My Wedding Dress

So, as you’ve probably guessed by the title, I got married! It’s taken 23 years and a 13 year engagement but we got there in the end. I never wanted a big do (probably why we left it so long) so we decided to do the slightly cheesy thing and elope to Gretna Green.

Of course the first thing I did after booking the date (31st May) was start planning the dress. I’d been looking for an excuse to make a blue Liberty Carline dress since I made my Edith blouse (this was probably a factor in deciding to get married) but finding more proved difficult. My last piece was bought on eBay (I had an email notification and was quick to snap it up before someone else did) I couldn’t find any on Google and my hope began to fade. I tried an image search and after a couple of pages found a small, dark picture, clicking the link took me to Shauket, to my joy it was in stock and available online. I ordered four metres, just to be on the safe side.

The end of May seemed a long way off, I thought I could wait until the end of March before starting work on it. I spent the winter looking for the right pattern but found it a struggle. I knew I wanted something fit and flare (with a frou frou petticoat) but kept settling on a pattern only to change my mind a week later. Time quickly got around to the end of March and I still hadn’t made a decision. Any detail would be lost amongst the print so it needed to be simple, basically a boatneck princess seamed bodice with a full circle skirt. The lightbulb moment finally happened; I realised it was so simple I could draft it myself. I already had a princess seamed bodice block and just needed to add a circle skirt as a basic starting point. Determined to get the fit perfect I did a couple of muslins before sewing a whole dress rehearsal dress. I initially tried a wide scooped back but because the front neckline was so wide it was slipping off my shoulders I ended up with wide boat neckline (the shoulders were resting right on the edge of my shoulders) and a V back which ended just above my bra band.

By the time I was making my dress rehearsal dress it was halfway through May. Running out of time I put the zip in, checked it fitted then abandoned it to start on the real one (it still needs the back seam sewing up and hemming) I used a very soft lightweight cotton for the lining which was part of my winning bundle from Fabworks Millshop. To give both fabrics a bit more body and make the sewing process easier I went to town with the spray starch which worked a treat. The good thing about lining dresses is that all the seams are hidden away so I cheated a bit and cut dress and lining out with pinking shears. Construction went really quickly. I bound the hem of the dress and lining with satin bias binding and also added in seam pockets!

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Initially we planned to keep it a secret, just run away and tell everyone after the event. I however let it slip one night after too many glasses of wine at our neighbourhood ‘book club’ (we spend five minutes talking about the book and the rest of the night drinking copiously and gossiping about the neighbours, in fact we haven’t had a set book for three months now!) It became more and more difficult to keep a secret so in the end we had to tell everyone but still managed to keep it a secret from the twelve year old! He just thought we were going to Scotland for a holiday and needed a shirt and tie for meals out at posh restaurants. We waited until we were at the hotel and let him open the box with the rings in. After a lot of initial puzzlement and OMGs he was thankfully pleased about the situation.

I’d imagined Gretna Green to be part of a town (the British equivalent of Las Vegas) but it stands alone in a tiny hamlet. It’s understandably a tourist attraction, there are shops and restaurants to cater for this but if anything it adds to its charm.

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I hadn’t really thought about the wedding itself and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Surprisingly nervous, and even a little emotional in the morning, I tried to counteract my disposition with a couple of glasses of bubbly whilst getting ready, followed by a vodka and tonic in the bar (yes, I was slightly drunk on my wedding day, I think ‘giddy with excitement’ is a good euphemism)

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The day itself couldn’t have been more perfect and the weather was glorious. We didn’t have our own witnesses so the Registrar disappeared and came back with two Australian tourists (Ann and Jessica, we’ve since been in touch.) My Son gave me away as well as acting as best man, and we were led in and out by the resident Scottish Piper (Alan) The ceremony itself was very moving, full of happiness, interspersed with laughter and more than a little giggling. The pockets came in handy as I had somewhere to keep my tissue. As we got married the day after Whitsun bank holiday the place was quite busy. My Husband (still getting used to that) told me afterwards that there must have been fifty tourists taking pictures outside but I was completely oblivious. We’ve since got the proofs back from the photographer and I have the biggest grin on all of them. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do it again. If anyone is looking to have a small scale wedding I’d highly recommend it!

We had a few days in the Lake District for our honeymoon and again the weather was perfect. I’d packed boots, sweaters and waterproofs but ended up living in my Southport dress and Monetas.

Our wedding day also coincided with the last day of Me Made May, I haven’t had time to blog but posted daily selfies on Instagram. Here’s a compilation;

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The main gap I noticed was a shortage of sleeveless dresses so I have three lined up, starting with the Grainline Alder. Since beginning this however the weather has been wet and horrible so I’m now wondering if sewing a winter dress will conversely bring the sunshine back.

So I am finally a married woman. It does feel different but I can’t put my finger on how or why. Many people complimented me on my dress and it felt good to say ‘I made it myself!’ The great thing about the dress is that I can wear it again, and every time I wear it I’ll be filled with memories of its first outing. x

 

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