On Wednesday 30th April I was lucky enough (and, when I say lucky, I mean lucky) to attend the press viewing of the fabulous new exhibition at the V&A in London - Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 on behalf of Love My Dress.
As you'll probably gather from my feature on Love My Dress reviewing the exhibition, I thought it was simply brilliant. I'm a history geek so combining that with weddings sent me into raptures. However, I really think that there's something for everyone at the exhibition and it is, in my book, something to absolutely try and do over the coming months. I am actually going back for part of my birthday treat with My Mr in a few weeks time and I'm so excited to see all the gowns again. I have absolutely no doubt that different things will catch my eye next time.
Some of my earliest memories are related to weddings - I remember being a bridesmaid at my Aunt's wedding and loving my dress but reverting to tomboy ways during the reception and running up and down the riverbank in a most unseemly manner. I remember listening to a discussion prior to my cousin's wedding where they were decided if I could still be bridesmaid should the cast on my broken arm not be removed in time (it was and I was). I remember watching the wedding of Lady Diana and being amazed by her gown and I remember copying the sketches of royal wedding dresses from my childhood collection of Ladybird books. All of those memories and all of that childlike wonder came flooding back to me as I wandered around the V&A on Wednesday.
It still surprises me that the short-haired tomboy who liked to play rough with the boys has become the short-haired tomboy who works in a world of pretty. But, I guess, that's part of the joy of weddings. The prescriptive 'church, buffet, disco' pattern of the past has gone and now, whoever you are, whatever you like, you can have a wedding that works for you. That's borne out by the V&A exhibition - the full-on attention seeking gowns of the celebs, the restrained elegance of the royal outfits, the traditional gowns, the opulent gowns, the make-do-and-mend gowns all hold their own next to each other. One dress, one wedding or even one life is not automatically better than another. If it suits you, it's perfect.
The Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition opens on 3rd May and you can find out more information & book tickets on the V&A website.