Have you been following along with our real bride’s musings?

Gemma Milly (designer, illustrator, calligrapher and our go to girl for gorgeous wedding stationery) is getting married in a few months (squeaaal!) and she’s been sharing her wedding diary, Bridget Jones style, with us all.

First came The Proposal – her beau, Tom popped the question in the most perfect way. There were croissants, Gemma’s grandmother’s engagement ring and a surprise holiday involved!

Then came The Inspiration – Gemma shared insights into how she and Tom gathered and narrowed down their (many, varied and glittery) ideas for their big day. She also offers sage advice on avoiding Pinterest burnout and top tips on how to personalise your own nuptials.

But today is the diary entry we’ve been waiting for with bated breath…Gemma talks about her hunt for The Dress!*

FrouFrou Bridal Boutique

April 9th 2014: 2 months and 25 days until the big day…

Number of Dresses bought: 1 (THE one)

Number of personal trainers hired to ensure perfect fit of said dress: 1

I knew when I had found The One…I was doing some research and putting together a mood board for a client when I stumbled across the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. It was very different to a lot of wedding dress styles you tend to see in the UK and very ‘me’, but as is often the case with most of the wedding-based prettiness that I fall in love with, it was only available in the US. Alas, image was squirrelled away on one of my pinterest boards for the occasional peek and sigh over it’s beauty, and that was that. This was about 2 years before I even had a ring on my finger, but when you work in this industry it’s hard not to get carried away with planning your own future wedding in your head.

Parachute silk wedding dress by Matthew Williamson (not ‘The One’)

Anyway, that was until the wondrous day last June when Tom got down on one knee and popped the question. A few weeks later I was chatting to my bridesmaid Allison about The Dress, which in my head had turned into something of an urban legend and the next day an email pinged into my inbox from her…

Good morning to the gorgeous bride to be!

I hope you don’t mind that I did some investigating. More than anything I was curious, as I had never heard of the designer. Anyway below is the address for the only UK store for this designer. I’m sure the dress pictured is the one you showed me…. Maybe worth giving them a call??

Lots of love xxx

In the voice of Janice from Friends…..Oh.My.God.

This is precisely why Allison is one of my oldest and best friends! By the time I had come round and picked myself up off the floor, I was straight on the phone to FrouFrou Bridal Boutique booking an appointment. Eek, eek and eek! So appointment booked, maids rallied, and three weeks later we were all on our merry way to Tunbridge Wells to try on some pretty dresses. I saw the gown hanging there the second I walked in. Heart palpitations immediately ensued, together with the type of squealing only dogs can hear, which was probably a good thing.

FrouFrou Bridal Boutique

Now at this point I must say that if you are looking for a bridal boutique to make you swoon, FrouFrou is it. Nicola and Helena have got the most wondrous eye for detail and the interior of the shop is a vision of gorgeousness. From the beautiful Queen Anne chair and white washed floor boards in the dressing room, to the giant rococo mirror and colourful gypsy cushions in the main shop…this is an interiors designer’s dream!

Nicole was looking after me that day, and she was brilliant. Great advice about dress shapes and styles, but not overly so that my opinion wasn’t swayed too much. We picked out about 5 dresses, one of which was The Dress, but Nicole advised me to try the others on first and save this one for last (oh the anticipation!)…I could see it hanging there looking at me whilst I tried the others on, which was excruciatingly exciting! First I tried a Matthew Williamson dress on (too grecian) and about four floaty, bohemian Sarah Seven numbers (one of which was a real contender), but as I stepped into the final gown I knew that this was going to be my dress. Which is darn lucky as I don’t handle disappointment well!

Lovely Gemma (L) hanging out with bridal boutique co-owner, Nicole (R) at FrouFrou Bridal Boutique

It fitted like a dream, had just the right amount of swoosh as I walked, and made my Mum and bridesmaids cry. Job done! I couldn’t quite believe that the dress I had always wanted was a) available in a shop less that an hour from my house and b) looked as good on as I hoped it would. This was one of those days that you dream about when you’re a little girl, but I can’t explain the feeling you get when it’s actually you, standing there, in a wedding dress, with your best friends around you, imagining walking down the aisle to marry the person you love so much it hurts. Safe to say the day was a success!

For obvious reasons I can’t divulge any more details about my dress (stay tuned until July for that!), but it’s safe to say I am utterly in love with it, and I cannot recommend FrouFrou enough if you’re looking for something slightly different from the norm. Forget satin ruching and diamanté buckles and think romantic, floaty, boho and be-sequinned!

Gold Sequined wedding dress by Sarah Seven (also not ‘The One’)

Talk about leaving us in suspense!

If you’re currently on the hunt for your dream dress, be sure to check out these top tips from the fitting room for insider info on wedding dress shopping and choosing the perfect wedding dress for your shape.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of Gemma’s bridal diary, where she’ll be sharing her musings on The Pretty Paper – it comes with a ‘sure to be awesome’ guarantee. (I mean…seriously, have you seen her work?) Here’s a sneak peek of the unique, rose gold/copper foil wooden wedding invites she designed.

In the meantime, keep up to date with the beautiful world of Gemma Milly on Twitter,FacebookPinterest and Instagram. And why not share your wedding dress musings in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for inspiration? Check out some of our favourite wedding dress collections

*We’d just like to point out that Gemma was one very lucky lady. When it comes to finding your dream dress, please don’t be disheartened if you don’t get that ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ moment with hugs, high fives and tears all round in the first bridal boutique you visit. It can take a long time to find your perfect style and fit (both the dress and boutique). That’s why we’d always recommend starting your dress hunt as early as possible.