Our engagement was unexpected – at least by me. Himself put me off the scent by saying that he felt we were as good as married already . This was meant to be his subtle way of gently warming me up for the big question but I heard it as bloke speak for “Why would I want to ruin a perfectly good football day and wear a penguin suit?”
It started with a dress…
A few months later, I was shopping for a last minute New Year’s Eve party dress and looking through the racks of sale dresses. One of them was a beautiful bias cut, full length tea gown with an intricate tapework and bead appliqué in shades of pale honey that flattered my pallid office skin. The dress came from Dutch company Hunza. Hunza aren’t a big name in the UK but do make clothes for Phase 8 – you can see an example of one of their dresses here, pictured right.
It was lovely and 75% off but more red carpet diva wear than New Year with friends. Where would I wear a dress like this ?
Related: More real brides…
And behold, the bridezilla stirred within my head and shrieked that I could wear the dress to my wedding . Up to that point, I’d rather shied away from the thought of wedding dresses: I don’t like wearing white and I got the meringue thing out of my system many years ago when I used to go to student May Balls etc . I like good clothes but I’ve never really been all that girly. If I press my nose against a shop window, I’m more likely to lust after a perfectly cut black suit than a frock.
So, I bought the tea gown and hid it away in the back of my wardrobe in a suit cover and congratulated myself on getting that chore out of the way.
Except, I hadn’t …
And the (other) bride wore black
A few months later, we found ourselves at a friend’s wedding . The bride wore a little black dress with a cream linen and raw silk jacket over the top and the groom just wore a normal suit . Which sounds casually chic and homey, except it wasn’t.
The groom’s pretty teenage nieces had come in their prom dresses, both mothers were wearing full hat and pastel suit combinations . I was wearing a “safe” pastel floral that I’d bought from Rene Derhy for our holiday in Rome.
Suddenly we all felt horribly overdressed and self conscious. I felt that I had committed the unpardonable social solecism of looking more bridal than the bride. No one wants to seem as if they can’t be bothered to dress smartly for someone else’s special day and the invites had said smart casual which in wedding terms usually means you don’t have to wear a hat in the daytime or a long dress in the evening and that you can probably wear your Armani blazer rather than a suit if you’re a chap.
The bride had looked chic and elegant in her outfit but you couldn’t help wondering if she was planning to nip back into the office and chair a few board meetings between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception.
To a certain extent, I think that it’s the bride’s day and she should wear what she wants but this bride had left us guests with no middle ground as guests . Was I doing the same thing?
Watch this space for Olivia’s next installment to find out how ‘himself’ felt about her low-key outfit choice!