I’m not one to hold back my feelings on things and following that precedent I fully admit that I am still on a high from getting married to Roger, my boyfriend of nine years, in September. Not only am I now married to my best friend but we also had a celebration with most of our close family and friends that surpassed all our expectations. And I was lucky enough to spend the day in my dream dress from Candy Anthony which I did not want to take off at the end.
So, in the first of several posts, I plan to celebrate the memory of our big day starting with paying homage to the dress, which I wore from just after getting my hair and make-up done until the early hours of the following day when my feet hurt from dancing to all the songs that my husband and I know and love.
When I first started to search for a dress I only knew three things:
1.) I did not want a traditional floor length dress or a hoop. I’m clumsy and I like to dance so any dress I chose for our big day had to be practical as well as pretty.
2.) I’m a UK size 14 on top and 16 on bottom so I needed a shop where that wouldn’t be an issue. Some wedding dress shops can be snobby about anyone over a size 12
3.) I really wanted a splash of colour somewhere on the dress. My husband and I have lived together for 7 years and I always like to go against the grain, so a pure white dress would not only be a lie but wearing one would be untrue to my personality too.
It is surprisingly difficult to find dresses with touches of colour in traditional wedding dress shops where I live. This is something I had already discovered when helping my good friend Jem to search for her dress when I was her bridesmaid. Therefore I knew that I had to think outside of the box for my search.
In the end, after browsing dress styles on hitched.co.uk, I fell in love with the cut of 1950’s style dresses and set my heart on a tea length dress. When I told Jem this she pointed me in the direction of Candy Anthony, a London-based dressmaker who specialize in 1950’s and 60’s style with a modern twist. After browsing their website I realised that they also had a Facebook page which is actually better than their website as there are many pictures of real brides wearing their dresses to browse through. From the moment I saw the gorgeous dresses with colourful petticoats and ribbon belts I knew I had to have one and e-mailed them to book an appointment.
Their shop is in central London on the South Bank in the historic Oxo Tower. It is a fantastic setting if not the most practical of places to get to. At my appointment I took my Mum and bridesmaids, Jem and Heather, to help me choose what I would buy. Originally I’d believed that a circle skirted dress with full length lace sleeves would be for me but after the very helpful Hazel from Candy Anthony got me into the style I realised it didn’t suit me. Instead I opted for a halterneck circle dress with sweetheart neckline covered completely in lace with a matching lace bolero, royal blue petticoat and ribbon belt. I felt like a princess in it and couldn’t stop twirling around the fitting room!
After that initial appointment it was six months before I got to go back for my second fitting and another three months later I actually got to pick it up. At all times I was kept informed of progress and when I visited the shop I was always treated with respect and friendliness. The dress and service are worth every penny spent.
It was rather amusing bringing the dress home on the Tube. The bag it is kept in is big enough to stand in so it certainly attracts some attention from fellow commuters. The reaction kept me smiling all the way home.
Once the dress was ordered it was time to find accessories that complimented it. On a daily basis I wear a long heart pendant, that was given to me by my husband when he proposed, and a pair of large drop earrings. I am also known to like a bit of sparkle. However the engagement necklace and my usual earrings wouldn’t have suited the style of the dress so I went to The National Wedding Show in February hoping to find a solution and thankfully I did.
After getting my hair and make-up done at home by the very clever Bride By Becky and her friend Jade on the wedding day, I got some assistance from my Mum and Bridesmaids to put on the vintage style headband and jewellery that I had ordered from the talented By Harriet. Alongside this I wore a watch gifted to me by my mother-in-law and a bracelet that had been a 30th birthday present from Heather.
As for shoes, they are a bargain that I’m still pretty proud of. Those that are targeted at brides can be quite pricey and most of the ones I had seen were also either too high or too flat for me. The highest heel I can wear and still walk properly in is about 3 inches.
Eventually I found a plain and simple pair of comfortable shoes which were a reasonable height in BHS. To bling them up a bit I was inspired by an article in Wedding Ideas Magazine to buy some cute shoe clips from Pretty Pink Toes which immediately make the shoes look far more expensive than they actually were.
With my outfit complete I was ready to go downstairs, show my Dad and wait for the car.
I was ready well within time which really helped to calm my nerves. I also felt a sense of relief when the car from Classic Wedding Cars turned up a little early. This was because Roger and his best man had travelled in it to the venue first. He is ordinarily not the best at timekeeping so it put my mind at rest to realise that he had managed to be on time for our wedding day.
Once our car arrived at The Cavendish and I saw a few of my friends and family just outside it really felt very real. My nerves came particularly to the fore during my pre-wedding interview with the registrars. I nearly got my age wrong when confirming details and I later discovered that my husband did get his age wrong. Thankfully we have now had our certificate corrected to reflect the truth.
Our Ceremony was very emotional aided by our friend Helen who did a reading of a poem for us. And apart from Roger calling me his “unlawful” wife, a moment that caused much laughter in the room, it all went without a hitch. I walked in to If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys and we signed the register to Keyshia Cole’s Signature. Once we were officially husband and wife you could not wipe the smiles from our faces for the rest of the day and it was thoroughly appropriate that we walked out to the upbeat I Choose You by Ryan Leslie.
As you can tell, music means a lot to Roger and I. We met dancing in a club and since we’ve been together one of our favourite things to do as a couple is going to concerts featuring the artists that we respect and enjoy.
Our first dance was to a very moving song by Eric Benet called One More Tomorrow. But as it does have quite a sombre tone we ensured that the next record to start the party off was Ne-yo’s Champagne Life. And party we all did until the music stopped. We could not have asked for a better day.
Love to you all.
Credit for all photography goes to our amazing photographer and all round nice person Louie Donovan. She did a fantastic job of catching shots that I would never have posed for under normal circumstances and she also caught some moments that I never realised that she had.We would recommend her to anyone. She makes you feel very comfortable and able to just be yourselves.