wedding blog

Awkward Girl Goes for a Dress Fitting

When we first decided to get married, I was all, “Cool. I will be a laid-back, totally non-hysterical bride-to-be. No bridezilla moments for me, nosiree!” Absolutely no one believed me about this, mostly because “hysterical” is my middle name (note: not really. It’s “Louise”.), and also because I’m all about the drama. And you know what? Turns out they were right. Bridezilla? Moi? Oh hell yes…

The (rude) awakening of my inner Bridezilla came on Halloween (an irony that was not lost on me), when my poor, long-suffering mother and I took my precious, precious dress to our chosen dressmaker to be altered. “(Yes, it has taken me this long to feel able to write about it.) Great!” said I, “I will get to wear my fabby new Agent Provocateur corset, which I love more than life itself!” and “Oh, crap,” said my mum, as I struggled my way into Terry’s low-slung car, unable to bend from the waist in my tightly-laced corset. (Sorry for the too much information, here, by the way. Just suck it up, though.)

I should have known right there that it was all about to go horribly wrong, and from the moment we arrived at the dressmaker’s home, me walking like a mannequin in my corset, it did. First of all, the dressmaker made us remove our shoes and wear some old slippers she provided for us. Being the spoiled brat that I am, this would have been horrifying enough (I choose my footwear, thanks. Me!) but, as you know, I have a bit of a thing about feet, so this put me at a disadvantage right away.

Worse was to come, though.

“Do you actually like this?” asked the dressmaker, removing The Precious from its bag and gesturing towards the buttons at the back. The buttons which were one of the things I liked most about it.

“Ummm, yes?” said I.

“Really?” said the dressmaker incredulously, wrinkling her nose in distaste. “For what reason?”

“Ummmm, because they are pretty?” I said. (Yes, I was speaking in questions. She had that kind of effect on me.) “Say they are pretty.”

The dressmaker did not say they were pretty. In fact, she said they were “clumsy” and were “ruining the design”. The design which, by the way, has “no unity to it.” GOD.

“Well, Vera Wang obviously thought it had unity to it,” I pointed out. “Now do as you’re told, woman and make me look like a Princess for the day!”

Ooops, sorry, no – that was what I said in my own head. In real life, what I said was this:


as she took out a little sharp thing and cut all the lovely buttons off my dress. (She needs to do this anyway, to alter it, I should point out. She wasn’t just being a vandal for the sheer hell of it.) Feeling my bottom lip begin to tremble mutinously, I looked towards my mum, who managed to convey to me, wordlessly, “We will make her sew them back on. You shall go to the ball, Cinderella!” (My mum’s had a lot of experience as my handler, you see, so she knows how to do this without speaking.)

“Strip, bitch,” said the dressmaker.*

I pulled off my sweater, revealing my lovely corset, in all its glory.

“Well, you’re not wearing that,” said the dressmaker. “Totally not suitable. Too thick for the dress. You’ll look much more natural without it.”

“But I don’t want to look natural!” I wailed. (In my own fool head, natch.) “I want to have a tiny waist and be totally unable to move normally! I want to look like Dita Von Teese, except smaller, paler, uglier, redder and, did I say uglier?”

No corset. Even my mum agreed that the dress looks better without it, and I was forced to concede the point.

“You can still wear it, though!” said the dressmaker. “They look great with jeans, these. And slutty clothes.”**

To be fair, our dressmaker is a miracle worker. She is the kind of woman who could have turned Scarlett O’Hara’s old curtains into a killer dress no problem at all, and, with the aid of just a few pins and the extra scraps of material that came with the dress, she managed to completely transform it. It looked lovely. When I got home though? I still cried. Yes, Bridezilla had been unleashed. And without her Agent Provocateur corset? She was pissed.

Since then I have thought long and hard about the whole thing, and I have been forced to have some strong words with myself. (I’ve also been forced to block the Monique Lhuillier website from my browser, but that’s a whole other issue). “Amber,” I said to myself, (for yes, I like to address myself properly when I speak to myself), “Amber, you are behaving like one spoiled brat here. Why, this time last year, you were a quivering wreck of a person, driven to the brink of insanity by her fiance’s approaching kidney transplant, and all of the attendant fears that major surgery brings. You were just about to face two weeks of hospital visits, not knowing whether or not the transplant would even work. This year? This year your biggest worry is the fact that your £230 corset won’t fit under your Vera Wang wedding dress. Who do you think you are here? Slap yourself right now.”

So I did. Slap myself, that is. And then I slapped myself again, because, really? What am I like? I’m sure it will all work out fine. The dress will be altered, it will fit me properly, it will look beautiful (the dressmaker did concede that it will look beautiful – once she’s finished with it. Vera Wang, hang your head in shame!), and all will be well.

I’m not moving on the buttons issue, though.

* Not really.
** She actually did say that, though.

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  • Hi Paris ( 😉 )

    Oh my god. I would so have walked out if that had been me!!

    As for the "slutty clothes" comment.God. What a *thing* to say….

    I'm trying to picture the dress in my head…but my imagination is being useless. But I'm sure it looks fantastic!

    Jen x

    November 9, 2006
  • Hi Amber – I would have been exactly the same. I got married in Sweden and my biggest fear was that my dress would get lost on the way (I had to check it in). I remember my brother-in-law saying that if the worst happened and I had to get married in someone else's dress then at least I would look back and laugh!!!!! Aaaaghhrrr!

    Anyway, the dress arrived safely and we had a beautiful wedding in an ice chapel in the middle of Lapland. It was a pretty nervy flight though.

    November 9, 2006
  • God. Reading that made me start to panic thinking about my own wedding dress (yet to look properly even) :/ Seriously, I reckon you held it together pretty well – very un-Bridezilla if you ask me!! I would've been in tears or have walked out.. and I'm starting to realise that I *too* will probably be a Bridezilla.

    The shame.


    November 9, 2006
  • you can still wear the corset on honeymoon, no? avec les 'slutty clothes'?
    I'm sure your dress will look gorgeous… xx

    November 10, 2006
  • Now I know dressmakers know what they're doing, blah blah blah…but everyone knows you don't tell a girl who's just bought a new dress – let alone a wedding dress – that it's all wrong. You keep very quiet or possibly make polite, subtle suggestions as tactfully as possible. And you definitely don't separate a girl and her corset. Grr.

    And also I would like to know who it was who sent a memo round to all parents in the 80s to say "you must give your daughter the middle name 'Louise'. We'll have no originality here, thanks." Hello, I'm Gemma Louise.

    November 10, 2006
  • Diane – I don't think I could get into it un-aided! It's one of those old-fashioned lace-up-the-back numbers that ladies used to have to get their maids to lace them into. Waaa!

    Jenny – We seriously considered getting married abroad, too, and losing the dress was one of my biggest nightmares! I think I'd have had to bring it on the plane with me. Just on the "you can borrow one" thing – I just remembered that she also said to me "Well, if it doesn't work out, you can just buy a new one." Because, sure, I have enough money to just go around buying wedding dresses every other week…

    Gemma – I know! I mean, I'd already bought the thing, so it must have been obvious to her that, yes, I DO like it. Gah, gah, gah…

    November 10, 2006
  • Susi


    Corsets are the root of all evil, whilst being unashamedly amazing. I own a corset that cost £200 mainly because it was from Tortoise, corseters to the stars, which I bought the first day some fool gave me a Student Loan cheque. Since that day, 6 years ago, I've worn in once. But woe betide anyone who hints that that money might have been better spent on electricity bills…

    November 13, 2006
  • I'd like to think that I would have been able to come up with a suitable retort, but I probably would have been so flummoxed that I would have had no idea what to say. Good Lord.

    P.S. In the US, the Eighties middle name of choice was "Marie." I think there were eight of them in my graduating class – but my parents thankfully decided to go with the marginally less popular Jane, thank God.

    November 13, 2006