A tale of two wedding dresses

Contrary to what you might have heard, the Wedding of the Year ((c) every bloody news outlet in the entire world) is not that fancy-pants royal shindig next week. It’s mine.

Of course Wills, Kate, and the assembled throng of artistocrats and commoners alike may feel differently, but I have no interest whatsoever in the noble nuptials.  And although my wedding isn’t until December, I’m getting prepared – regular readers may remember that I’ve already blogged about potential cake designs.

Today, it’s all about the dress. Or rather, it’s all about two dresses, prompted by this tale in the New York Times. Briefly, a bride-to-be buys her dream dress, and when she goes to pick it up from the store it’s covered in black fluff – the result of a cleaning mishap.

Instead of throwing their hands up in apology and compensating the bride outright, the store owners drag her to the small claims court.  Although it works out OK in the end, it’s a stressful and distressing tale, and not entirely dissimilar to what I went through a couple of months ago – albeit with a swifter resolution, and significantly less legal action.

More than five years ago I had a near miss at getting married. Long story, ask me about it some other time, but I ended up with an absolutely beautiful, fairly expensive, and sadly unworn wedding dress. It looked like this, but all in gold. I wanted all red, but my mother vetoed it on the grounds that it would make me look like a whore in church. Thanks a bunch, mum.

Red and gold wedding dress

This is from the wonderful Stevies Gowns. They were brilliant..

The wedding never happened and the dress ended up in a wardrobe at my parents’ house, patiently waiting for my next Big Day.  Happily, I got engaged again, and  – having established that I could still just about squeeze into it – I put a big tick against “Dress” on my wedding to-do list, and thought no more about it (apart from trying to stay off the pies).

Then comes the twist. My parents suffered a horrific house fire last Autumn.  Fortunately they were OK, the dogs were OK, and they didn’t lose everything.  But my wedding dress got smoke damaged, and was sent off to the insurance company-approved cleaners for a spruce-up.

The dress never came back. Not because it was smoke-ravaged beyond saving, but because someone stood on it and tore it. 

At first I was relatively sanguine. It’s just a dress, I thought. After all, it was bought for a wedding that didn’t happen. But as the days passed I felt more and more unhappy. Not just because it was My Wedding Dress – it was also My Rather Expensive Wedding Dress, and I’m currently pretty damn skint.

Unlike the poor NYT bride, in my case the cleaning company coughed up pretty quickly  – presumably to reduce the chances of me going all Bridezilla on their ass. And instead of buying a Rather Expensive replacement dress, I bought a Very Cheap dress, and a Rather Expensive new bed. I figured that having a decent place to sleep was more conducive to a long and happy marriage than a fancy dress I’m only going to wear for one day…

What do you reckon? Have you ever had to buy a replacement dress for any occasion? And just how good does a new bed feel?

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9 responses to “A tale of two wedding dresses

  1. And is the new dress red this time?

  2. That is an amazing story of having a second chance to rethink your priorities. I hope you enjoy your wedding day, and enjoy your bed even more!

    • The bed is incredible – it’s the first new bed I’ve had since I was about 14. I’ve spent far too many years in 2nd hand beds and it’s such a good feeling to have a brand new one 🙂

  3. I gave my wife a budget, $600, to spend on a wedding dress so we could afford to buy a house. To this day she still wistfully looks at those $2-6000 gowns and says that she wishes she spent more money on the dress. I’m amazed how much people obsess about the wedding dress (and I worked on 300-odd weddings while I got my education. She complained that it meant I knew every trick in the book the wedding planners would try and to do and veto the ideas. Which is why our wedding didn’t cost 22 grand but closer to five).

    She did admit that I should have worn my best suit for the wedding (which is what I wanted to do) as the cut of my rental suit didn’t fit when the rental shop screwed up my order (never have a wedding in prom week).

    People forget that the wedding is just a day, although a special one, its the rest of your life you have to enjoy, and not having a massive load of wedding debt is the best way to start off (I wish my cousin, who invited 200 people to his wedding this summer, followed that advice).

    Personally I think, fewer people, just have a buffet and a disco, and let people have fun and hang out. That’s all you need for a wedding.

    On a brighter note, she does love the house, despite the current hole in the ceiling from a leaky bathroom at the moment…..

    • I can’t imagine spending upwards of £2000 on a wedding dress! It’s really hard to keep the costs under control though, even when we’re trying to do it on the cheap.

      • Well if you ever need some advice, don’t hesitate to ask and I can provide my limited experience. Among the other things not to buy, a wedding cake knife (the hotel or reception will have a perfectly adequate knife for the job), lots of flowers (single rose or lily in a glass water bowl will do, just buy two camcorders to record the wedding on tripods, and edit it afterwards, that saves 2-3 grand. If you know a semi-pro photographer who loves golf, pay for the photos in games or golf etc..

        I assume you’re making your own cake 🙂

        On the pro side, wear trainers or comfortable shoes for most of the day (otherwise your feet will kill you), and ask one of the bridemaids to prepare a doggy bag of food you can eat later, as you’ll be so busy mingling or excited, you won’t eat at the event, but will be starving by 2am when everything is closed.

        Take most of the wedding photos before the wedding. That way everyone doesn’t have to hang around for ages afterwards.

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