“We recently attended a wedding and the bride wore THE DRESS I brought to you a few months ago. I could have screamed!!”
So began an email from one of my brides whose dress I’m altering later this year. Imagine. You’ve just spent more money than you’ve ever spent on one item of clothing that you’ll probably only wear once, on arguably the most significant day in your life with all eyes on you… and someone has beaten you to it.
I imagine the feeling must be similar to that felt by Captain Scott’s Antarctic party when it finally ended the near 900 mile expedition at the South Pole over a year after setting out, only to find a note from their rival Norwegians informing them they’d beaten them to it by 35 days. But without the prospect of imminent death from hypothermic exposure.
Shop closures reduce choice
The closure of many traditional bridal boutiques – all but one within three miles of me in the last few years – is limiting choice for brides so the chances of buying the same dress as a friend or relative has increased.
Brides usually come to me for bespoke dresses because they have a good idea of what they want but it doesn’t exist in boutiques. A secondary reason is that they want the peace of mind that no-one could possibly have the same dress (or whatever) as them. But I digress.
This bride is actually the third customer I’ve had in this predicament, although hers was all the more galling because the dress in question was already the third one she’d bought and had to return. The silver lining is that she now has a new dress, completely different, but absolutely stunning, and we’re working on incorporating some of the meaningful details she loved.
Each of my other brides handled the predicament differently. The first asked me to completely restyle the back of her dress, removing most of it and dropping the flare point of her fit-and-flare skirt section (below). That made it sufficiently different from the bride with the same dress, plus there wasn’t a lot of crossover of guests attending each wedding.
The other bride’s dress doppelganger was closer to home: her new sister-in-law. This meant that a lot of guests – my customer’s entire family – would attend both weddings.
However, she decided to wear her dress anyway. You know how people complain that wedding dresses look completely different on the model? My bride reasoned that their different body types, flowers and accessories would make enough of a change that not many people would notice, and she didn’t mind too much if they did.
How do you think you would feel?