As I’ve just finished sharing with you all my little vintage wedding which took place in November 2020, it’s clear to see that I did not wear a vintage dress for the day which was a bit of a shock to many of you. I received a whole load of questions asking what happened to my dress and why I didn’t wear my vintage dress on my instagram so I thought today I’d share the entire story. Looking back at the day, I don’t regret my decision to wear a modern dress as after all the issues, it felt like a good call. Of course, it was disappointing that after sharing my excitement in finding my dream vintage dress I couldn’t wear it but alas, gather around the fire kids, I’m about to share the story.
I purchased by dress way back in 2019 on a trip to Sydney from Forever Vintage. I’ve already shared the entire story of my shopping experience so if you’d like to read about that, please go here. The original plan was that I was going to leave my dress at the store as I had to return to Sydney in early 2020 and whilst I was there, I was going to get any final fittings and alterations done before it either came home with me or it was sent via mail back to Perth. We had a plan, everything was sorted out and so we waited, and then the world crumbled into a pandemic. Due to Covid, I wasn’t able to travel to Sydney for my dress and thus the drama began.
There was no way I was putting the workers/owners of the store at risk so I wasn’t going to ask them to travel to the shop and ship my dress to me. No one knew what was going to happen with the virus so this felt like the best decision. I may be a bride, but my wedding is not the most important thing happening on the planet and no one should be put at risk for a wedding. I was in touch with the store and we just had to wait out the Sydney lockdown.
We were a little way out from the wedding when my dress was able to be safely accessed. It was now time to alter it. I didn’t need a lot changed with the dress and only wanted maybe an inch taken out at the waist which I was told was do-able. Easy! Let’s get that done. Alterations were not cheap and I ended up having to cut a few other things from the wedding to pay for it but it was my dream dress and I’ve already gone over budget for it before. At this stage, I was so tired and worn out from the drama of planning a wedding during a pandemic that any bad news seemed normal. I had had issues with the decorations, the caterers, the venue, the cake, the flowers, the suits and the accessories … just to name a few recent hiccups around that time. Alterations didn’t take too long, perhaps a week, and then I was notified the dress was on her way.
I was so excited when she arrived on my doorstep! My dress was here and she was perfect and mine! My mother came over that evening to help me with something and we went into my study room to try the dress on. I put it on and … something was very wrong. The bodice flopped forward and everyone could see down my top. My mum looked at the dress in horror and just said, “why is it so bad?”. During the alteration process, boning was removed from the bodice as you could see that the boning channels were removed and this caused the bodice to lose it’s shape and structure. The part covering my breasts completely came away from the body with an awful gape, the bodice did not sit up against my body at all and there was so much puckering and building happening down the sides. I couldn’t wear my dress like this.
I took the dress of and gave it a good look over which is when I noticed that parts of the lace were coming off, frayed or no longer sewn onto the bodice and skirt. There was a hole near the zip and bits of frayed lace and tulle all over. Oh no! What do I do now? I sort of just froze when I realised I couldn’t wear my dress and I was about 10 days out from the wedding. This was not ideal. I quickly called up my friend Beata from Chein Noir Dezigns as she is a qualified seamstress and specialises in making bespoke wedding gowns. I let her know what happened and she told me to contact the store straight away (why didn’t I think of that?) so I did.
I received a call from the store and explained what had happened. I was instructed to go back to Beata and have her pin me in my dress so that it fit me. I went to her studio with two of my bridesmaids as they had to get their dresses hemmed too. I put the dress on and showed the girls what it looked like and my heart absolutely sank. You always dream of that moment when people see you in your wedding dress and their eyes light up and they all tell you how pretty the dress is and how perfect it is, well, that didn’t happen. No one even smiled at the dress; it was just a mix of confusion, horror and disgust at the dress followed by “what happened to it?”, “did you buy it like that?” and “oh my gosh it’s ruined!”. It wasn’t an ideal reaction but it’s the one I got. We figured out the dresses shape (it had quite a low back) and I was pinned in. I then pinned the lace into place in parts it had come off. She was ready to be shipped back to Sydney about a week from the wedding.
The dress was shipped express back to Sydney and during this time, my partner dragged me to every vintage store in the city looking for an alternative. Normally I have to drag him to vintage stores but for once, I was just not in the mood and didn’t feel like trying on anything else. I think at that point, having to deal with so much going wrong and fighting to get my mother back into the country and coming to terms with my brother and best friend not being able to make it to the wedding, the dress didn’t seem that important. Now I should say, I had a gut feeling that something was going to go wrong; I couldn’t explain it so I actually went and secretly went wedding dress shopping for a modern dress as a backup a few months earlier. It was a quite Saturday and myself and Reenie, my maid of honour, made a couple of appointments to try on some modern dresses. We made a whole day for it and that’s where I found my backup dress and the dress I would eventually wear down the aisle. I didn’t tell my partner about this adventure but I am so glad I got a backup.
I wouldn’t really encourage anyone to buy two wedding dresses when they dont need to but seeing as there was a pandemic and so much had gone wrong, I was ready for the dress to malfunction and boy oh boy am I glad I listened to my gut. I ended up finding my dress at Collezione Bridal in the city, funnily enough in the same change room where Reenie found her dress for her wedding so it was a really nice moment. The modern dress was very far away from what my vintage dress looked like but it was still beautiful and better yet, it was covered in stars and moons which magically fit my wedding theme. I had tried on a range of dresses that day from many different stores, and being at the last store, I still hadn’t had that “wow” moment with a dress. The lady helping me at Collezione noticed this and asked more questions about my wedding which is where she learnt of the theme. Her eyes lit up and she said, “hold on! I know where your dress is!” and she ran out of the room. Reenie and I were excited to see what she would bring back and when she returned she said another bride was trying it on and we had to wait. Whilst waiting we tried on other dresses and then, my dress was delivered and sure enough, it was almost perfect. I asked for lining to be added to the bodice as I wasn’t a fan of the exposed boning channels and also asked for sleeves. My mother didn’t like the sleeves so they were made detachable so I could change my mind later if I wanted (on the day we both loved the sleeves so they stayed) and NOW she was perfect.
My wedding planner was notified of what had happened to my dress and she immediately called to see if I was ok. I think she was more freaked out than I was. I explained that I knew something would go wrong so I had already gotten a backup dress but much like my partner, she knew I had always wanted to wed in a vintage dress. She called around all her best wedding seamstresses but no one wanted to touch the dress as if they ruined it further, the original store would no longer be responsible. Other seamstresses said they were not confident with true vintage whilst others were just too busy. Plus, I didn’t want to pay even more for alterations. I had spent enough at this point.
Now, back to my vintage dress. A few days after sending her off on her epic adventure, I received word she had arrived and was getting fixed up again. My partner was so nervous about the dress not arriving in time, he knew it was a dream vintage dress but I was just so numb to everything by that stage I almost couldn’t react to much that was happening. Eventually I received a message that the dress was returning to me and should arrive in a day or two as she was sent express. Oh, maybe I would be able to wear my dream vintage dress after all … nope.
Australia Post has lost my dress. You know those days where you have back to back appointments and carry around a museli bar in your bag because you will be eating lunch on the go? Well it was one of those days, I was driving an hour away from my home to collect my car from being serviced and my phone rang, I answered (my Dad was driving the car so don’t freak out) and it was the owner of Forever Vintage telling me there was an emergency. She asked me if I could speak and I said I was only free much later in the evening which wasn’t suited to her as the issue was very pressing. I ended up asking my Dad to pull over on the freeway, I got out of the car and called her back. My dress has been lost by Australia Post and no one knew where it was.
I actually started laughing, much to the annoyance of the store owner but honestly, so much had gone wrong, of course my wedding dress had gotten lost three days before the wedding. It was explained to me that the tracking on the dress had vanished and no one knew where it was. The store had been in contact with Australia Post and a man hunt was out on the dress. I told the store not to worry because I had a backup just incase but they insisted everything would be done to find a replacement. They said they would be sending over photos of some different dresses that could be overnight shipped to me and they would arrive Friday at the latest. When I was actually able to look at the photos about two hours later (if I had stopped for more than 10 minutes I would have been late to all my appointments) but I didn’t love any of the dresses. They were all beautiful and oh my gosh if I had the right body shape I might have asked for a certain fitted number but I just said I’d hold out hope that my original would arrive.
I truly felt bad for the store, so much had gone wrong with the dress and I felt like I was being a pain but I couldn’t really explain why I felt so numb towards everything. I had been stressed out for so long trying to plan a pandemic wedding that when things went wrong, I was already onto the backup. I think at that stage you could have told me the venue had burnt down and I would have just asked if the carpark had survived and can we do it there. When push came to shove, I would have married my husband in a simple dress already hanging in my wardrobe. I didn’t care what I wore, I just wanted to stand up in front of my friends and family and tell them all how much this man meant to me and how much I loved him. I couldn’t care less about how old my dress was and what decade it was made it. I just wanted to marry the love of my life.
That evening, as I was doing some wedding planning my phone started ringing again. I answered and it was the head of the Australia Post Western Australia branch. He had called to personally apologise for losing my dress. I actually felt so bad! There was a pandemic going on; important things like masks and medication was needed around the country to be transported and he’s worried that I didn’t have my wedding dress. We ended up having a good chat and I explained that in the grand scheme of things, everything was fine and I would get married in my backup and it’ll all work out. He was pretty happy to not be yelled at by a bridezilla and explained some of the stresses he faced when he was getting married a few years earlier. I never thought that Australia Post would personally call me about my dress but he assured me he would do everything he could to find my dress.
Saturday morning, the day before the wedding there is a frantic knock at the door. A large box is shoved into my hands, it’s my vintage dress! I race into my study room, zip myself into the dress and look at myself in the mirror. It still wasn’t the smooth and perfect fit I had wanted; the bust had a bit of gaping and the sides of the bodice puckered a little bit. I sighed, took the dress off and put her gently back into the postage box. It wasn’t meant to be. I could have worn the dress for my wedding the following day, but I knew I would be worried about the bust fit and even whilst moving around in front of the mirror, the fit was still bothering me. My partner called out from behind the closed door how it was going, I said it was fine which he knew it wasn’t. When I came out of the room he just hugged me and told me that no matter what I wore, I would look beautiful. He kissed my forehead and I knew he was right, it was just a dress and I could wear it another time (a good reason not to buy a white dress).
So the following morning, I woke up, packed my modern dress into the limo and headed out to get married. From my other wedding blogs, you all know by now how much I loved my wedding day despite all the issues I ran into. I did have a bit of an identity crisis a week later though; how can a pinup not get married in vintage but then I realised I still had my vintage wedding. I’m a vintage soul who was styled in a vintage way, with a vintage decorated event and I was going to marry my darling husband. Sounds to me like a vintage wedding regardless of the dress. I received so many compliments on the dress which made me feel really good about my choice; I did have people ask if the modern dress was vintage but after giving them a quick summary of what happened to my vintage dress, they all said I made the right choice by going with the modern dress.
Once the dust settled a bit, I was lucky enough to go down south and visit my dear friends and amazing photographer, Sarah from Red Leopard and get all dressed up for a mock wedding shoot. We set up the paper moon, played with smoke bombs and had so much fun taking photos. I had so much fun at this shoot; I felt really relaxed and found this dress a little more comfortable to run around in. The dress had no train and didn’t quite reach the floor so I was able to get about easily and not have to worry about dragging twigs and leaves around in my skirt. For this shoot, my husband wore the suit he was originally going to wear which also was a bit of a drama and he too wore his backup to the wedding. Our wedding clothes may have been backups, but we were always each others first choice and that’s what really mattered.
Doing a second wedding shoot is something I really recommend. Your wedding day goes past so quickly that getting the photos you want in different locations may not be ideal. Here we set up, played around with no time restraints or anything to worry about at all. I was also able to change my hair to a style I wear more often and change my shoes to be simple heels for running around in. There was no stress and we could just enjoy being husband and wife all over again. We were still in a bit of a love bubble during this shoot so looking back it’s such a nice feeling seeing the love between us. I can’t wait to hang up these photos, along with our actual wedding day photos, in our future home. And yes, there are ones of hubby facing the camera but he can get a bit shy so I thought I’d leave them out of this blog.
So that’s the story about my true vintage wedding dress. At this moment, she hangs in her own dress bag right next to my modern wedding dress and despite all the drama, I still love her very much. I will wear her for very special occasions and photoshoots so she will not be wasted. I still need to fix up the bodice a little bit especially around the top as there is still a bit of gaping but this is all part of the fun of planning a pandemic wedding. Of course, this is not the Forever Vintage’s fault and I don’t blame them for any of the issues we faced. We did the best we could with the circumstances we were given and I still will recommend them to any vintage bride shopping for a true vintage dress. I own several pieces from their store which I treasure and will continue to shop with them.
If you are planning a wedding and have had many things go wrong, I hope my own story of woe will help you feel a little less alone with all the stress you are going through. If it’s not meant to be, it’s just not meant to be. I didn’t have my dream vintage dress for my wedding day, but I got everything else pretty perfect, mainly the perfect man. Thats worth more than any dress is.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.