I’m usually brilliant at surprises and keeping things under wraps. But I have to admit – I’m finding it so difficult to keep my wedding dress a secret from Sean! It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I went back to Oxford for my very first dress fitting at the Bridal Box.
I had butterflies in the run up to the visit and could only pick at my food when my mum, my sister and I went for lunch and bellinis beforehand. I was just so nervous – what if I hated my dress? What if it looked terrible on me? What if I was completely wrong about everything and it just wasn’t what I wanted? After all, when else would I ever buy an important outfit in January that I wasn’t going to be wearing until the following October?
“Don’t worry, brides always arrive wondering if they’re still going to like their dress,” Dusanka, the lovely boutique owner, reassured me, after greeting us all like we were long lost friends and making us each a cup of coffee. “You’re going to love it. You chose this dress for a reason. Just you wait!”
Of course, she was absolutely right. Looking at my beautiful dress in the mirror, I was so relieved and so happy I could have cried. It was so much better than I could even have imaged.
“What do you think?” I asked, beaming, as I threw open the fitting room curtain to show my mum and Vez, who hadn’t been with us when we bought it.
Their reactions said it all. I hadn’t made a mistake. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face on the train the whole way back to London, and then I couldn’t stop looking at the photos we’d taken. (I still can’t, I scroll through them in a daydream when I’m bored on the tube. Sean is under strict instruction not to look through the photos on my phone in case he stumbles across them…) I was so happy I thought I was going to burst – yet I couldn’t even show him what I was so thrilled about.
It got me thinking about wedding traditions and where they stem from. I mean – why shouldn’t I show him the dress? (For the record, there’s absolutely no way on this earth that I will. He doesn’t know what style, material, shape, designer or even colour that I’ve gone for and it will remain that way until he sees me walking down the aisle. He agrees, he wants it to be a surprise – but I know plenty of brides who haven’t been so hush hush. And apparently, some brides even go wedding dress shopping with their grooms!).
I’m not hugely superstitious, and I have relented with one thing I thought I wanted to keep quiet. I wasn’t going to tell Sean anything about the bridesmaids’ dresses – but that went down the pan when we went to choose suits for him and the ushers and he was insisting on cravats in a hue that would have ruined the entire colour scheme of the wedding…
But other traditions we’ll be observing include not spending the night before the wedding together. No – Sean and the boys have commandeered the only pub in the village where we’re tying the knot so I’ll be in a cottage in the grounds of our venue with my mum, my mother in law, my sister, my grandma, my bridesmaids, a beautician, and any other female family/ friends who are on site and want to come over for a glass or two of fizz.
I’ve nearly decided on my something old (my grandma’s wedding ring), something new (my dress, obviously), something borrowed (perhaps some pearl earrings borrowed off my mum?) and something blue (…drawing a blank!), which is another tradition I don’t want to risk shunning.
I’m sure I’ll also throw my bouquet… but needless to say I won’t be walking down the aisle with a bunch of garlic and dill. Apparently that tradition, which has evolved into us carrying bouquets, originated in the times of the plague, when people covered their noses and mouths in a bid to just stay alive.
I also won’t be dressing my bridesmaids as clones of myself, which used to be done to try and trick evil spirits into not knowing which of them was the bride. (And therefore making them unable to curse her and her marriage, I suppose?) Evil spirits are also the reason behind wearing a veil. Which I will be doing – but purely for aesthetic purposes..!