Recently, while recovering from a cold and watching the movie, I realised I have had two Pretty Woman moments*. My first Pretty Woman moment was in a restaurant in Paris with my fiancé a couple of years ago; I was feeling daring and ordered snails as an entrée. When they were served I tried to use the tools provided to pick one of them up. The first snail went flying across the room and landed under another couple’s table (unlike in the movie where the waiter catches Julia Robert’s flying snail). My fiancé and I tried to control our laughter as, miraculously; we were the only ones that noticed the event.
My second Pretty Woman moment was not quite as funny. It came when I was wedding dress shopping. Overall, wedding dress shopping has not been a great experience for me and I think it’s because I am a plus sized bride. If the size you wear is bigger, or smaller, than the norm it can be difficult to find things when shopping for clothes; when you are shopping for a wedding dress this difficulty can be, or at least seem, magnified.
The dress is an important part of a wedding, whether you like it or not. My bet is the most talked about aspect of the upcoming royal wedding will be the bride’s dress (I’m so pleased not to be Kate Middleton right about now; oh the pressure!). After the wedding, everyone talks about what the bride wore and, as the bride, you’d like them to be saying nice things. Plus, I’m one of those girls that has dreamed of her wedding since she was a little girl so, while I don’t have the same pressure as Kate Middleton, there is some pressure for me to find the perfect dress.
So wedding dress shopping I went. And I took my Mum because she would be honest if a dress looked hideous and for this shopping expedition honesty was important. The first shop we went to was on the spur of the moment on the way home from Sydney. After the shop assistant recovered from shock when she found out we had not made an appointment, she showed me some dresses and I tried them on. There weren’t many I could try on because there weren’t many dresses bigger than a size 10. I tried on three dresses and left feeling sad that so many of the ones I wanted to try on would not have fit.
The next attempt to find my dress was in Newcastle, where I live. That day I think I went to every bridal shop in Newcastle, no appointments necessary. What I noticed was that most of the sales assistants who served me wore a similar expression while I was with them. It’s hard to explain what was written on their face but what showed was a struggle between their want to do their job well and help me with their knowledge that they didn’t really have anything appropriate for my size. It looked like they were doing their best but they knew they weren’t going to be very successful. A lot of them got me to try on dresses that were too small for me, because that’s all they had to offer. This involved me squeezing uncomfortably into something and then walking out of the change room to show my Mum with the sales assistant pulling the dress in behind me to show how it would look if it were ordered in my size (which means that it is possible to get some of the dresses in different sizes but that it isn’t common to keep a variety of sizes in the stores). This is not the sales assistants’ fault at all (they were doing their job and were, for the most part, lovely about it) but putting on dress after dress that didn’t fit me did not do wonders for my self esteem; neither did my visit to the next store.