The dress was Ann-Marie's biggest worry when she started to plan her wedding...
Not only was she planning a Halloween theme - she also had another bridal gown to coordinate her look with!
"Knowing there would be two brides at our wedding, we wanted the dresses to coordinate but not match," Ann-Marie says. And her self-consciousness was another hurdle to overcome...
"I've always felt my wife has a gorgeous figure that's very easy to flatter. But I'm shorter and on the larger side, so dress shopping was a stress for me before I'd even begun!"
She looked at a few styles online and went to several wedding fayres, but didn't see anything that looked right. "I wasn't sure what I wanted," says Ann-Marie, "but I was told over and over again that I would know it when I saw it."
Finally, at her largest wedding fayre yet, it seemed like all those voices had been proven right.
Ann-Marie found what she thought was the one - and she didn't want to take it off! After talking to a member of staff about customisations to the dress, she paid a deposit and left overjoyed.
"I thought the stress of finding my dress was over!" Ann-Marie remembers. "How wrong I was..."
A few weeks later, Ann-Marie received a notification that the company she'd ordered her dress from had gone bust. Ann-Marie had lost both her dream dress and her deposit.
She was devastated - and knew her hunt for a dress had to start all over again.
"The biggest problem was that now I knew exactly what I wanted, and nothing else would work. It was impossible."
Ann-Marie saw an ad for Elite Bridal on Facebook, and decided to include us in her search. "I booked an appointment, but I didn't hold out much hope of finding anything," she admits.
But as soon as she walked through the doors of our boutique, Ann-Marie felt more at ease than she had done anywhere else.
"The bridal advisors were amazing. They made us feel comfortable right from the start, and helped me finally relax about finding a dress - not an easy task!"
Ann-Marie started trying on styles, determined to be open-minded. But no matter how many styles she tried, Ann-Marie couldn't get the very first dress - the one she'd lost - out of her mind. Nothing felt as right as that one had.
"So," said Ann-Marie, "we started trying on dresses again. This time the bridal advisor asked me to point out what I would change about each one as we went along."
Eventually Ann-Marie found a dress she really loved and felt comfortable in. The bridal advisor asked what she would change about it, and there was only one thing Ann-Marie could think of.
"I really wanted a high-low dress, and this one was full-length," she said.
Unfortunately, after speaking to our design team, Ann-Marie realised it would be very difficult to have her skirt altered to the cut she wanted. The dress she'd chosen was a lace ballgown with layers and layers of material, and the alterations would be complex and costly - it was almost impossible.
"I was a little disappointed. But by this time I'd been looking at the dress from every angle in the mirror and although it wasn't completely what I wanted, it was near enough."
So Ann-Marie purchased her second bridal gown! Once again, she left feeling she finally had a dress she'd happily walk down the aisle in.
"Cut to a few months before the wedding," says Ann-Marie. "The store where I purchased my gown had moved, and we headed over to the brand new boutique on the week of its opening.
"The staff must have been so stressed trying to get everything done, but you couldn't tell. They were as polite and chatty as ever, and again instantly put my nerves at ease."
This time Ann-Marie had brought along the amazing wedding shoes she'd chosen for her big day - on theme with her Halloween wedding!
Ann-Marie's nerves had settled again by the time she got in front of the mirror - but then she realised there was a problem...
"Most brides lose weight before the big day, but I'd put a bit on," she explains. "There would be no time to lose it before the big day.
"The ladies calmed me down and told me we might be able to get the dress in a bigger size, but they'd have to check round all the other boutiques to see whether it was in stock. Luckily, one did!"
So, another panic over, Ann-Marie had to book another fitting to try on her dress in a larger size. It fit well, but to Ann-Marie it still wasn't perfect.
"As they were pinning the length of the dress, I mentioned again what a shame it was that we couldn't create a high-low skirt."
Ann-Marie's seamstress, who was also part of Elite Bridal's design team, thought about the challenge and looked in detail at the skirt of the lace gown. Although it would be difficult, she decided to take on the challenge.
"She said that she would make sure I had my dream dress," Ann-Marie remembers, "especially since I'd lost the first one!"
The seamstress started pinning Ann-Marie's dress higher until they had achieved the shape that Ann-Marie wanted. She also added a handle to help Ann-Marie handle the long train on her dress, and a colourful belt to tie in with Ann-Marie's Halloween-themed bridesmaids.
Ann-Marie's final fitting came around, and waited with baited breath to see the dream dress she'd long been picturing for the very first time in person...
"It was perfect - exactly what I wanted! I couldn't have been happier," says Ann-Marie.
Ann-Marie was touched that the staff remembered everything about her, including her statement belt and shoes.
While she loved her collection of unique accessories, she realised there was one thing still missing.
"I saw another bride trying on veils. I'd wanted one, but totally written it off as a bad idea because I couldn't find anything I liked... But then this other bride discarded the exact veil I'd been picturing!
"I asked about the veil, but the bridal advisor said it was a sample and the only one in the shop - with my wedding only weeks away, it would be a tight squeeze to order in another in time.
"But, of course, they said they would do everything they could to make it happen."
Despite an incredible number of setback scares and actual dress disasters, a few weeks later Ann-Marie found herself walking down the aisle in her dream dress - and married the love of her life on Halloween.
She was incredibly grateful to the Elite Bridal team for helping her get through her wedding dress stresses, and for finding a way to make her dream dress a reality.
"Nothing was too much trouble," remembers Ann-Marie. "I couldn't have been happier with the service, or with the finished dress.
"I've already recommended Elite Bridal to all my friends who've got engaged since, and will continue to do so!"
If you'd like to share your Elite Bridal story, or start your own journey with our team, get in touch!
You can contact us through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @elitebridaluk or book your one-to-one bridal consultation now by visiting elite.gb.net/appointments