It was in the middle of an innocuous sentence about whether or not I could make my nephew’s birthday when the fact that I actually needed to buy a dress for the upcoming wedding actually hit me. I’m not sure why, I suppose it was the reality of planning for something a couple of weeks away plus the fact that February is virtually over that jogged something in my brain. I remember someone saying that I really needed to get a move on as apparently wedding dresses have to be chosen, made, altered, fitted and gawd knows what the hell else and I need to (as my mam would say) “get a wriggle on”! This stress was then heightened by the fact that darling daughter couldn’t get away until the middle of next month so I turned (not for the first time) to my younger sister. She sensed the slight bridezilla-esque trill to my voice and said she was available whenever I was so with a slightly calmer voice, I phoned and made an appointment with the wedding dress shop.
Now, seeing as this is a second time around wedding, you’d think that this would be easy; I’ve been through it before, done the “oooh, that’s beautiful” thing with the dress, invited all the distant aunties and arranged seating plans. Unfortunately, last time, my mother was around to help, I was a size 10 and most importantly, I wasn’t in a wheelchair for most of my days. So any previous experience was of little use and I had to start from scratch.
I honestly thought I was beginning to make peace with the fact that the damage from the fracture was now permanent, that I was now dealing in managing the pain not curing it and that this was now my way forward, as a bold, proud, some would say bolshy wheelchair user. But that all completely drained away the minute I wheeled into the bridal changing room with its beautiful gowns, the gorgeous high heeled shoes and the full length mirrors. One look at all that and I just burst into tears. It was like being on a game show and being shown ‘what I could’ve won’. None of these things would be mine, no whooshing down the aisle in kickass heels, no heavy gown with a long train, no prancing around the changing room pretending to be a supermodel asking the question “does my bum look big in this?”
Nope, those things were not for me. My increasingly loud blubbing had now come to the notice of the assistant who was lovely, got me some tissues and subtly retreated whilst my poor old sister did her usual brilliant job of comforting me and saying all the right things – “it won’t matter what you wear, you’ll look gorgeous”, it doesn’t matter that you’re in a wheelchair, he loves you anyway” and the winning “I know this isn’t what you envisaged but it is what it is so let’s just get on with it eh?”. One massive deep breath and a metaphorical slap on the cheek later, the tissues did their job and the waterworks ceased. I honestly didn’t expect it all to have such an effect on me but obviously my inner struggle for acceptance isn’t quite finished yet.
With a discreet nod from my sister, the assistant returned with a big smile and a wonderful “we’re going to do this together ok?”. The starter for ten was “what size do you normally wear?” Who knew that bridal sizes are at least TWO sizes bigger than your normal clothes size?? I was not amused at THAT fact especially when one of those sizes started with a 2 in “certain slim fittings”! I know I’m not Kate Moss but still….. And with that fact digested and another deep breath, we carried on…..
The next two hours were spent in various different poses, mostly with me being helped into multicoloured frocks, with my sister helping to pull dresses off over my head and with the assistant putting dresses on the floor for me to struggle into. All of them accompanied by the tugging to get them on, do them up, pin them, suggest alterations, add sleeves, belts or various sparkly bits and just general bridal carnage. The assistant was amazing, she knew exactly what I was talking about, cottoned on to the fact that I didn’t want traditional white, picked up on my love of bling and spent the whole time running up and down stairs picking out dresses. She brought long ones, short ones, mid length ones, far too long ones and everything else in between. To be fair, nothing was too much trouble and within an hour, we were all singing from the same hymn sheet. Now we were getting somewhere. The dresses that I actually liked started appearing, in many different colours, styles, shapes, sizes, various degrees of bling-ness and some right out-there “unusual”!
The main ‘thing’ was to find something that would look good in my chair, wouldn’t catch in the wheels and most importantly, made me feel amazing and without going into details (because obviously P reads this blog as well!) I eventually found “the one”! I think it has the “wow factor”, obviously not the same “wow factor” that you would have if you could walk around, sashaying and shimmying down the catwalk but I found the one that I thought looked damn good sitting in the chair and that’s what I was there for. A look passed between myself, the assistant and my sister that said “this is it” and we all smiled; yes, there were a few tears and there were a few more tissues needed but there were also many hugs and many many smiles and voila, the ‘job’ was done.
All that was now required was to….
A. find a seamstress
B. book appointment with said seamstress and
C. get the alterations sorted out (even though the assistant said I had a classic hourglass figure- Mind you, that normally just means I’ve got a fat arse but whatever, it sounded good to me….!!)
so whilst we’re still not finished, the job is at least now in hand.
Number one on my wheelchair wedding list is now ticked and I can turn to the next page and get started on the other extremely important things that need doing, thankfully they can all mostly be done online, so let’s charge up the IPad and get started eh……….