Brides to be blog: The dress hunt

When the Marriage Amendment Act passed in August, Amanda Betts, co-owner of model and talent agency Red 11, and partner Richenda dived head-first into planning the day of their dreams. This week, the dress hunt is top of mind.

  • Story by Words Amanda Betts

When the Marriage Amendment Act passed in August, Amanda Betts, co-owner of model and talent agency Red 11, and partner Richenda dived head-first into planning the day of their dreams. This week, the dress hunt is top of mind:

I have been dreading the dress try-on thing for so many reasons. I think the main one is, if you'll excuse the pun, I somehow have to marry the fantasy of what I would like to look like on my big day with the reality of who I am, my body constraints and what I can get away with.

What's more, I'm a 45-year-old mum that’s lived in the thick of the fashion industry most of my working life. This means I have the balls, if you will, to boldly go wherever I please in my dress sense.

There are some amazing places for bridalwear in Auckland, two I drive past most days: Hera Bridal sometimes has me swerving the car with its pretty windows, and John Zimmermann is home to some sexy bridal pieces.

I love vintage creams, intricate beaded lace and silk drapery. Cream, however, is not my colour – I'll need to go bold. So with all this in mind, I get the process started. I know it's not the norm to take your fiancé wedding dress shopping with you, but Richenda is the one I am marrying and her opinion is important to me.

‘Where are we going?’ Richenda asks.

‘Modes of Broadway,’ I reply.

‘Modes of Broadway? Isn't that a mother-of-the-bride shop?’

‘Yes. But it also has stuff for bridesmaids, wedding dresses, ball gowns and black tie attire. It's where we got Beck's beautiful red dress for her wedding...’

That answer satisfies Richenda - she's a practical woman, so the idea of going to a one-stop shop shuts her up.

Modes of Broadway is amazing, almost to the point of overwhelming in choice. There are rows upon rows of dresses of all types available. One of the ladies can see the awe written all over my face and gently approaches me with a warm smile. I like her already.

She asks me what I’m shopping for, and off I go with a huge list of dos and don'ts:

‘I have big boobs...’ ‘...cream or white are not my colours...’ and ‘... I love Roberto Cavalli-style prints...’

Poor woman. I feel for her as we start perusing racks with my sharp interjections of ‘No. Too slutty.’ or ‘no. Too fru-fru.’

I pull out a red silk Elizabeth Taylor number. It's gorgeous. My lady pops her finger in the air like she's had an epiphany and leads me to the print section (yes, dresses are grouped by colour and print) and pulls out a beautiful flowing Cavalli-style halter. Then she guides me to the green section, checks my feelings on yellow and runs me past the cream and bridal, just for safety. She's just the right amount of there for me, treating me like a princess but not in my face. The search for your perfect wedding dress is, after all, a really special time.

I narrow it down to one red one, feeling happy about the direction I’m headed. I tell my lady I'll think about it, though. Like most brides, I can’t bring myself to stop after the very first shop.


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