When we first decided to get married, I was all, "Cool. I will be a laid-back, totally non-hysterical bride-to-be. No bridezilla moments for me, nosiree!" Absolutely no one believed me about this, mostly because "hysterical" is my middle name (note: not really. It’s "Louise".), and also because I’m all about the drama. And you know what? Turns out they were right. Bridezilla? Moi? Oh hell yes…
The (rude) awakening of my inner Bridezilla came on Halloween (an irony that was not lost on me), when my poor, long-suffering mother and I took my precious, precious dress to our chosen dressmaker to be altered. "(Yes, it has taken me this long to feel able to write about it.) Great!" said I, "I will get to wear my fabby new Agent Provocateur corset, which I love more than life itself!" and "Oh, crap," said my mum, as I struggled my way into Terry’s low-slung car, unable to bend from the waist in my tightly-laced corset. (Sorry for the too much information, here, by the way. Just suck it up, though.)
I should have known right there that it was all about to go horribly wrong, and from the moment we arrived at the dressmaker’s home, me walking like a mannequin in my corset, it did. First of all, the dressmaker made us remove our shoes and wear some old slippers she provided for us. Being the spoiled brat that I am, this would have been horrifying enough (I choose my footwear, thanks. Me!) but, as you know, I have a bit of a thing about feet, so this put me at a disadvantage right away.
Worse was to come, though.
"Do you actually like this?" asked the dressmaker, removing The Precious from its bag and gesturing towards the buttons at the back. The buttons which were one of the things I liked most about it.
"Ummm, yes?" said I.
"Really?" said the dressmaker incredulously, wrinkling her nose in distaste. "For what reason?"
"Ummmm, because they are pretty?" I said. (Yes, I was speaking in questions. She had that kind of effect on me.) "Say they are pretty."
The dressmaker did not say they were pretty. In fact, she said they were "clumsy" and were "ruining the design". The design which, by the way, has "no unity to it." GOD.
"Well, Vera Wang obviously thought it had unity to it," I pointed out. "Now do as you’re told, woman and make me look like a Princess for the day!"
Ooops, sorry, no – that was what I said in my own head. In real life, what I said was this:
as she took out a little sharp thing and cut all the lovely buttons off my dress. (She needs to do this anyway, to alter it, I should point out. She wasn’t just being a vandal for the sheer hell of it.) Feeling my bottom lip begin to tremble mutinously, I looked towards my mum, who managed to convey to me, wordlessly, "We will make her sew them back on. You shall go to the ball, Cinderella!" (My mum’s had a lot of experience as my handler, you see, so she knows how to do this without speaking.)
"Strip, bitch," said the dressmaker.*
I pulled off my sweater, revealing my lovely corset, in all its glory. Scarlett O’Hara never had a waist like mine, I’ll tell you that for nothing. (She had a waist like two of mine. GOD.)
"Well, you’re not wearing that," said the dressmaker. "Totally not suitable. Too thick for the dress. You’ll look much more natural without it."
"But I don’t want to look natural!" I wailed. (In my own fool head, natch.) "I want to have a tiny waist and be totally unable to move normally! I want to look like Dita Von Teese, except smaller, paler, uglier, redder and, did I say uglier?"
No corset. Even my mum agreed that the dress looks better without it, and I was forced to concede the point.
"You can still wear it, though!" said the dressmaker. "They look great with jeans, these. And slutty clothes."**
To be fair, our dressmaker is a miracle worker. She is the kind of woman who could have turned Scarlett’s old curtains into a killer dress no problem at all, and, with the aid of just a few pins and the extra scraps of material that came with the dress, she managed to completely transform it. It looked lovely. When I got home though? I still cried. Yes, Bridezilla had been unleashed. And without her Agent Provocateur corset? She was pissed.
Since then I have thought long and hard about the whole thing, and I have been forced to have some strong words with myself. (I’ve also been forced to block the Monique Lhuillier website from my browser, but that’s a whole other issue). "Amber," I said to myself, (for yes, I like to address myself properly when I speak to myself), "Amber, you are behaving like one spoiled brat here. Why, this time last year, you were a quivering wreck of a person, driven to the brink of insanity by her fiance’s approaching kidney transplant, and all of the attendant fears that major surgery brings. You were just about to face two weeks of hospital visits, not knowing whether or not the transplant would even work. This year? This year your biggest worry is the fact that your £230 corset won’t fit under your Vera Wang wedding dress. Who do you think you are here, Heather Mills? Paris Hilton? Slap yourself right now."
So I did. Slap myself, that is. And then I slapped myself again, because, really? What am I like? I’m sure it will all work out fine. The dress will be altered, it will fit me properly, it will look beautiful (the dressmaker did concede that it will look beautiful – once she’s finished with it. Vera Wang, hang your head in shame!), and all will be well.
I’m not moving on the buttons issue, though.
* Not really.
** She actually did say that, though.