On top of my wardrobe is a box that I’ve never opened before. The most costly item of clothes I’m ever likely to own is in there. Beautifully packaged for storage in a box with a bow made of acid-free tissue paper; almost definitely never to be worn again. my bridal gown. It’s not excellent from a cost-per-wear standpoint.
Since the day of my wedding in 2007, I’ve pulled it out just once to remind myself of what it was like to invest all of one’s hopes, aspirations, and excitement into a single day.
I spent £5,000 on the dress, a lace gown, from an upscale wedding shop where the salespeople were frighteningly quick. The silk veil, jeweled headdress, custom lingerie, expensive shoes, make-up, going-away clothes, hairdresser, and brand-new perfume that would forever remind me of the day were not included in the price, making it the most I had ever paid on anything in my life.
After ten years and the annoying advantage of hindsight, I now have three children and wonder what in the world I was thinking. It’s a dress that I only planned to wear once.
And when I was 27 years old, I wanted more than just the dress; I wanted everything. To open a bridal magazine, I behaved like the most princess-like princess ever. I was normally pretty calm, but as soon as I agreed to my partner’s request, something inside of me flipped.
We very certainly spent up to – and I find it difficult to say this – £50,000 on our wedding day because of my shaky grasp on the reality of what marriage is actually about and a strong sense of bridal entitlement. I felt as though I had been launched into a fantasy world.
How could I have justified spending such a staggering sum—more than the typical down payment for a home—on a single day?
Once we got going, it seemed impossible for us to stop. At the time, I thought we could afford the finest of the best because my husband worked in the City for a really well-paying position. Our fixation with planning our “huge giant London wedding” spread. A central London church wedding with a full choir, a reception at a hip private members’ club, true free-flowing Moet (no prosecco for us), as well as all the extras, including the £900 wedding cake that my mother insisted on, were considered “must-haves.” Then, we “had to” spend our honeymoon in the Maldives on stilts, which cost an additional £15,000.