Why I refuse to take off my wedding dress
My bargain wedding dress was too pretty to wear just once Dawn Winfield-Hunt, 54, Isle of Wight
Picking the dress off the rail, I looked at it, unconvinced. ‘It’ll look much nicer on,’ the shop assistant assured me. It was June 2019 and I was shopping for my wedding dress.
Only, I hadn’t booked into an expensive bridal boutique.
Instead, I’d heard about one closing down – they’d donated all their wedding dresses to charity shops.
‘Might find a bargain,’ I told my fiance Steve, 57.
Browsing the local charity shop wasn’t every bride’s dream, but I didn’t care.
And if it meant I could save a bit of money… Even better. Slipping into the dress in the changing rooms, I gasped – it really did look better on!
‘It’s perfect,’ I said.
It still had the old price tag on – £1,800 – but I bagged it for just £300. At mine and Steve’s ceremony in August 2019, I felt beautiful sashaying in my frock.
‘You look gorgeous,’
Steve whispered. Later, I was reluctant to take my dress off.
‘It’s a shame to put it in the wardrobe,’ I said.
My style was usually jeans and a blouse but I’d loved feeling fabulous for a day and didn’t want it to end. So as I returned it to the hanger, I had a thought. ‘I want to keep wearing it,’ I
made up my mind. ‘As much as I can, for the next year.’ A couple of days later, myself, Steve and some friends went to the beach to go paddle-boarding. When I turned up in my white dress, onlookers were shocked – especially as I waded out into the water. Somehow, I managed to get on the board, kept my balance throughout.
But when it came to getting off, the dress had started to soak up water. It was heavy and wrapped around my ankles, causing me to topple off the board. Splash!
My beautiful white dress was completely soaked – but I couldn’t stop laughing.
‘That was great fun,’ I giggled.
That night, I soaked it in the bath.
And soon, it was ready for its next outing.
Hitting the supermarket, I was stopped every few minutes as I made my way through the store.
‘You look like a princess,’ one little girl gasped. I beamed with happiness. I snapped pictures along the way, and set up a Facebook page called The Life and Times of a Wedding Dress, where I could share its outings. I’ve also worn it to a festival, even just around the house, doing chores!
Everyone has been supportive, and I’ve had loads of messages on my Facebook page.
I wish I’d done the same thing, but I’d never fit into mine now! one lady wrote. When I first told my son Sam, 31, my plans, he rolled his eyes – but since then, he’s been texting ideas of places to wear my gown.
I’m planning to go to a scooter rally, and I’ll be trick-or-treating in my dress come Halloween.
Next year, two days before our anniversary, I’ll host a wedding-dress charity ball – with all proceeds going to four charities close to my heart.
Once the year is up, I plan to take a picture of the dress – warts and all.
The stains, tears and marks will tell a story.
I can’t wait to look at each of the memories and smile.