Next thing on the agenda was definitely my wedding dress, one problem: I have a massive phobia of wedding dress shops and feeling too ‘fussed’ and ‘done up’. I was nervous, I wanted buying my dress to be a very personal choice, I didn’t want to try my dress on for the first time in front of a room full of people, I wanted buying my dress to be low-key; not necessarily a secret, but I wanted to decide whether I liked it by myself first before introducing it to my own personal judging panel!
I always knew I wanted a vintage wedding dress, the majority of vintage designs are so timeless, and it’s much more my personal style than the ‘new’ dresses I’d seen; I also loved that someone else could have started their happy-ever-after in it! I looked through my Grandma’s photographs of her, and both my Great Grandmothers’ on their wedding days and their choice of outfit. I was so inspired, looking at the pictures which hang on her living room wall, I saw my Great Grandmother “Gran-Gran” (left) wearing a dress and cloche hat completely typical for the time (1927), almost flapper style; yet my other Great Grandmother “Renee” (right) wore something completely different and avant-garde for 1933, a lace dress with a great big floppy hat, which my Grandma said cost her far too much but she was determined to wear it! Growing up, I always wanted to wear my Grandma Yvonne’s wedding dress (below centre). To me it seemed totally classic, and almost Audrey Hepburn-esque; lace sleeves, a pinched-in waist, with an A-line skirt below the knee. Unfortunately at the time it was traditional to make your first born child’s christening outfit from your wedding dress fabric, and Grandma had to break the news to me that she took the scissors to it in an unsuccessful attempt to make a gown for my Dad!
I started trawling vintage wedding dress shops all over the internet (there were none near me that I knew of), and even considered traveling down to London to book an appointment at The Vintage Wedding Dress Company; fortunately I have a bit of an eBay addiction, and I found a dress I thought I quite liked. (I have decided not to include a picture, the only thing I won’t be sharing before the day, so apologies if you are disappointed!) I put a bid in covering the starting price, but was out the night that bidding ended. Still unsure of whether it was the dress, but willing to take the risk (it was beautiful whether or not it was right for me, I thought I could always sell it on), I gave David’s mum, Mary and sister, Rosie, my eBay log in details, gave them a limit to bid up to, crossed my fingers and went out with my friend. I checked up on my phone as the minutes dropped down to seconds and my heart sank as the cost went above my limit. “I must have liked it more than I realised” I thought to myself. I text Mary, thanking her for trying to secure the dress, feeling a bit deflated.. The reply: “Rosie and I bid over what you asked, we’ll make it up, it’s a beautiful dress and we think you’d look lovely in it”. As a smile hit my face and butterflies spread their wings in my stomach I realised how much I loved it (and my in-law’s to be)!
Next was the waiting… within the week a big white box arrived, and inside, wrapped in tissue paper, was the dress. Vivienne was the only one with me, and I tried it on… it fit perfectly. I am 5’9″, and a size bigger on my bottom half to my top half, so it was some sort of miracle; it was a sign, it was just right!
I rushed round to show it to my most important critics: my mum and sister, who approved, Mary, Rosie and David’s eldest sister, Anna, who definitely approved, and my maid of honour, Louise, who cried (in happiness I might add, not because I was going to get married looking dreadful!)
The funny part is… I am possibly the clumsiest person I know, I have heard the words ‘bull’ and ‘china shop’ more times than I’d like to admit, therefore my own wedding dress has been confiscated until it needs to be tailored as I’m not trusted with it! So in Mary’s spare room in a dress bag it shall stay, and when I am allowed a little peek now and then and the butterflies in my stomach surface, I know definitely made the right choice!
Next: What to wear with the dress of my dreams..