Melissa Keighley: When the chosen wedding dress turns into a ‘she’

So many things I never knew before wedding planning!

How much anti-wrinkle cream you’re given at wedding fairs (or is that just me? Please tell me that’s not just me). How everyone at said wedding fairs thinks my bridesmaid/chief wedding planner Becky and I “make a lovely couple” (good to know, I suppose, should heterosexuality start to pall for either of us.)

How people assume you’ll lose weight before the day, even if you’re actually quite a reasonable weight, thank you very much. How much pointless, random stuff you actually, suddenly need, really badly. And how the most reasonable, laid-back of women, i.e.. me, can suddenly become hysterical, obsessive maniacs.

I went from, “Oh, as long as it’s relaxed and enjoyable for all, I really don’t care about the details”, to “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T GET PETTICOATS TO MATCH THE PAGEBOY’S BUTTONHOLE?? DO YOU HATE ME? DO YOU ACTUALLY HATE ME? ARE YOU TRYING TO RUIN MY DAMN DAY?” in the space of about 18 hours.

Sorry everyone. Especially my ever patient bridesmaids. Sorry.

Is there a wedding class offered at school that I missed? Do I want ivy in my hair? I don’t think I do. I never have before. But how do I know? Do I want the bells rung? Sure, who wouldn’t? Do I want  to promise to obey him? There, at least, I’m confident.

But The Dress! The dress was most surprising by miles. I thought I wanted something short, plain and cheap, but no! Not after inviting three chums to the fitting, and trying on a dozen of the things.  Suddenly I needed something flamboyant, sexy, still perfectly acceptable in church; something to right every wrong I’ve ever suffered, from cradle to altar; something to make every girl I’ve ever known, hopefully a few I haven’t, die a little inside.

So I chose a beauty from The Bridal Gallery in Broadstairs. And all the cliches are true: once you see it on, you know, you just know. All three chums went “oh oh oh!”; my mother cried. So I knew. Suddenly I looked thin, and stunning, and utterly right: to hell with the expense, the impracticality; the fact the ludicrously lengthy train would be stuck over the road in the pub while I was in church saying my vows: it had to be had.

Once you’ve bought it, it becomes ‘she’.  “Here she is!” they cried. “Here’s your girl! Would you like to hold her? We’ll put her back in her bag now, shall we?” Um. OK.

Stylish but practical for the bridesmaids!

Divide the cost by the hours I’ll spend wearing the thing and it’s beyond ridiculous. There’s meant to be some correlation between the expense of a wedding and its likelihood to fail, so I’m saving on the long-suffering bridesmaids’ frocks (“Sackcloth! Practical AND stylish!”) and the food (“we’ll all be too busy dancing and gossiping to eat, surely!”)

Most surprising, though, is how an unashamed tomboy-cum-miser like me is enjoying every second of the process. There’s love. Turns out when you’re adored by the right one everything’s different.

And an absolute blast.