What Jo Did… Got A Case Of Dress Double Vision.

She’s Rustic, She’s Romantic… It can only be Jo our latest newbie Real Bride to get blogging!

Everyone give her a big welcome to the polka dotted pages, her first post makes for a fascinating read. Jo is clearly already brimming with bucket-loads of RMW-esque vision…

Well hey y’all!

Ahem, sorry – still mentally in Tennessee after my night with Dolly Parton last Friday.
So, it’s been 2 months since I discovered I was RMW’s Rustic Romance Real Bride for 2011-2012. TWO MONTHS?! Errrrm, where has the time gone, people? I’m guessing it’s probably gone the same way as the 10 months since Mr A proposed…which means we’re half way through our engagement. And we’ve done, well, very little actually!

This summer was meant to be all about sorting the big and expensive parts of the day: venue, photography, catering, but thanks to a few issues needing to be ironed out with our venue, we’re yet to sign the contract, and therefore can’t book anything else, as we don’t actually have a confirmed date(!) or any W-day insurance.

So, I’ve done what every girl would do. I’ve bought another dress. So now I have two wedding dresses. I shall be wearing both on our W-day. AT THE SAME TIME… My beautiful, bargainous Lusan Mandongus as the dress it’s supposed to be, and the equally gorgeous, and even more bargainous Christiana Couture dress as… a veil!
Let me explain…

Back in July, I mentioned to Mrs A senior, future ma-in-law (and all round legend), that I would L-O-V-E a cathedral length lace veil. At that point, I’d found a plain tulle veil edged in thick lace for a WHOPPING £350.00. Sorry folks, but I just couldn’t justify spending that much wonga on something I’d only have on for a few hours. She suggested making one, if we could source some really lovely lace. An excellent plan!

Weeks later, I went to an awesome charity sale, selling everything from books to blankets, and everything in between (and I mean EVERYTHING). I joked to the friend I was with the I was on the lookout for an antique lace veil, then promptly started trawling through jewellery, books, furniture, homeware like the magpie I am, before finally ending up in the clothes section. Spotting a wedding rail amidst the chaos, I spotted what I thought was the DREAM VEIL scrunched up on the floor.

It was actually the train of a rather fantabulous dress, nestled between a terrible early-90s meringue, with lots of puffy attachments (no offence intended to anyone approaching their china W-anniversary!), and an awful shiny number from the 70s that made me sweat just looking at it. I stood there for a while, mouth open like a goldfish, thinking that it was too good to be true – enough tulle/lace to make a veil (Cathedral length if extra tulle could be added). As if to seal the deal, the price was just £30.00 (reduced, for some reason, to £25.00 when I came to pay).

I spent most of that afternoon debating whether or not it would be sacrilegious to pick such a beautifully made couture dress apart, but came to the conclusion that I was rescuing the dress from more time spent in somebody’s wardrobe or attic?!

When I showed it to Mrs A Snr, she said it was serendipity, which I think is absolutely right! A few hours later, she’d removed the tulle from the main part of the dress, and bought extra tulle and a veil pattern the next day. When I realised I hadn’t taken a ‘before ‘ picture of the dress to show you lovely peeps, she pinned it back together and took some pictures. 2 weeks later, she’d made a mock-up out of net, and is experimenting with ways to ensure that it becomes the perfect veil – speedy work, and she said she is loving the challenge. So much more fun than just buying a veil, no?

In other news, our vintage china collection (cups, saucers and cheese/cake plates) is complete, and I’ve managed to hire it out to other brides a few times, recouping some of the cost (whoop!). It’s been great fun to collect, trudging around car boot sales and charity shops. Some of the sets are so pretty, I know I’ll want to keep them all after the wedding (in a cottage with barely enough room for normal mugs and plates, let alone a whole world of teacups!).

My teeth have already moved quite a bit after only three weeks and two sets of Invisalign aligners (definitely less gappage than before). Charlotte’s ‘Plastic fantastic’ post, and Vix’s debut ‘Tank girl’ post earlier this week have been űber-helpful in putting my ‘have I done the right thing in spending all this moolah on my gnashers?’ qualms to bed. Thank you ladies! Only nine more aligners, and four months to go!

We met with the photographer we’re hoping to use a few weeks ago – the wonderful Guy Hearn. I worked with him on a wedding when I worked at Blenheim Palace, and during the wedding breakfast, he showed me the pictures he’d already taken, and I was hooked! Of all the hundreds of weddings I’ve ever worked on, Guy’s incredible photos stand out in my mind, along with his fun, yet genteel manner, and the ingenious way he manages to capture the full spectrum of W-day emotions whilst being very discreet. He is a true gent, and I wasted no time in getting him put on the recommended suppliers list at work, whilst simultaneously vowing to call him up if I ever got engaged. Fast forward 3 years (almost to the day), and after hearing me go on, and on, and on about how fantastic Guy is, Mr A finally got to meet him, and thought he was ruddy marvellous too. Hurrah!

As I type, Mr A is putting together our save-the-dates. Getting married on a Thursday in half term means all our guests (except the fellow teachers), will need to take the day off work, plus the Friday if they come to our yummy brunch the day after. In the interest of being eco-friendly (and bank balance friendly) we’ve taken photos of ourselves in lots of different places, holding signs asking people to ‘Please save the date for our wedding’, and turned it into rather splendiferous slideshow. In the words of Miranda’s mother, making it has been “such fun”! (I love that programme), and they’re ALMOST ready to send! Eeeeek!

By the next time I write, we should have paid our deposit for our venue (creases almost ironed out!), booked the band and photographer, sorted our W-day insurance, and sent out the save the dates. Fingers crossed, I’ll have an appointment with the bridesmaids’ & flowergirls’ dress maker, and florist, and will have somehow managed to persuade Mr A to let me have our handsome ginger cat, Elvis, as ringbearer. My pleas are currently falling on deaf ears(!)

I jest, of course, but just wanted to introduce him to you all! Rather like Alex84’s choccy Labrador, he means a great deal to us (and has had 8 boxes of china taking up the whole of his living room floor space for quite a while now).

So, anyone else wearing two dresses on W-day? And please share your tales of wedding related bargain hunting – I do love a good bargain, especially when completely unexpected!


Jo x

PS: Do you think it’s acceptable to have a Dolly P themed hen do?!

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

36 thoughts on “What Jo Did… Got A Case Of Dress Double Vision.

  1. Wow, that veil is going to be stunning – you can’t beat a cathedral length veil to create a bit a of elegance and drama at the same time, and yay! I had a Lusan Mandongus dress too, they’re soooo pretty and beautiful. x

  2. Jo – the veil is going to be GORGEOUS! I think you’re either very clever or very lucky, or a fabulous combination of both (!) – I can’t wait to see that veil on you and for such a bargain price.

    I feel your pain re the venue negotiations … keep plugging away, its all you can do really, although the temptation to stick 2 fingers up and run away is tempting too at time 🙂

    As for bargains … well, I’ve just bought 250 silk carnations for £20 on eBay. Not quite sure if it will work for what I have in mind, but if it does, it will feature in a future post!

  3. A Dolly P themed hen do? It’s not only acceptable, it should be mandatory! I would love to see the photos of that. My 6-months-pregnant-at-the-time sister sang ‘Here You Come Again’ on the karaoke at my hen do, it was a perfect rendition made even better by the Dolly P wig she had on.

  4. love love loving the whole two dresses shenanigans – v clever and economical if you ask me!

    and yes, you should DEFINITELY have a DP themed hen

    mrs r.now x x x

  5. DP Hen do!? I think the hens is the one thing you can be TOTALLY selfish about. The wedding is usually a little about compromise between you and him, and the rest of the family to an extent. But the hen do is all you. If you want DP, you have it! It’s your Big Night!

  6. I forked out for Invisalign a couple of years ago and it’s well worth it (ask for a wire behind your teeth to keep them from shifting once you’re done with the aligners).

    That veil is going to look stunning!

  7. What a beautiful dress/ veil!!!! That’s going to look spectacular – how lucky to have such an amazingly talented mother in law!!

    I LOVE the cat – I’ve been trying to convince Tom to have our cat as ring-bearer but he’s also resisting… 🙂 I may have to sneak a pic of him in to my post next week now….

    Can’t wait for the next post!

  8. I can’t believe you managed to find that dress at a charity sale! I agree with the MIL – must be serendipity! (Elvis is gorgeous by the way) x

  9. Fabulous first post – can’t wait to read your next one now.

    What an amazing MIL2B you have! I can tell the veil is going to be goregous.

    My Mum treated me to Dolly concert tickets and a night in hotel as a wee pre-wedding treat a few weekends ago – was fab!! DP hen night sounds even better! x

  10. Love the veil/dress – it’s going to look stunning!

    Well done on the teeth front, sounds like brilliant progress and it’s so nice to be able to *notice* the changes. I’m envious of you being able to go the invisalign route – I have about 4-5 months left of my fixed brace (= train tracks ;-( ) treatment left (after more than 2 years!) and I cannot *wait* to see the final result and have my mouth back to ‘normal’!! By then wedding planning (or panic?) will be in full swing as well as ours is the day before yours (but in Italy 😉

    Loving the pic of Elvis, he’d make a *very* handsome ring bearer! x

  11. Great post Jo, you seem to have everything under control already!

    Your veil is going to look stunning and so personal which makes it even better!


  12. Aaaah, thank you ladies for all the dress/veil, MiL2B & Elvis love!
    It was quite nerve-wracking waiting to see this go up, so it was lovely to see your kind words.
    @Emma H – which LM dress did you have? I have honestly never seen any that I didn’t love.
    @Shirley – awesome bargain! I think I know what you might be doing with them, but will wait and see!! ;o)
    @Celine – lets keep plugging away with the ringbearer thing – you never know…!
    @Kate & HelsRM – am hoping the Invisalign will be worth it!! Hels – so exciting that you’re almost done. Would have opted for train tracks if I wasn’t working with kids.
    @Karen – I will ask Adam about this as I am a bit rubbish with stuff like that! Not sure if I can put a video on my next post…
    And for all of you commenting on Dolly P – thank you! I will show my bridesmaid who is arranging the hen – I mentioned it to her on Sat, and she clearly thought I was bonkers. Kathryn – can you kind out where your sis got the wig? I want one (to wear at home).
    Have a lovely evening all. xxx

  13. Great first post!!!!

    And bring on the Dolly P Hen party photos!!!!

    Oh and amazing bit of bargain hunting can’t wait to see you in your veil in all its full glory now!!!!

    As for your cat!!!! Sooo cute, my little Doris is sitting on my lap as I type!!! Which she is not happy about, as she thinks I should be stroking her instead, so I typing one handed!!!
    Wouldn’t let her be a ring bearer though, shes a right little Diva!!!!

  14. It was one from Teokath in Wimbledon called ‘sasha’, I loved wearing it, so simple but beautiful – so sad I don’t get to wear it again! X

  15. Love the blog Jo, especially the legend bit! I hope I can live up to the hype and have my fingers crossed that I can do justice to that beautiful lace.

  16. A very witty post Jo that has led me to comment for the first time! I can’t remember when I first found the polka dot pages but reading everyone’s posts is now a nightly ritual!

    I like you am also collecting vintage china for our wedding next year in August so we have tea cups etc. stored on the bed in our little spare room. (I love our cosy cottage but it’s not big on space!) Unfortunately our cat is unhappy with the fact that she has lost space on her favourite napping spot! Your mention of ‘Miranda’ made me lol as it is my favourite programme!

    I look forward to more of your posts! x

  17. Welcome, Sammy – I’m honoured to have got your first comment!
    I think we should put your cat in touch with Elvis! He’s currently lounging in the exact spot where the boxes were until recently, as if to prove a point!
    Oh, and Charlotte – you must be wearing rhinestones if you’re going to gatecrash!

  18. Hey,

    Loving your post! I’ve been reading the rmw pages for a few months now and you’ve inspired me to make my first post too!
    I’m thinking of having two wedding dresses. After finding out we couldn’t get a registrar when we wanted we decided to have the wedding breakfast before the ceremony! With my track record my mother and miltb don’t trust me not to spill a canapé, drink or something down me, or just put my heel through the back of my dress – all things that have happened at various events in the past! So – what does a girl do? I’m in two minds – i have fallen in love with a dress that I would love to wear all day but a) everyone will see me wearing it before the ceremony (which I’m fine with – not one for lots of attention!) and b) I could potentially damage it before the ceremony! so maybe better off having two dresses…

    It would be great to hear if anyone else is planning their day in a different order, I’m not one to follow rules however it would be great to hear whether you know of brides that have done this and/or thoughts on the 1 dress or 2 idea!

    I’ll stop waffling now! Love the ring bearing cat by the way! Xx

  19. Oh it is so great to hear of other brides-to-be with braces! Are there many of us out there? I’d been considering work for the last three years to correct shoddy orthodontics during my younger years. I didn’t have the guts, until we got engaged and started to plan the wedding. It still took me months to get round to having the consultation (felt weirdly nervous), but now I’m a week in to fixed braces and will have them on til March 2012…our wedding is 5 April 2012!

    I couldn’t feel less glamorous at the moment, but I know it will be worth it. I figure some people spend this much on the dress, so why worry! (my dress was a vintage bargain, well under budget).

    Good luck Jo! x

  20. Wow Chloe (welcome to RMW by the way!) – this sounds awesome, and I think being different is wonderful. Are you having dancing etc after the ceremony? Because you could always change back into the first dress again (or have a third!?!).
    If the dress you have fallen in love with is what you’d like to wear all day, could you change your shoes from white/ivory, to bright? Swap a glitzy hairpiece for a veil? hange your hair and make up a litte? Add a black/navy/sparkly waistband or other accessory to the dress? And not have your bouquet until after the wedding breakfast? How exciting – you can have two looks for the day!
    Lel – I’m coming to realise there are more and more of us, which is great! I know what you mean about not feeling glamourous! Although can take the Invis. out (and have to to eat/drink), I still have sticky-ou attachments on 7 teeth, for the brace to grip on to. I’m assured they can’t be seen,but I’m 100% sure they can!

  21. Well, having been a lucky recipient of Jo and Mr A’s fantabulous save the date slideshow, I can confirm it is indeed a work of art. And so clever and original too. Jo – you are a legend and in the unlikely event that I ever get married, I hope you will come out of wedding planning retirement to help me do mine!! I love the veil idea and it surprises me not one bit that you found something so amazing in a charity shop, having seen you in action in that antiques cellar 😀

    And for what it’s worth, I reckon that Mr Elvis McLovin would be an awesome ring-bearer.

    Looking forward to the next blog!

    G xxx

  22. Love to read your thoughts Jo,
    thoroughly entertaining! How do you find the time to be so organised whilst training? I have endless respect 😉

    Lots of love,
    Gem x

  23. We are having an english tea party themed wedding and I wanted teapots filled with meadow-esque flowers for our centre pieces and the average price for florists wasa whopping £25 each (or a -sorry I cant provide the tea pots) so instead I have trawled charilty shops and car boots and have some beauties and with my nan offering to grow all the flowers I have done my centrepieces for just £4 each. I love a bargain! 🙂

  24. @jingles – not sure if you’ll read this because it was a wee while ago, but I am LOVING your bargain-hunting prowess! £4.00 per table is fantastic!
    We’ve just been to an antique-y/retor/bric-a-brac/general tat warehouse in St Albans and got some bits for our tables – I love a good rummage!

  25. Hello Jo! In agreement on the teeth. Find a Canadian/American friend ASAP – tell them to get you a box of CREST ADVANCED WHITE STRIPS by the end of April. They are very easily applied, and will do wonders on your teeth. They are like two strips of tape, with a gel peroxide on them. Apply twice daily for 2 weeks, to see your teeth whiten by usually 2 shades. They have been banned in the UK because of the higher percentage of peroxide however I’ve used them for years and they are fine. You should expect to pay under 50£ for a treatment, and they work. DO NOT have your teeth whitened by a dentist – trust me, save the money and get someone to get you some of these. They’re easy and I can vouch for them – they WORK. (Mr. A can use them too!)

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