As Pronovias have just featured my wedding dress on their blog (yeah I’m pretty damn proud about that) I thought it was nigh on time that I blogged about my other wedding dress. Because let me tell you now, I couldn’t have coped with the size of this beautiful monster all night…
I knew I wanted a pretty damn big dress, so it was always likely that I’d want/need a second dress to change into for the evening fun if there was actually going to be any fun in my evening.
I asked around a lot though and the nearly unanimous response was that buying a second dress was pointless because I’d “never possibly want to get changed”.
Well let me tell you something, I did want to get changed. Desperately.
As I wrote about in my original wedding dress post, the 10.5lb beast that was my Spanish princess dress got exceptionally uncomfortable very quickly. I felt amazing in the morning and during the church service and I lasted fine through the speeches and most of the wedding breakfast, but then I suddenly had to get it off, like NOW. It was a very urgent need to get out of it and it resulted in me, Katie and Heather rushing out between the main course and dessert in fits of laughter to tear it off. They could not have unbuttoned me faster (to be fair I was barking at them pretty manically) and I’m sure they remember my cuddly nakedness falling out of the dress excitedly with much fondness. It was a special time. I gave myself two minutes to proudly wallow in my bra and knickers before remembering I had 82 people downstairs who were probably waiting for me to return so they could start their sticky toffee pudding.
If I hadn’t had that second dress on standby I literally don’t know what I would have done. Of course, it may have been because I knew that there was an alternative dress that I gave up on the ‘real dress’ so quickly, but I truly was uncomfortable and part of me thinks there would have come a point in the evening either way where I’d have had to go back to my room and grab my jeans and ‘sleepy time’ United shirt. Granted, my wedding dress was particularly impractical and most people wouldn’t opt for a cathedral length train in the first place, but I am SO relieved that I had a second dress.
And I should probably tell you about the second dress!
I knew I didn’t want to spend more than £500 on a second dress and I assumed early on in my wedmin planning that the second dress would be white. I mainly looked at 50s style tea length designs as these would be perfect for dancing (the main requirement of this magical second dress) but I struggled to find any dresses that I could actually try on (i.e not online/from China) that didn’t look really cheap. £500 is a huge amount to spend on a dress in normal circumstances so I couldn’t see why I was being faced with fabric quality and craftsmanship that looked like it had fallen out of Jane Norman. The wedding dress world is a funny one and my cynical side reckons they purposely make the cheaper dresses look cheap so that the £1500 ‘average’ price tag seems fair. Gah. That’s another rant for another time. But to cut a long story short, the cheap dresses looked crap and I knew I wouldn’t want to take off the Pronovias gown of dreams in favour of one.
I stopped looking at wedding dresses and, quelle surprise, the hunt became 100 times easier and infinitely more fun.
I looked at all sorts of gowns across all sorts of price points and had a LOT of fun dressing up in lots of different styles. Because I’d moved away from bridal, every shop was an opportunity. Meetings on the Kings Road? Don’t mind me while I nip into every boutique ever to try on silly sequin gowns that were more ‘High Class Escort’ than ‘Hello? Will You Marry Me?’. I even managed to drag ST along to a mammoth trying on session at House of Fraser. I hated the fact I couldn’t get his opinion on my actual wedding dress, so to have his input for the 2nd dress made it a lot easier.
Whilst we were in House of Fraser I fell in love with a Phase Eight dress and thought the hunt was over. Sadly, I quickly learnt that said perfect dress was the full length version of the dress MY MUM HAD ALREADY BOUGHT FOR HERSELF so I couldn’t get away with buying it. (For the record: I was happy for us to be in the same dress, she didn’t want to share the ‘lady in red’ limelight). I found a similar Phase Eight dress though and whilst they didn’t have my size to try on, I knew it could be ‘the one’.
Katie and I then had a ridiculous evening on Oxford Street where we literally went to ten different Phase Eight stockists, including Phase Eight themselves, to try and track down this sodding dress in my size. I think I went down a clothes size just looking for the damn thing.
Found it we did though and I was very happy with it. It ticked lots of boxes: perfect length for my height with flats (i.e no alterations needed), comfy (SO COMFY), very much wearable again, under budget, worked with the underwear I’d be wearing (the idea of buying another ‘special bra’ filled me with dread) and….crucially….there was a decent returns policy.
On the off-chance that I didn’t want to get changed, I wanted to be able to return my second dress so I hadn’t spent £££ for nothing. I kept the labels on it and all the receipts and made sure I bought it from somewhere where returns are fuss-free. (I got it online from House of Fraser in the end but I was hoping to get it from John Lewis for ultimate returns ease).
My dress was from Phase Eight’s ‘Collection 8’ range and is called the Rita Tulle Full Length Dress.
It was £295 which I thought was very fair and it’s definitely something I will wear again and again. (I think I’m overestimating how often I’m at fancy events, but I will wear it again!).
Knowing that Phase Eight is such a popular brand for wedding guest outfits, part of me worried slightly about wearing a Phase Eight dress. But I really don’t think many people would wear a dress like this as a guest, especially to an Autumn wedding, so I wasn’t too paranoid about someone wearing the same thing.
Oh wait, except for the fact my mum and I were BASICALLY TWINS.
Sadly I don’t have many professional pics in the 2nd dress that I can share (I am lovingly wrapped around my new husband in nearly all of them) but Katie did a sterling job of taking REAL PHOTOS which are all in a REAL ALBUM and like some sort of nineties past person I have tried to snap some pics of said pics so you can get a vague idea. I appreciate the quality is hilariously bad. Never mind eh? It’s ‘retro’.
I really, really wouldn’t have been able to join in with all the dancing and tomfoolery had I stayed in my original dress. You see how hammered I am in that last pic above? That would NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. I wouldn’t have been able to expand enough to get the drinks down me, for a start.
I am so glad I had this second dress on standby and if you’re wearing an impractical dress and considering buying a second one then all I can say is….GO FOR IT! You’ll probably find it easier to find a second dress (and considerably cheaper) if you look at non-bridal options and that way you get a dress you can wear again and be like “hell yeah, this was my party party wedding dress!”.
I’d recommend keeping tags and receipts if you think there’s a chance you won’t wear it so you don’t waste your money, but the main thing to note is that there’s no shame in getting changed. Our photographer left after the first dance anyway, so it wasn’t like there were fancy pics being taken of me and I was all Betty Casual.
And the pics that were taken weren’t going to be flattering by this point either way…
You wanna be comfy and you wanna enjoy it.
SO GET A SECOND DRESS*.
*If your first dress is silly.
You can read the rest of my wedding posts here.