I was never one of those girls who daydreamed of my special day, or thought about what I was going to wear or who would be waiting for me at the end of the aisle.
I was busy lining up my toys and bossing them around pretending to be their teacher, making my long suffering parents listen to another six page poem about how convinced I was that animals could talk. I dressed in a long t shirt with a flamingo in it and rainbow beads, wore ballet shoes at all times for no reason, had a collection of Polly Pockets, and genuinely enjoyed reading books, dusting my bedroom and rearranging my toys- what a gal. Eventually when I was older, I started daydreaming about the quiet calm girls in the bigger classes- but I was too young to work out why.
So it was strange for me to think about it all now. For starters it’s more complex when you’re marrying a woman. Cat is more of a tomboy and much to my horror teased me that she was going to get a puffy meringue dress. I’m quite girly and I told her I would wear dungarees and a tool belt on the big day if she did that, which put a swift end to her promise of flouncy petticoats.
And I am quite girly, but not a lot. I don’t really wear dresses and I like my hair to be big and messy – no gloss or shine- I’m six foot tall which means heels are out of the question if I don’t want my head cropped out of the pictures or to be giving off a Hagrid drag queen vibe. My friends were all so helpful sending ideas, but I knew deep down this is something I wanted to do with my wonderful Mum- who I call Madres.
I ended up booking some bridal appointments at the wedding dress boutiques in Aberdeen, and my Madres flew up from London for the weekend to be with me. She’s amazing at this sort of thing, and so supportive. We decided that if we didn’t find anything, then at least we could be together and drink wine so not all would be lost. We never in our wildest dreams thought we would actually find a dress on the first weekend.
Carringtons was first and it was amazing. I was totally overwhelmed because Jan asked me to pick out some dresses I liked and they were honestly just all white and I panicked because I had no idea. She helped me choose. The first one I tried on was so gorgeous that I would have been happy to have got that one. Jan was a total dream and gave us the best evening ever. I left wanting Jan to be my friend- which I think is a rather good sign.
The next day I went to Perfect Bridal, and I loved the dresses that I tried there and we had a lovely woman called Shyla help us who was amazing. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and we then visited Heritage Boutique. They were second hand gowns and all gorgeous, and I tried on one that made me feel like Belle in Beauty in the Beast. I mouthed ‘Tale as old as time’ in the mirror, and not for the first time had to remind myself to get a grip. Another added complication was that Julie who owned the place was also wonderful. I had to remind myself I was shopping for dresses, not looking for new friends! But like Jan and Shyla, she made us feel so comfortable and safe, and we laughed so much. Another unreal experience at a special place.
The next day, we went to the final place – Etiquette Bridal. Eilidh offered us Prosecco, which was outrageous so early but also made me feel like I was at a magical party. She couldn’t have made us feel more like celebrities- it was lovely. Mum and I started drinking as I tried dresses on- and I felt like I was in a fashion studio with the spotlights, huge mirrors and beautiful clothes. I tried on a dress, it felt like a glove going on, Eilidh fastened me into it, I stepped out- I cried- Mum cried- Eilidh didn’t cry because that would have been weird but she was smiling a lot- we drank more Prosecco, she put a glitter veil in my ponytail and a sparkly belt around my waist, and then we cried some more and then we said ‘YES’.
My mum loves this show called ‘Say yes to the dress’ and there was a sign there saying it, so we popped outside for a picture. I had a group of friends and family I was sending the pictures too- and they loved what I chose. I had my dress. And I can’t talk about it because it’s a surprise, but I know a few weeks later that Cat travelled to Edinburgh to pick up her bespoke suit (not a meringue you’ll be pleased to hear), and now we are proper grown ups with wedding outfits.
Some nights when I am stressed I think about the dress, but really I think about Cat. How much I know she will love it. How much I am looking forward to dancing with her in it. Sometimes we slow dance in the kitchen – so I thought about after the wedding maybe wearing it for that: until I was swiftly reminded that would be rather Miss Havisham of me.
My friends and family have started to ask what they need to wear. I tell them the same every time: wear what makes you feel comfortable and fabulous. If that’s a tracksuit and stilettos then who am I to stand in their way? I just feel so happy they’re all coming, that I’m marrying Cat, that I’m going to be in a dress that makes me feel like a movie star for a day. I feel lucky.
I’ve told Cat she isn’t allowed to read this blog post in case she finds out too much about the dress. I’ve told her that I got a flouncy rainbow one with plastic jewels on it and I’m rather enjoying her quiet unease that she suspects I’m joking but can’t quite be sure….