Three iconic wedding dresses on three gorgeous brides

By Stephanie Maylor

It was love at first sight – you know the kind that makes your heart race and your tummy flip? I know with every fibre of my being that I have found the one, my soulmate, my destiny. But this isn’t a serious case of PDA (‘public display of affection’ for those out of the trendy acronyms loop) for the groom-to-be – I will save those for him – but one of the most important parts of a wedding…the dress.

It’s fair to say I was a little anxious about the dress hunt. For someone who takes a very keen interest in fashion, I didn’t have a definitive style in mind for the Big Day. In fact, I was beginning to think that the somewhat vague idea I had in my head would never materialise. It’s the most important outfit I will ever wear and with that comes an infinite amount of pressure.

But then it happened. I had seen ‘the one’ in a bridal magazine just after we got engaged and a few months later I booked an appointment to try it on at a wedding boutique near my hometown. A few brides-to-be had told me that they had gone for this initial appointment with a clear vision of what they wanted, only to come out with a completely different style. While this nugget of wisdom helped me to see the benefits of an open mind, I couldn’t help but feel a little forlorn that perhaps ‘the one’ and I weren’t meant to be.

As I stepped into the bridal shop, mum in tow, it felt like stepping into a satin and tulle-coated dreamland. I wish I could live amongst the pretty dresses and veils, trying on shoes and glittering jewels…sigh. Anyway, I digress…‘The one’ was the first gown I tried on. My mum cried. I felt ‘bridey’. It was magical. I proceeded to try on four other styles and I became the Goldilocks of weddings…‘This dress is a bit too boned; this one’s just too spangly; this makes my hips look huge!’ Of course, they were all beautiful but once I put ‘the one’ on for a second time (and my mum cried again) I just knew.

According to a few of my bride-mates, I am somewhat of an anomaly simply because I visited one shop, and tried on just five dresses total. But in the spirit of trying to be a low-maintenance bride (the anti-Bridezilla) I didn’t see the point in dragging my teary-eyed mum to a load of other boutiques for the sake of trying on more ‘nice-but-they-don’t-compare’ dresses. And to continue this much-laboured love metaphor, when you know, you know.

I’m afraid I can’t divulge much about the dress. The information is on a ‘Mission Impossible’-style lockdown between my mum, dad, bridesmaids and me. I think part of the excitement of a wedding day is seeing the bride for the first time and I want to keep up the suspense. It has crossed my mind (many times and mostly as I’m going to sleep) that this could backfire horribly in one of two ways. Either the guests will be distinctly underwhelmed (‘I don’t know why she made such a big deal of keeping THAT dress a secret’) or overwhelmed (‘Err this is a wedding, not a catwalk’). But when I talk myself down from the bridal ledge, I realise that my friends and family will just be glad to see me so happy, because – much like my groom – I have found a gown that I will love forever.

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