When I was planning my wedding, I tried to make an appointment with a well-known wedding dress maker.
But he wouldn’t see me.
As the woman with the haughty voice on the other end of the phone told me, “Frances doesn’t ever see clients until seven months out from the wedding. He’s concerned brides might change their mind, and he doesn’t have the time to remake dresses.”
Right then. Silly old me, expecting old Frances to accept my patronage a mere nine months out from the big day!
I called around to find another boutique. And only got in at the fourth place I tried; they all had a four-month waiting list.
I begged — literally begged — to get on a list on the basis that my mum was flying from interstate for the occasion.
And that’s how, when the boutique had a last-minute cancellation, I ended up in one of those beautiful, Tiffany-blue coloured boutiques in inner-eastern Sydney the following weekend.
It was like a dream in that place. Raw silk corsets and mountains of soft Italian tulle hugged size-6 mannequins. Dreamy French lace headpieces matched perfectly with the whimsical hand-stitched petticoats. Deco hair pins and emerald-cut drop earrings set off delicately embroidered sweetheart necklines.
And then a sour-faced woman handed me a pair of white gloves — and told me not to touch a thing until I had them on.Because this is how things work in the wedding industry. It’s frothy, and seductive, and indulgently beautiful. And it makes you believe that every delicate little detail it has to offer will actually make your special day more memorable and perfect — until you find yourself wearing Minnie Mouse gloves, holding your breath as you struggle to comprehend how the extra zero found its way onto the price-tag of the slinky silk number you were about to try on.
And apologising to the judgy-looking assistants for having curves because, as they’ve pointed out several times already, your hips are really interfering with the line of the $10,000 dress.
Then the truth hits you like an overpriced, rented crystal chandelier: you’ve been sucked in, and you’re becoming as pretentious as the worst parts of the industry itself.
The over-the-top wedding snobbery doesn’t end with dress shopping. As our day drew closer, I learned that in the world of weddings, tradition dictates the guest-to-bridesmaids ratio (50:1), while emerging conventions dictate the expected fee for merely cancelling an appointment in the fanciest bridal boutiques ($175).