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Within a month of our first date, it was secretly clear to me that R was the man I was going to marry. Secretly, because men can be funny about these things, apparently. Besides, I was enjoying playing it cool – waiting that agonising 20 minutes before texting him back, and pretending to be a normal girl who doesn’t need two naps a day & self-affirming post-its by her bed.

Meanwhile, whilst pursuing my lifelong hobby of trawling the internet for dreamy white vintage dresses, I found it: the dress. My dress. The wedding dress of my dreams! It had some damage and needed repairs, so it was a steal – like £40 or something! It was a SIGN!

But it was also, let’s be clear, insane. Only a madwoman buys a wedding dress one month into a new relationship. Plus, I was living alone in a tiny, horrible flat, eating nothing but bread. I frequently ran out of petrol because I couldn’t afford to refuel, and had to leave my car on roundabouts and pavements to walk home in the rain. I had debt collectors tracking me down for overdue credit card bills. Of all the things I really needed, a torn vintage wedding dress was not a massive priority.

So, of course, I let it go. Some other girl came along and bought it, & I figured I’d forget it in time.
I HAVE NOT.

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Now we are engaged, and I want my dress, dammit. Where is my dress? What do I do?

This is the problem with the one that got away; they are made entirely perfect by all that’s left unexplored. Had I bought said dress, it probably would have looked 80s, or frumpy, or given me four-boob. Because I didn’t buy it, Rory never found it in my wardrobe; he never freaked out about my secret wedding dreams and so the dress never became so tainted by association that I never wanted to see it again.
Instead, it stays preserved in it’s aura of early romance and uncertainty, calling to me, louder than any Vera Wang.

I need help. I need distracting – linking up to other dresses or perhaps to similar dresses with added silver sparkles. I need a Pintervention.
Please help me, internet friends!

(dress via croatia vintage)

31 Comments

  • Neil Dhillon

  • January 07, 2016

I love your writing

  • Sara Tasker

  • April 09, 2015

Thank you Nicole! I’m adding them both to the list – I suppose I need to try on some longer dresses to officially rule them out.
That dress is a real beauty, but I think it does need to be white… not for any virtuous reasons, but just so I match the flowers! Haha! xxx

  • Sara Tasker

  • April 09, 2015

That’s the highest praise ever! Thanks Sarah πŸ˜€

I LOVE that you were braver than I was, and followed the dress dream. I think it’s brilliant, and a tiny bit hilarious, and one day when you do get married, you totally need to announce to everyone that you did it after the ceremony. It’ll be too late for him to run away then! πŸ˜‰ xxx

  • Sarah

  • April 04, 2015

Oh Sara, your blog is my new favourite blog! (Given the amount I read, that is high praise indeed!) I really do love it.

I did exactly this, but I bought the vintage dress. To this day it’s hidden at the back of my wardrobe covered in plastic. I’ve not tried it on, my bf has no idea it exists and I may not even wear it should we every marry. But, I do quite like the fact I was an utter nutcase for a day and did something so ridiculous it had to be my little secret. No one knows, except you… and the internet.

  • Nicole

  • March 27, 2015

Alice Temperley is a good one to look out for (John Lewis stock the Somerset range which can have a similar vibe). Theres a good dress shop in the next village over (so not far from you) called Blush Bridal Boutique but I suspect its all longer dresses.

Also, if you aren’t stuck on white/ivory – http://www.farfetch.com/uk/alice-by-temperley-surya-dress-item-10184643.aspx – theres one on ebay but the images here are better.

  • Jean O'Neill

  • March 26, 2015

Many years ago I tried on a dream of a wedding dress …layers of broderie anglais and lace (Laura Ashley in the actual seventies!). I loved it but let it get away. Somehow I wasn’t ready for it, even though I was engaged and officially dress hunting. In the end my wedding dress was made for me by my lovely aunt. Somehow I needed my dress to grow and evolve over time, not just land in my life straight out of the shop. After the wedding I dyed it green, wore it once for some posh do, then it somehow vanished. I never thought till now, Sara, that it was the second dress that got away. But of course the man didn’t, and ended up being R’s dad…

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

ohhh emerald green silk! That’s already the nicest dress ever and I haven’t even seen it. So sad for you and your one that got away, and hoping it returns to you via ebay someday.
I’m glad it’s not just me, at least. Thanks Charlotte x

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

Great tip Cathryn – thank you! Will go take a looksy πŸ™‚

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

Thanks Emma! I think similar and customised might be the way to go. It seems like a total copy would just leave me wanting the original even more, y’know?
Is Jo Milburn the one off Gypsy Weddings? *insert cheeky monkey emoji here*

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

Can’t believe I haven’t heard of Minna before – thank you Anna! Off to do some serious lusting πŸ˜€

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

Oh but this sounds awesome! You should look back and think how freaking cool and laid back you are! Although a photo redo sounds like a great excuse for cake and dresses. Maybe a vow renewal? πŸ˜‰ x

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

yipee! Love a good secret wedding pinterest! πŸ˜€

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

thank you! Will check Minna out! & I am sure you’re right, it would have been totally wrong. It’s just that I never got to find out… *sobs*

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

Haha thanks. And the saddest, right? I’m hoping to adapt it for the stage.

  • Sara Tasker

  • March 26, 2015

Ahh! That’s the kind of comment that has me beaming πŸ™‚ SO nice to know people get it. Thank you for getting it πŸ™‚ xxx

  • Amanda Kenney

  • March 25, 2015

I loved this so much, I read it aloud to my husband! Hehe I’m an English major, so my brain was loving every last word and bit of trickery from the start. Your title alluding to “R,” but really being the dress. “This is the problem with the one that got away; they are made entirely perfect by all that’s left unexplored.” Brilliant. You are a dream. And, so is this dress––I am sorry to say. I shall keep my strongest eye out for you.

  • Aloadofoldtat.blogspot.co.uk

  • March 25, 2015

That’s the best story I’ve heard in a long time.

  • sophie

  • March 25, 2015

Oh yeah and I recommend minna too☺

  • sophie

  • March 25, 2015

It’s a sign… It just wasn’t the one for you.

Besides my experience from working in a bridal dress shop the dress you think you want ends up very rarely ever being ‘the one!’
“It’s too slim here, too full here the necklines all wrong and actually this colour washes me out.”

  • Xandra β˜…

  • March 25, 2015

Just added you to my super secret weddings board on pinterest πŸ˜‰

  • Megan B.

  • March 25, 2015

I feel your pain. Although I never had a dream dress in mind. But I got married in a frilly shirt and slacks. I look back and wish I would’ve bought a frilly, Lacey dress. At least the pictures would’ve looked better. (Lol) At this point I’d settle for a fairy tutu and maybe a quick redo on the photos just to have pretty mementos to stare at.

  • Anna

  • March 25, 2015

I got my wedding dress from Minna and the whole experience was a joy (lovely people, gorgeous studio, ethically sourced materials, beautiful dress). They have a line of ready to wear dresses, at a range of prices, and also custom make dresses so might be able to re-make the one that got away? http://www.minna.co.uk/

  • Emma Gutteridge

  • March 25, 2015

Don’t fear! There are so many dress makers that either make one from scratch for you to match something like the picture. Alternatively you can find something with a similar shape as a base and get it customised. Try FCNK or Brummy seamstress Jo Milburn. It’s very beautiful x

  • Charlotte

  • March 25, 2015

UGH! Oh Sara, I feel your pain! I’m still thinking about an emerald green silk dress that I totally couldn’t afford at the time (it was Β£300 – on sale). To this day I am absolutely kicking myself that I didn’t just buy it on my credit card. It is on my eBay watch list but it has only come up once, and I missed out.

I totally love the dress in the photo that you’ve used. You’ll find another one that you love just as much I’m sure. But it will forever be the one that got away.
xxx C

  • Sara

  • March 25, 2015

What? What?? The more I think about this the more hilarious and ridiculous it becomes. Who does that?!
& I’m assuming you bought your dress from a shop of dresses that were fancy, not a shop selling clown costumes and fairy tutus… teehee! x

  • Sara

  • March 25, 2015

Oh no, you must learn! I don’t advocate playing games, but letting yor secret wedding plans show too soon is a terrible idea… x

  • Sara

  • March 25, 2015

Ah, sad times! Do you have an alert set up for the cape on eBay? I’ve managed to get a few lost gems that way!
I’ve thought about a reproduction, but I don’t think it would be the same. I’d still be thinking about the original, you know? Think I just need to find an entirely new and better dress πŸ™‚

  • Cathryn

  • March 25, 2015

Dig for Victory (Brighton-based dressmaker) do beautiful vintage style dresses cut from 1950s patterns. And definitely not at break-the-bank prices either xx

  • Sheona

  • March 25, 2015

At least you managed to play it cool with R. I need lessons in that!

You’ll find something better and perfect xx

  • Jo

  • March 25, 2015

Find a better one! Make an appointment at a fancy frock shop and try on ALL THE DRESSES!

(Remember to wear (UK) pants. I was once at a fancy dress shop where they commented that some tryer-onners arrive without underwear. How is this okay??)

  • Sue

  • March 25, 2015

This happened to me with a cape. It wasn’t vintage (from Zara) but I fell for it hard. At a time when I could in no way justify the expense.
I still look for it now on eBay.
Maybe you could get someone to make a copy if the dress for you?

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