SWAMPS’ POSTS: Sagas Of A Tattooed Bride – February

Today I get to welcome back Swamps, who has been on the hunt to find the perfect wedding dress!

I’ll hand straight over!

swampsWell, it’s that time again ladies (and gents, lets not rule anybody out) and I have been a bit stuck about what I should make my February post about. So as I sit here in my onesie, mounds of cats in tow and somewhat distracted by the snow outside and our newest additions to the family – the skinny pigs (they’re bald guinea pigs for those of you wondering), I begin by racking my (little) brains about what it was that I first thought about when I first got engaged. I figured it would make sense to write about the things I was most excited about when planning my wedding. So with this in mind February’s post will be all about the all important dress hunting, and very important it was too if not completely exhausting.

As a girl that dresses are relatively foreign to I was really nervous about wearing a big frock. My first port of call was to ask Matt Bee if it would be acceptable for us to have a fancy dress wedding. I figured if everyone was dressed up like idiots I would feel like less of a spectacle. Although he has an entire cupboard for dressing up he quickly decided our ‘Granny’ outfits wouldn’t really be suitable for our wedding day. Sadface.

Me and Matt be as grannys

Then I tried the….”Lets have a really casual wedding where everyone can wear jeans and trainers, it’ll be amazing”. Needless to say he didn’t go for that idea either. So when I finally came to terms with the fact that I was ACTUALLY going to have to wear a proper dress (sigh!) I began my ‘hunt’ on the internet. I spent literally hours trawling the internet for dresses.

As a girl who lets say is rather ‘well endowed’ in the chest area I was worried that while some dresses looked great on some people they would look hideous on me. Also you have to worry about things like, what bra am I going to be able to wear with that dress or could I wear one at all?!? A double GG set of boobies do not lend well to not wearing a bra I assure you!

Once I had exhausted the internet – I am convinced I looked at every single designer that exists not only in the UK but also worldwide, I moved onto buying bridal magazines. That actually got me totally excited about getting married. I was completely and utterly distracted by them and couldn’t even get through my morning meeting in the office without flicking through another mag. Loads of inspiration in those little babies.

After about a month of searching I created a short list of designers and dresses that I liked. Here are some of the ones I though were BE-AU-TI-FUL!


One of my fave designers was Jenny Packham. Her dresses were really beautiful and elegant but also a bit more casual than your full on toilet roll holder, poufy monstrosity. I first came across her when I was browsing at venues, and one of the really vintage venues was using her dresses to advertise on their website. I emailed them and found out who she was. I LOVED them. They had sparkles on too which isn’t normally my thing but I was like a magpie when I saw each new design. My favourite is this one.

I love how the colours aren’t all white and silver. I think a silver sequin can look rather tacky at times. With so much sparkle the gold and bronze sequins really compliment the dress. She also does the MOST beautiful headwear if you have a larger budget too.

When I went to actually try on some dresses I saw a Jenny Packham dress in the shop. I tried it on and I looked absolutely hideous. I was kind of sad, but as I expected, her designs didn’t lend themselves well to a larger chest. They made me look really frumpy and gross so unfortunately they had to be ruled out. Also, as all girls want to look as slim as possible on their wedding day I felt the fact they weren’t particularly shaped to accentuate my teeniest bit, my waist.

I also have a small obsession with bows. That was my next mission. I think a huge bow could literally transform even the simplest of dresses into something rather spectacular.  I found that a lot of the dresses in the bridal shops are very ‘safe’ when it comes to bows. Some of them are so teeny I wouldn’t consider them big enough to put in my hair. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t buy a dress if it had a hugely oversized bow slapped on the front of it so I guess it makes sense. One thing I found out that I didn’t know before is that actually you can try on any dress you want. If you love it you can add a bow to it, AND it can be a large as you like. This was very good news for me. I could transform what would be considered a very ordinary dress into what looked like more of a couture piece. 

dress with bow (1)Source

This made my life hugely easier. I absolutely adore this dress with the bow, it’s a Monique L’huillier. Most people love the dress but hate the bow, which I think makes me want one even more. It’s the rebellious teenager in me still trying to get out! 

Then you obviously have your short dresses. This is what everyone is expecting me to wear. Most alternative brides tend to go for a more alternative dress. There are some absolutely amazing ones out there too. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of jazzing up a short wedding dress with some brightly coloured tulle. Look at how beaut’ this looks. 

brightly coloured wedding tulleSource

Again, it transforms what could be an average wedding dress into a head turning one! It’s really easy to let your personality get a bit lost when you’re choosing your dress. Most of them are so traditional that the way you would normally express your style is easy to get lost in a heap of satin, petticoat and pearls. 

After all the hard work of looking everywhere, and believe you me it was hard. I have never been more out of my comfort zone as I was when I booked my first bridal shop appointment. Turns out I was right to be apprehensive as the shop assistant had double booked my appointment slot. There was only one of her and two bride to be’s. Her head completely fell off. She looked at both of us; me, with my tattoos and ‘panda eye’ make up on, and the other a ‘respectable’ wealthy looking mother and elegant bride to be. She was a bit scared of me, and rather snooty to say the least so she opted to help the other lady. Thankfully, it made for a much funner experience of trying on all of the massive ‘gypsy bride’ type dresses with no intention of buying any of them.

Thanks to my lovely bridesmaids and Fam’ and their endless amounts of perseverance and begging of ‘please try this one on, for me?’ over and over again. I finally found ‘the one’. Strangely enough I had actually given up pretty much. I thought it might be nice if everyone in the family felt involved in some way so I toddled off with the all of the ladies in Matt’s side of the family and nipped into a bridal shop they had all used. It wasn’t a bridal shop I would have ever gone into based on face value. The window display didn’t shout out at me in the least bit. I tried on SO many dresses, and finally whittled it down to two that I actually really liked – Surprise hey?!? I guess it’s kind of like when you’re looking for a relationship you can never find a nice guys, and then when you give up – Voila!

I’m not going to tell you too much about it but it was totally different to anything that I had looked at online, or in the books that I thought I would like. It wasn’t what other people were expecting me to buy, and to top it off it was in the sale. I bagged it for a bargain price of £400. I still feel a little uncomfortable in it, but that’s just because it’s a big dress. There is still work to be done on it, and by the time I have finished customising it I expect it will be a shell of its former self. However, I intend to chop and change it to within an inch of its life until it resembles exactly what I want it too and hopefully it will be all I ever dreamed of, not that I really dreamed of much past my fancy dress wedding (hehe).

So now I have my lovely dress, waiting in the shop to have about 5 foot chopped off the bottom of it being as it was made for a giant. I keep going back to try it on. If I have a bad day at work, or if I wanted to check I didn’t put on too many pounds over Christmas. It makes me feel nice, which I guess is what it’s supposed to do.

Once you think the hard part is over you have to start thinking about shoes, veils, wraps and jewellery. But being as I’ve probably bored you all to tears I will save that for another instalment  I do hope all of you prospective brides enjoy the whole wedding dress shopping bit a lot more than I did. Just embrace it as a bit of a laugh and it becomes much less traumatic. My key tip is to remember you can change anything on a dress you want too; add sleeves or straps, change the huggy bits if you want it to be more fishtail-y, and take all of the buttons off and change them for better ones. Literally nearly anything you want too. 

Me as a little girl bride

The sooner you stop looking for the dress you drew when you were 10 years old as your perfect dress, and start looking for one that resemble the shell of that ‘perfect’ dress your life will become much easier! Yes that is me as a 6 year old in a wedding dress.

I do hope that my trials and tribulations along the way have helped one of two of you in your quest, and you find exactly what you are looking for. It’s time for me to go and fill my face now (not too much, wedding dresses to fit into and all). I literally cannot wait to write for you lovely lot again next month. 

Peace out, Swamps <3

See Swamps’ previous post here

2 responses to “SWAMPS’ POSTS: Sagas Of A Tattooed Bride – February

  1. Loved this dress-hunting story and look forward to seeing what you plucked for in the end. Hope it becomes like your second skin as it should on the day 😉 x

  2. Sorry Red, I only just saw your comment. I have been back in the last week to check I still like it. I was scared that I didn’t anymore! Phew! Thank you for your lovely comment x