I’ve prided myself on being pretty organised so far in our wedding plans, but one thing that I didn’t think I’d have sorted by now is my dress. In fact, I hadn’t even planned on going shopping for it yet. In my head, I thought that my bridesmaids, my mum and I would probably start looking around winter time, but I actually put my deposit down back in June, three appointments in and no mums in sight. What can I say; when you know, you know - you know?
It’s quite the turnaround, as when we first got engaged, I wasn’t sure if I would wear a ‘proper’ wedding dress at all. I was concerned about spending so much money on something I’d wear once, and I think I was on some kind of personal mission to appear super laidback about the ‘superficial’ elements of the wedding, instead of letting myself get excited. In fact, I remember telling a few people that “I probably won’t get mine from an actual dress shop, it probably won’t be a proper wedding dress at all”. I was certain that I’d get my dress from ASOS and set a hilariously small budget, telling Lewis that I was sure that I still wouldn’t even reach that (I don’t think he believed me for a second, thankfully).
I really did try, honestly. I pinned lots of ASOS dresses, but a few weeks in, once I’d gotten into the swing of things, I realised that I wasn’t really excited about any of them. They were pretty, but not as ‘wow’ as I was starting to realise I actually wanted my dress to be. So I started looking at other high-street brands, stepping up the budget, but nothing really set my heart aflutter.
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I realised that none of these dresses were what I really wanted, and I was thinking more about price than anything else. I love fashion, I love dressing up for literally any occasion, so I had to start asking myself why I was trying to sell myself short for my own wedding day and force myself to buy something I didn’t really love - surely that is the real waste of money? And then I remembered that buying online meant no trips to bridal boutiques, no tears and champagne with my bridesmaids… it just started to seem like a compromise too far for me.
So I started from scratch and began scoping out dresses on Instagram - and there it was. Literally, within a week of deciding that I actually did want a ‘proper’ gown, I found the most ‘me’ dress I could have imagined. More beautiful than anything I could have hoped to find, I didn’t know wedding dresses like that even existed. It solved the dilemma instantly - I didn’t even want to look at anything else, I knew nothing else could compare.
Here’s where fate comes in: that dress is stocked in the only bridal boutique I had ever imagined visiting - Olive Jones, here in Edinburgh. I couldn’t have been more excited; I know the owner, Rachel, through work, and she had spoken to me about the boutique over a year ago, before it opened and before we got engaged, and now I finally had a bonafide reason to visit. I had always thought that I’d get my wedding dress from there (except from in the first two months of planning when I was still being obstinate, and ignoring the fact that I’d always wanted a beautiful wedding dress and to go to a gorgeous boutique for the afternoon).
Olive Jones is a boutique for brides who want to feel like themselves on their wedding day, not like they’re playing dress-up. Complete with a roster of cool-girl bridal brands, I knew even before we got engaged that it would be the only place I would want to go, and it turns out, it was the only place I needed to go.
We set an appointment in April, mainly so that I could try on that dress early enough to know that if it wasn’t right, I’d have months and months to find an alternative. But Rachel was never going to let me try on just the one dress without a point of comparison. Before the appointment, she sent through a questionnaire asking about designers I liked, details I was keen on and styles that I felt suited me, so that when I arrived, she already had a clear idea of the look I might go for.
On the day, I tried on every kind of style and lots of beautiful gowns, but it’s true what they say - when you know, you just know. When I saw myself in the mirror in ‘my’ dress, I knew within seconds that it was The One. I was so relieved that it lived up to snaps I’d seen online. It was so clear how much I loved it that Rachel put me back in it at the end of the appointment so I could have more time twirling around in it. I can’t explain that feeling, just that I felt that I looked exactly how I wanted Lewis to see me on our wedding day.
I had another appointment a few weeks later with a bridesmaid who couldn’t make the first one, and when she cried as I came out of the changing room, it was cemented that it was the only dress for me. But Rachel wasn’t pushy at all - in fact, she insisted that I go to other boutiques and try on others, as it was still so early. I did, but the experiences were just night and day, and nothing even came close to ‘my’ dress.
The experience of dress shopping at Olive Jones was actually even better than I’d hoped for. The store only offers exclusive appointments, so you have the shop to yourself and you can bring along as many people as you’d like. It’s light and bright, with beautiful furniture and spacious enough to display each dress properly - plus there’s even a prosecco tap! It’s so clear how much Rachel loves her job and how much she loves every dress, which made the whole experience joyous for me. She’s also the least pushy person and really just wants you to feel comfortable and confident, a lifesaver for a slightly anxious bride-to-be such as myself. I would recommend any bride looking for something a little different to your traditional gown to book an appointment at Olive Jones, I feel totally sure that you’ll love your time there as much as I did.
Despite it being much earlier than planned to have my dress all sorted, I haven’t wobbled on it at all. I can’t picture myself in anything else. It’s the most beautiful dress I could have hoped to find, and whilst it’s completely different to what I had expected I would buy (and just a little over budget, LOL), I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Can’t wait for a year from now, when I can finally show you all what it looks like…!
Follow more of Laura’s fashion choices over on her blog The Style Stories