A former colleague once told me a story of when he was a best man. It wasn’t the usual sort of thing, we’ve all heard plenty of those; tales of how challenging it is to give a speech when under strict instructions not to:
a) mention the bride’s age (when she’s 35 and he’s 20 it’s kind of an elephant)
b) refer to the groom’s manhood (unsubstantiated rumours are a terrible thing)
c) refer to the number of exes present (the groom’s or arguably even worse, the bride’s)
No, the tale recounted to me was of how this particular groom clocked his bride as she entered the church and turned to his best mate, my colleague, uttering the immortal words, “What the fuck has she got on her head?”
I laughed when I heard this story, I held my sides I found it so funny, but oh, then when you put yourself in the place of that poor unsuspecting bride, the guffawing stops pretty quickly. No bride wants the words ‘fuck’ and ‘head’ used in the same sentence, on what’s supposed to be the best day of her life. Most annoyingly of all, my colleague couldn’t even recall what exactly it was stuck atop the wife-to-be’s head that such a thing was uttered. This bloke, I should point out, was a hair stylist too so you’d think something perching unnaturally on a human skull would be memorable, but apparently not.
I mention this as my mind has wafted dreamily to the subject of occasion wear this week. It is after all the season to be jolly aware of forthcoming marriages and the like (although impending divorce is more topical round my way). This time of year I get asked a lot about wedding attire. Be it frugality, age or simply taste, many modern brides simply don’t want to float down the aisle wearing a classic ivory wedding gown. A pale dress is going to be daunting for anyone who wears a lot of black and possibly unforgiving to anyone feeling less than perfect. Very few of us, given the choice, would opt for this look on any other big occasion, so it can be alarming that such an important day should be governed by the tradition of wearing white (ish) from head to toe if it’s just not your thing.
A bride to be recently told me she wished to wear a bright colour on her wedding day and we talked about the fabulous rich colours that would be lovely with her colouring. Having had a baby a year ago, she was keen to have something she could move in, could genuinely wear again and that didn’t cost the earth. I LOVE this kind of challenge but the truth is that now couldn’t be a better time to be on the hunt for beautiful gowns. It used to be that if you needed an evening dress in the summer or a bikini in the winter, you were asking for the impossible. Here in 2014, eye-catching gowns are not only plentiful, they’re on the high street at reasonable prices and not just for the festive period.*
Let’s pretend there aren’t any rules or expectations about how you look on the day you get married. Go for what makes you grin in a positively unflattering, wrinkle inducing manner, as Muriel did at her wedding. A wedding is tradition enough isn’t it? So if you want to wear purple, wear purple. I truly believe that the dress of your dreams, like the husband, is not necessarily what you imagined would be the one for you. It may be love at first sight or it may turn out to be a grower. It may be the first one you hold up against yourself, it may not. But here’s hoping it’s the last.
* All dresses featured are available currently, prices correct at time of writing.
Please leave me your comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the dresses!