Just say yes

Over the years I have become a fan of the TV show “Say yes to the dress”. If you have yet to experience the delight let me enlighten you; there are bridal salons in New York and Atlanta, these are the 2 original salons to open their doors to the cameras to film brides choosing their dresses for the big day. We the audience share in their journey of trying on usually over-priced gowns while often over analysing their choices and crying buckets of tears.

Since the early days of Kleinfelds in New York other shows have cropped up in locations such as Las Vegas, Canada, Ireland and here in England hosted by Gok Wan and David Emmanuel.

The brides come in all shapes and sizes and from all different backgrounds with varying budgets and tastes. One of the most common denominators though is the entourage, a lot of the brides that feature on the shows, especially in New York, bring enormous groups with them to help them select the perfect dress. She usually wants them all to like the one she picks, not just have an opinion on how it looks on her, but actually love it as much as she does. These entourages can sometimes be as many as 20 people, how on earth can anyone expect that many people to all love the same dream dress. This evitability ends in tears and a lot of the time the bride will leave without selecting a dress, because she doesn’t seem to have the backbone to stand up to her friends and family and go with the dress she loved in the dressing room before showing it them.

Another common theme is the mother; often the mum will have a fixed idea of how she would like her daughter to look on the big day. A lot of the time on these shows they usually imagine their daughters in princess style ball gowns and often that is so far removed from what the bride has in mind. This makes for a very difficult situation because these brides are looking for their mother’s approval and set themselves the almost impossible task of keeping everyone happy.

The most tricky situation in my opinion is when the mother is paying for the dress and wants the bride to wear only a dress that she likes, regardless of whether her daughter actually likes it or looks good in it. This sometimes escalated into the mother refusing to pay for a dress because she does not like the style, even if her daughter looks beautiful in her choice.

Her choice… surely if she is able to choose her life partner, then she is quite capable and should be able to choose her own gown.

As a mother of 2 wonderful sons I am never going to experience this special time between mother and daughter. But if I did have a daughter and I was paying for her dress, I would want her to have a gown that makes her feel beautiful and fabulous, and most importantly her choice.

Ultimately surely your daughter’s happiness is the most important factor.



Happily ever after

A life less ordinary

I don’t know about you but I find it quite annoying when non celebrity folk are referred to as ordinary. I’m talking about you and me, who are not members of royalty or famous for being on film/TV for singing, acting or presenting etc.

For example when the Queen’s honours are announced it’s usually reported about celebrities who get honoured for simply doing their job or for the amount of charity work they do because of their high profile status. It’s much easier for them to make a huge impact in charitable causes because of their ability to mix with fellow influential and wealthy individuals.

Then the “ordinary” members of the public who have been honoured may get a mention in a small column in the paper or a foot note on a social media post. But these people have to work considerably harder and jump through many more hoops to achieve enough to be worthy of such an honour.

But in my view no one is ordinary. We all have personalities, skills, interests, professions and quirks that make us unique and stand out. We are all capable of doing extraordinary things on a daily basis and many of us do,  through our family life, work, hobbies, sports or voluntary activities.

Last week I had the honour of helping a group of old friends by helping with the dressing for the local Gang Show. The Bristol South Scout District produce a Gang Show every year and is written, organised and produced by 3 members: Dave Wall, Catherine Elkins and Sue Lewis who I have known since my scouting/guiding days in the 80’s. The show is made up of a cast of cubs/brownies, scouts/guides, explorers and leaders. There is also a small backstage army of ex scouts, leaders, family and friends who do the scenery, costume, props, dressing, sound and lighting.

Every year they put on a fabulously entertaining show that is fantastic value for money. Everyone gives their very best, works hard and support each other through each production. Working backstage as a dresser is very rewarding and just a little bit manic at times.

This is a big commitment , 4 evening performances and a matinee on Saturday, also 6 months of planning, writing and rehearsing. This is in addition to the time given up for running of the cub/brownie/scout groups alongside family and work commitments of the leaders.

Not so ordinary members of the public me thinks.