Tomorrow is our 23rd wedding anniversary. We seem so young in the photographs, it feels like another world away ... and in other ways, it feels like yesterday. It was a beautiful, sunny, day ... the previous day had been full of horrific thunderstorms and flash flooding, like lots of us have been experiencing this week, and we just thought our wedding day would be like that too.
We had a quiet wedding, as money was tight, we had a 2 year old son and had just bought our first proper home which needed total renovation, so fripperies were dispensed with. I hired my wedding dress, and although I try to never regret anything I've done, I do regret that I hired, rather than bought. To hire the dress was £35, to buy £70. I know it doesn't sound much now, but at the time it was, especially as friends were telling me that I would just shove it in the loft and forget about it.
It really wasn't typical of the time, this was the era of huge, meringue-like confections, but that wasn't me at all. It had a touch of the Kate Middleton's at the top (it was too big as I lost weight before the wedding, but because it was hired, couldn't be altered), but had a full, ballerina-length skirt. This is a photograph of the back view of the dress from the brochure.
Three years ago, we went on a weeks holiday to London. It was August and London was basking in a heatwave of massive proportions. We were ambling along Carnaby Street (as you do) and my sister spotted a little alley with chairs that were calling out to her. We strolled down and came upon a quadrangle of little shops on 3 levels. There were craft shops, knitting shops, baby shops ... and a beautiful vintage clothing shop that had the most gorgeous American-prom style floral dress in the window. Millie and my niece, Daisy were oohing and aahing over it, so we went in. In the centre of the shop, taking pride of place was
MY WEDDING DRESS!!!
I'm not for a minute saying it was the same one, but it was the same size. I excitedly told the sales assistants that I had worn this dress 20-odd years ago and they asked me if I would send them a photo of me on my wedding day, so that they could put it on the dress with the date. It was priced at £750, over ten times the price it would have cost me, had I bought it.
The value of it doesn't interest me, but I can't help thinking it would have made a beautiful prom dress for my daughter next year, who as you know, loves all things vintage. Or even, in years to come, her wedding dress.
I didn't get round to sending a photo, but instead, the following spring, while attending the Country Living Fair, I took a photo round to the shop. It was closed down, empty, with a few cardboard boxes lying around the floor. Another victim of the recession. The shop was called Fur Coat and No Knickers.
Enjoy your weekend,
Love, Claire xxx