“Sarah. I am not the best person to talk to about this, in fact, I can’t talk to you about this, I can’t go with you can I? I cant know anything about it. All I can do is give you a lot of support
“I’m not Manchester fucking Utd.”
“I know, but I understand now how tricky it is. Look, lets have a look at what wedding shops are about, why don’t you take a day out to have a scutch around.”
“But I always go shopping with you? Who am I going to go with?Deb (MOH) is working long hours and my Mum is too infirm.
“Why don’t you take my Mum?”
The words turned to dust in my mouth, like biting on sand at the beach.
“Are you for real?”
“ok Forget that.”
“Tom I need someone who is not going to bullshit, someone who is going to say it like it is, someone who is not going to care what people think. I need someone who is going to be totally, brutally honest”
Then, for the first and last time in the wedding process, I had an original idea of my own.
“Sarah, I know just the person….”
My sister Ella and I have an endured a fractious relationship in recent years. But no matter how hissy the spat, the unique sibling bond healed the argument, cauterizing any row that threatened to fissure our relationship
Ella actually met Sarah before me. She was on the playing field with her daughter while Sarah played with an infant Hannah. It caused must hilarity when Ella discovered that Sarah and I were an item. She wondered what a nice girl like her saw in an oaf like me. That affection disguised as insult shtick holding just as strong today as it ever did.
And so it was that Ella was recruited to invigilate Sarah as she sought out her gown.
“Listen darling, if you look a bastard in any of these frocks, believe me, Ella will tell you.
So it was that they set off in the hunt for “ the dress.” I must point out that the following story is as told to me by Ella so I cannot vouch for the veracity of the account.
The first shop they entered Sarah pulled on a bridesmaids dress because she thought it would be an acceptable halfway house between a real bride and, well, someone who is at the wedding but is not actually getting married.
She emerged trepidatiously from the changing rooms.
Ells immediately passed judgement,
“Yes, very nice, if you were a brides made, but your not, you’re the bride. So get it off.
The owner appeared .
“Look, will you tell her love, she is the bride, so tell her to get a bloody bridal gown on! Never mind that she’s not 21
So under orders, Sarah started to try on dresses. On that first day she tried on 6. She would appear from behind the curtain, unsure of whether she liked it and unwilling to offer an opinion unless she upset the owner. Ella was unworried by any social constraints such a politeness.
Sarah appeared from behind the curtain. The owner cooed appreciatively
“Now that looks lovely on you.
Ella begged to differ
“No it doesn’t, you look a bloody state, get it off
Head slightly bowed, Sarah picked up her train and toddled off back behind the curtain
Dress number two didn’t fair much better
“Jesus, you look like Tugboat Annie, get it off
“Have you just come back from casualty ? That’s just a load of bandages. Off!
Number six didn’t even get a response. Just a shake of the head
The stern-faced owner showed them out of the shop. .
Sarah was on a downer after leaving the establishment.
“This is futile
“Don’t be silly, this is only shop number one, there’s another 13 to explore.
“I don’t want to put you out. Debi is coming with me next week.
“Don’t worry about me I’m having a lovely time. Anyway just wait here I wont be a minute
Ella went back towards the shop
“Ella, where are you going?
“Back inside, I’m going to ask her if she wants to advertise in my magazine
And with that, beaming expectantly, Ella trotted off to chat to her new friend.