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As a woman when you think of your wedding, you think of a beautiful day where you would look amazing, the venue would be a dream, your husband would be dapper and the weather would be perfect and at the end you both ride off into the sunset to the perfect honeymoon destination.
In reality however, the journey to the altar could be a hazardous one that could make a season of Survivor look like a picnic.
Since October 23, 2007, I had identified the dress that I wanted to be married in. It was a beautiful simple dress with a great silhouette made from white silk taffeta with the most exquisite silvery Chantilly lace overlay. I can’t be sure who the designer of the dress was but it had the esthetic of a Monique L’Huillier or Amsale wedding dress. I had seen it on the Ross Oscar Knight website (This link is actually about a decidedly romantic marriage proposal however at the end of the video I followed a link to one of Ross’s albums and there I saw the dress of my dreams).
So, when Femi proposed to me on Valentine’s day of 2008 there was no question as to what I would wear on our big day. I had always dreamed of having a custom dress made so that it would fit perfectly (given my height and curves). With a picture of what I wanted in hand, I engaged the services of wedding dress designer who assured me that he could replicate the dress and even exceed my expectations. With 7 months to D-day I entrusted my dream in the hands of this charming, reassuring, seemingly competent designer. He went further to tell me that his bridal package covered accessories and shoes, therefore I could strike those off my list. Boy! Was I relieved to have found him!!
After about 3 months, I had not had a fitting nor had I seen a shell of the dress, my inquiries about the progress of the work were met with bountiful reassurances that the situation was under control and that a fitting would be scheduled in the near future. When I finally have a fitting and I am faced with a calico like shell of a dress and I couldn’t help but wonder how the dress could still be at such an unfinished phase of it’s production at this time. On and on it went until one day, about 4 weeks to the wedding I got “the call” informing me that the dress was ready. Femi and I headed over to the designer’s and I promptly banished Femi downstairs while I skipped upstairs to see my dress. As I ascended my eye caught a voluminous lump of a dress and I remember thinking “Who’s is that??!!” And much to my horror the designer hoisted the ugly dress up and moved it towards me.
For a minute I stood rooted to the spot as I gave the dress a once over; it did not REMOTELY resemble the picture I had given him. Had I been drunk on a Grappa and Tequilla cocktail, I could neither have designed nor made a more hideously monstrous item of clothing!
He urged me to try it one promising that would look better on. I couldn’t possible see how that could be; the dress I wanted was sleek, simple and elegant whereas this creation was bulky, overworked and offensive. He had attached huge cream coloured sequined appliques on it that turned rainbow coloured when they caught the light. It was worse than a bad dream and I burst into tears as I looked at myself in the mirror. I mean, it is not rocket science to figure out that since I am tall and not a size 6 that I do not need volumes of tulle or a basket under my skirt! I looked like a ladybug on steroids or worse THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN! I couldn’t believe that this was happening.
Femi had to come up to console me; of course I was inconsolable. There was no plan B. This was a disaster. Our honey-tongued designer once again “assured” us that he could fix it. Femi pleaded with me to give him one more chance and I did. After about 3 more weeks, with one week to go, I go for what should have been a final fitting and the disaster had gotten worse (I did not think it was possible for it to have worsened). Reality sets in: I do not have a dress to wear on my wedding day! And I have 7 days to find one.
My rescuer came in the form of friend who makes clothes for me and who had come to know my style and preferences. She runs a label called Gbemisoke. (www.gbemisoke.blogspot.com)
We explained the situation to her over the phone and thankfully she consented to helping salvage the situation. We engaged her on a Thursday, she proceeded to shop for the fabrics on Friday, spent the whole day on Saturday making the dress and on Sunday I went for my first fitting and the dress fit perfectly. It wasn’t by any means what I had previously envisioned but at this stage, I couldn’t be choosy.
I rushed off the dress to the dry cleaners and my best friend, Moji and I proceeded to comb Lagos looking for the perfect shoes and accessories but it was difficult to find the ideal kitten heeled shoes at such short notice. By the time the news of my ordeal reached my close friends, Darbuni shipped her wedding dress, shoes, veil and corset to me from Abuja (to guard against any surprises from the dry cleaners) and Joke offered me a spare pair of wedding shoes that she had purchased for her wedding the year before. Thankfully the dry cleaners did not pull any surprises.
Although I wore Joke’s shoes for the wedding ceremony, after we had said our vows, I kicked them off (they hurt my feet) and wore a pair of white sequined flip-flops valued at £1 for the photo session and the reception.
The wedding went well and I thank God for all the love and support that I received from my family and friends. It was a difficult time but it all worked out and except a select number of people, no on knew of the “drama” surrounding my journey to the altar.
Update – September 13, 2014
So after 6 years, it looks like the hassle of the wedding was worth it. We have two amazing little ones and our relationship has grown and expanded in amazing ways; God has been truly awesome.
Here are some more pictures from the traditional wedding back I’m 2008, wedding pictures and a few random recent pictures.