What Sophie Did….Planned a Dress Hunt!

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Hi peeps, Adam here… Please give a massively super warm bride-to-be welcome to Sophie, the second lovely lady to write for RMW from our brand new real brides class of 2013/14…

Sophie: Wow, first post! This is slightly surreal but very exciting. Thanks for having me everyone!
Where to begin? Well, we have officially passed the one-year-to-go mark and so far I think we’re in pretty good shape. When we started planning the wedding there were a few priorities which stood out:

1. A beautiful venue in the heart of the Tuscan countryside (more on this to come).
2. Delicious local food and drink.
3. Gorgeous white, ‘poufy’ flowers (a word which, as my dear friend Nicola put it, is too seldom used!)
4. timeless, to-die-for photography.

Number 1 is ticked off (whoop!).

Numbers 2 & 3 will hopefully be ticked off when we head out to Italy in June, and number 4 is most definitely ticked off, which is where I must start as this is also where the wedding planning started.

My Name Is Sophie, And I’m A Wedding Addict

I have a confession: My name is Sophie, and I’m a wedding addict. Ok, so not much of a confession to anyone who knows me and knows that I’ve had a wedding file under my bed since I was 7 (no joke) but a tad embarrassing that at my age I still have that file, and have been replenishing it regularly over the last 20 years. But there you go, it’s out there now. You know those girls who get engaged and say that they’ve never really thought about how they want their wedding day to be? Yep, I’m nowhere even close to being that cool. I’d love to be, but I’m just not.

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When I was a little girl my weekend treat wasn’t a My Little Pony magazine, or Shout magazine, it was a wedding magazine; something which my parents found very odd. But I used to love nothing more than cutting out those pictures of brides and sticking them in a picture book. I’d spend hours planning mine and my friends’ perfect weddings. Thinking back on it, I had some very patient friends. I think Freud would tell me I had delusions of one day getting my parents married off. Apparently my Mum is just always too busy…I’ll get my way on this one day.

Luckily, Simon found this all strangely endearing rather than bunny-boiler-psycho, and I’ve actually never been in a huge rush to get married. Honest. I just knew that one day, when it happened, I would really enjoy the planning process.

Dominique Bader Wedding Photography

Times have of course moved on, and the world of blogs meant that I no longer needed to wait a whole month to buy new editions of magazines (not that it really stopped me….). I could now get my fix online daily, and I found that there was no better place than on photographers’ own blogs. RMW soon led me to the blog of one particular photographer who immediately grabbed my attention. I very quickly fell in love with the work of Dominique Bader. She is just amazing. Plus, she now has possibly the cutest baby girl I have ever seen (seriously, go and check out the photos of Baby Ava on Dominique’s blog. Your heart will melt!), making her blog even more irresistible. Dominique was the very first thing I booked as soon as we got engaged – before we even had a date! She was exactly the style that Simon and I wanted. Relaxed (herding of guests and hundreds of overly posed shots – no thank you) and somehow she just catches moments perfectly. I’m so excited that she will be there to shoot our wedding. We feel very luckily to have her.

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The Super Speedy Dress Hunt

Aside from helping me get my wedding fix on a daily basis, the internet, I am finding, can be quite useful for other things too; particularly when you are planning a wedding on a different continent. People often tell us that we must be mad for trying to do this from so far away whilst we’re both so busy with work. Something which I’m sure the other international Real Brides will commiserate with. But the honest answer is… it’s actually not too hard. Yet! A big fat caveat of a yet! We were lucky that we managed to squeeze in one quick trip to Italy before the big Texas move, when we booked our venue. But ever since then we have done a lot via email, and even found our entertainment on YouTube (although this is a bit scary – more on this on another day). But the one thing no amount of internet searching is going to let me conclude on is the dress. This is something I have to do in person.

And so, during a super speedy trip home to London in June I have booked appointments for the big dress hunt (when I say big I refer to the hunt, not the dress. Don’t panic Simon, I promise no meringues). I have a number of designers in mind but ultimately the booking process became, dare I say it, a game of efficiency. It was about covering off as many of my favourite designers in as few boutiques as possible. This was a challenge. There were spreadsheets and pins in maps involved. And so I’ve whittled it down to 4 stores in Central London – Mirror Mirror, Angelica Bridal, Morgan Davies and Pronovias, and also Ellie Sanderson in Beaconsfield – 1 more for luck.

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Now I know what you’re thinking, surely that is enough appointments to find a dress. The challenge is that these are all being squeezed very tightly into 2 days. This is likely to be a tad overwhelming! Have any other ladies visited these stores or have any top tips for my visit? I’m really hoping that I can find a dress during those days; otherwise I will have to find one in Houston which means going on my own. This would be kind of sad given that during the London trip I will have the dream team of my mum, Simon’s mum and my sister on hand for opinions. Fingers crossed!

So this then brings me to one of the biggest challenges of planning this wedding from Houston – dress fittings. I need some advice on this one please ladies. Has anyone else been in this predicament of buying a dress in one country but needing to be fitted in another? Now the obvious answer is to try to fall in love with a dress that I can buy in the US, but what if I fall in love with a Suzanne Neville who you currently can’t buy in Houston?? Believe me, I’ve looked! This means I would have to buy it in London, have it shipped to Houston and then find a seamstress here who can fit me. Tricky, very tricky.

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Anyway, enough from me for now. Next time, the venue and stationery that dreams are made of. To quote our dear Charlotte – ‘I die’! And of course I need to introduce you to the girls. In the meantime, here’s a sneaky peek of our little slice of heaven.

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Love,

Sophie.

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.
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