The first stop: an independent wedding dress company located in a loft-style space with posh candles burning and a long rail of silky gowns. “Gosh, none of them are white anymore, are they?” my mother said, observing the ivory colours. My sister dropped her voice to a whisper: “No, Mum, because I’m not a virgin.” And all this before we even had a sip of champagne.
She disappeared into a dressing room and shimmied out in various frocks. Halter-neck, backless, flapper-style, asymmetric, at which point my mother pulled a face. “Mum hates asymmetric,” Rosie explained to the designer. “You know those cars which have asymmetric wheels on the back?” Mum clarified, comparing her daughter to the behind of a Land Rover.
Meanwhile, I took surreptitious photographs. Certain boutiques forbid photos so their designs can’t be copied somewhere cheaper, which means I now have multiple photos of my sister in various dresses on my phone, taken at peculiar angles from between my knees like some sort of wedding dress pervert.
She looked ravishing in all of them, but we had another appointment to get to, so it was on to the 243 bus (“a bus, goodness me!”) to the next boutique where the dresses were even less traditional. If you or someone you know is looking to sashay down the aisle in something entirely see-through, or as a milkmaid in a dress with a ruffled skirt, or in a very small, dual-purpose frock in which you can say your vows and wear as a bikini on your honeymoon, then this is the place.
Our favourite here was a very beautiful, unique dress fashioned from heavy linen and crepe in which Rosie resembled Lizzy Bennet on her way to church. It also had pockets. “Pockets are a major trend right now,” said the sales assistant solemnly. As are more colourful wedding dresses and jumpsuits, apparently. But was the linen dress the One? I can’t tell you because that has to remain a secret until the big day. But by this point, having soldiered through another mimosa, I felt quite emotional.