Our elder daughter is getting married, so we’ve been hunting for ‘the dress’, and what an adventure it was. Some tips for those in the same position:
1. Make sure your daughter is sweet-natured, thoughtful and devoid of diva-like tendencies. Our daughter scored highly on that front. We had a wonderful day. But for those whose daughters hover in the danger zone, leave all sharp implements at home as there might well be temptation to take a swipe at the daughter, the petticoats, the price-tags, the sales-assistants, yourself …
2. Make only three wedding dress appointments – yes, you can only try on wedding dresses at an appointed time with a bridal lady to hand – in a day. Any more and you’ll die of saccharine overload.
3. As you approach appointment 1, practise your most enigmatic smile. You’ll need it, since you won’t want the bridal lady to know that you’re mostly thinking ‘Cripes!’ ‘Aaaaargh!’ or ‘Holy Meringues! What IS that?’
4. As your own beautiful daughter strides out looking every inch the model, try not to smile too smugly. This is hard, but try to remember that it’s really just luck that your bride is far superior to the other brides-to-be. Well, luck and, naturally, your superlative genes.
5. Try not to stare at the brides squeezing into dresses that, ahem, are not really for the squeezable. Fat must go somewhere, and with those strapless lace-up dresses, it squidges round to the back and pokes out through the laces. Brides! Brides! Brides! Don’t just look at the front! Remember that at your wedding, the congregation will stare for some time at the back! Banish the bulge.
6. In fact, banish those lace-up gowns altogether. It takes somebody very special to look good with dangly tail, even if the tail is ribbon at £50 an inch.
7. Perhaps avoid the strapless numbers, too, which, I grant you, having trailed round the shops, is easier said than done at the moment. Where did this fashion come from? Strapless is suitable for the red carpet, but for your wedding? Really?
8. Notwithstanding the above, dear, excitable bride-to-be, try on everything, the more implausible, impractical and downright impossible the better. You’ll only get the one chance (with luck), and if both you and your mother are in the mood (we were), it’s a day of hoots at the horrors and gasps at the gorgeous. When you flag, remember Maria from The Sound of Music. Now that was a DRESS.
9. And don’t forget the veils. If nuns’ veils were ivory tulle, there would be no shortage of vocations.
9. In the end, come home and look on-line at off-the-peg dresses. Exchange glances with daughter. Find style. Find size. Put small figure into the ‘amount’ box. Click. Wait for the ‘order accepted’ then open a bottle of champagne and drink the lot extremely quickly. You’ve survived.