Monday, 28 November 2016

The story of buying my wedding dress | The Small Desk

We joined the queue at 10.50am. The Needle and Thread sample sale was due to start at 11am. I had convinced my Mum to go a little bit earlier as I thought there might be a queue, but nothing could have prepared me for the length of the queue. We walked up to the door of the sale room and before me I saw a thick crowd of women all waiting. I said to one of them, 'Are you queuing for Needle and Thread?', hoping she would say no, but knowing there was only one answer, 'Yes', she said. I looked at the queue thinking it was pretty bad but then I turned the corner. The line stretched all the way down a side street. I looked at my Mum and we both gasped in horror. 'How long have these women been here?' we asked each other.

The air was cold but we hesitantly joined the queue. At 11am the queue started to move slowly, but it wasn't until 11.50am when our toes were numb and our bones frozen to their core that we were finally allowed inside. I was checking on my Mum continually to see if she wanted to give up, but she held strong and we entered the sale room... to another queue...

'Have you coats ready for the cloakroom', the security guard barked, 'but I'm cold', I said. Rules are rules I was told. You had to pay a pound entry each and then you were allowed to enter the chaos. Women were skittishly darting around the room trying to find a dress they liked. Some were hoarding dresses on a rail for others they had helped seek the perfect dress for. There were queues for communal dressing rooms that blended into one. Others gave up on the queues entirely and stripped down to their underwear behind a rail, and some just in the middle of the room. Dignity had escaped some and they had turned into animals fighting for the best bargain of the day.

Prices were at rock bottom, clothes more than 50% off their recommended price. It was no wonder these women were going crazy; here was a chance to buy something otherwise out of their reach. Some were there looking for a bargain for the Christmas party and others, like me, had come to find their wedding dress.

Often a wedding dress can cost in the thousands but I was determined to find something I loved in budget. I've done that for a lot of items I own in life; I buy beautiful designer furniture from outlet stores, scour the internet for discount codes and have signed up to banks purely for free money or vouchers.

Ever since I got engaged I knew my dream dress would be a Needle and Thread dress. They were out of my price range at around £600 to £950. But then one day I found this sample sale and everything changed.

We had been there for just over an hour and then I saw a girl trying on the dress I wanted. Then and there in that moment I knew that was the dress I wanted. I just stared at her, and said to my Mum, 'that's it'. Out of nowhere she put one of the sizes of the dress back on the rail. I saw her put it back, I stared at it in disbelief. I didn't know if she really had meant to put it back, but then my Mum said 'get it!', and it was like in slow motion I took the dress off the rail, looked at it with wonder and amazement that it was my size.

'How am I going to try it on?', I asked my Mum. 'Well, you might just have to take your top off', she replied. I thought for one moment and then looked at the male security guards around and thought, 'no, I don't, I'm not doing that for a dress'. I tried my wedding dress on over my T-shirt and jeans. Yes, that's right, no ifs, no buts, I put it over my entire outfit. Even over the top of jeans and a T-shirt it looked stunning and I felt incredible in it. 'That's it, that's the one', my Mum said, and that was that, it was decided.

Even though I had budgeted it for it, at the last moment before we got to the check out my Mum said 'I'm paying for this', I was so surprised and tried to argue against it but she insisted and it was a beautiful gesture. My Mum bought my wedding dress for £150 (down from £650) in a sample sale in Mayfair. In amongst the chaos, madness and down right rudeness of a lot of the women there, we managed to maintain our dignity (just) and succeeded in winning at the art of the sample sale.


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