment was at 2pm at Kavelle, 302-306 Gorgie Road. The shop was pretty big with a huge selection of gowns and Kirsteen and I spent a while looking at them and picking out the ones I wanted to try on. Most of the ones I chose were A-Line style dresses, but Kirsteen also insisted that I should try on the big Sugar Plum Fairy style dress as well. I was worried about how I would look in the dresses, but I needn't have - the dresses were beautiful and very flattering - emphasising your waist and bust and pulling you in in all the right places. I tried on about 5 dresses during my 1 hour appointment.

Kavelle is a family business run by a mother and her daughters and they were really friendly and helpful, taking time to help you into the dresses and bringing shoes, tiaras and veils for you to try on with the dresses and suggesting similar dresses that might suit you. Apart from the "Sugar Plum Fairy" dress I can't say that there was any dress that I tried on and didn't like - they were all so nice. I got them to write down the 2 that I liked the best and I will come back again once I have been to all my appointments

After that we went down to Thistledown, 28 Haymarket Terrace, where I met my mum, who couldn't make it to my first appointment as she had had a lunch arranged for some time. Thistledown is smaller than Kavelle, but still has a good selection of dresses to try on. In Kavelle, most of the dresses had fitted me, but in this shop most of the dresses I chose to try on were too small apart from one of the ones I tried on. Since most shops only stock one size of each dress I think it is quite common that you will either be trying on a dress that is too big and they will have to use pins to pull it in, or the dress will be too small and they will put panels in the back. You can still get a good idea of what the dress will look like, even if it is too small or too big, but you feel a big difference when you actually do try on a dress that really fits. Again, I got them to write down the styles and prices of the 2 dresses that I liked the best.

I have no idea how I am going to manage to pick a dress at the end of this, but at least I know that there are a few that I like and they are within my price range, so I felt pretty happy at the end of the day.

A tip for wedding dress shopping is to wear a nice white bra and pants as you spend some time standing in your bra and pants in the changing room while the assistant helps you into the dress - so not a good time for wearing tatty old grey knickers!


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Buying a Wedding Dress in Edinburgh

Well, it's now January and less than ten months until the big day, so it's time to start thinking about choosing a wedding dress. On one hand I am looking forward to this - trying on lots of expensive dresses has to be good fun, right? On the other hand I find the thought a little nerve wracking. I am a bit heavier than I'd like to be, especially after the festivities of Christmas and New Year and the thought of standing there in front of everyone in my bra and knickers as I try on dresses under the scrutinisation of everyone fills me with dread. I hear that it's not like being in a "normal" shop, where you go into the changing room, try something on, decide it looks awful and don't bother coming out to show anyone. There is no place to hide...

I have made my first appointment for Saturday 3rd February, so at least that gives me 3 more weeks to ramp up my fitness routine and lose a few more pounds :-)

I'll make another post to this blog once I have been for my appointment, but until then here is a list of some of the wedding dress shops in Edinburgh:

A lot of the shops have websites (links above) so you can have a browse through the dresses before you go and get an idea of what you like. I'm probably going to try and visit most of these shops, with the exception of Caroline Castigliano (gowns start at 1000+ so too expensive) and Emma Roy, as I have been told by at least 5 different people that the service is terrible there.

Anyway, I am off to browse though some dresses!


Wedding In Edinburgh