Tuesday, April 7, 2009
As close to a real life 'Pretty Woman' experience as you can get (only the music missing!)
Like I mentioned before this wknd, our Suzhou flat is currently hosting my dearest sister and her husband-to-be, a Danish guy named Michael. With their wedding coming up this fall, their China trip has been highly influenced by pearls and white satin –in the search for the perfect wedding dress.
Before my sister came here I did some research and found that a street in Suzhou (located close to Suzhou’s famous Tiger Hill) was called ‘the wedding street’ as it is supposed to be an ocean of wedding dress shops. I’m one of those who often says ‘I believe it when I see it’ (imagining this ‘wedding street’ to in fact be a bunch of street vendors selling qi paos and fake bags) so, imagine my surprise when we went there yesterday and were greeted by an insane amount of wedding dress shops?! This place was outstanding: there was really something for every kind of bride! Something for the crazy, creative punk chick, something for the classic, white-loving bride, something for the girls who wants to look like a creamy cupcake, something for the one with love for a massive train, something for the pearl-loving, high-end chick, something for the one who wants something simple and plain, AND… a generous amount of evening/bride’s maid dresses too?! We were both in HEAVEN!
My sister had brought some pictures for inspiration but those ones soon went down the bin… as she didn’t really need them. These shops had everything a bride-to-be could dream about –and more. You could even go in there and design your own dream dress from scratch…. And the best part of it all? It is cheap, cheap, cheap!
My sister ended up settling for a beautiful white, silk dress with some pearls and a small train, which were hers for 780 yuan (compared to what a dress costs in Sweden this is more than a bargain! Only renting a dress over there often costs something like 3000-4000 yuan). She also did some adjustments to it, and obviously it had to be completely re-done according to her measurements, but I am confident that it is going to be a beautiful dress. We don’t have to wait long to find out: going to pick it up already tomorrow afternoon.
Even if you are not getting married it is kind of fun to spend an afternoon on Suzhou’s wedding dress street. Eh… if you are a girl that is. Most shops sports huge changing rooms with large mirrors, and brides-to-be can borrow everything from shoes to tiaras and necklaces to complete their bride-look. Some shops even have catwalks (!) where the bride can walk around in front of the mirror while her boyfriend/husband to be admirers her from a spectator post. In fact, ALL Chinese girls looking for a wedding dress came together with their partner. I believe we were the only ‘2 girls couple’ (the reason for that being that my sis is very traditional and doesn’t want her soon-to-be-hubby to see her in her dress before the big day) but then I also believe I was the most enthusiastic of all the spectators. While most of the boyfriends played with their phones/falling asleep, I was gushing along from my chair, going all ‘ohhhhh’ and ‘aaaaahhhhh!’ and almost shedding a tear every now and then as my sister looked totally gorgeous in all those white gowns (and, guess who came home that day speaking non-stop about weddings and dresses. I think my boyfriend is so scared now that I better lay low on the wedding talk for a bit….)
But anyways, the point I wanted to make is that if you are getting married, and live in China (or are planning a visit here) I strongly recommend you to save a lot of cash (and maybe getting your dream dress made at the same time?) by visiting Suzhou’s wedding street. The street actually doesn’t have any special name, all taxi drivers knows it by ‘wedding gown street close to Tiger Hill’ (said in Chinese). Actually, when my sister wakes up today I have to ask her if that’s what the business card to the shop where she ordered her dress says too.
(Oh, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos in the shop but I’ll take some of her in the dress once she gets it on Wednesday!)