A tale of two brides: princess on my day

Photos: Mario Testino; Emily Bridewell

I have never been so excited about a pair of shoes before. I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘shoe person’, I’ve only ever bought a pair out of the dire need to clothe my feet, but for these shoes I can make an exception. For these are no ordinary shoes, they are my wedding shoes.

As I sit sniffing the bubblegum scented plastic (yes, you read that right, my bridal shoes smell of bubblegum) my mind wonders to the other wedding happening this year. The world’s media are busy preparing for April 29, the big-fat-Royal Wedding.  It’s hard to imagine Kate Middleton in my shoes.

My small-thin-student budget wedding is coming together nicely. I’m pulling in favours from every man and his dog and I have my mother constantly ‘facebooking’ me with ideas and opinions. Just this morning she sent me a video of how she planned to dance at the reception, it wasn’t pretty. Those messages, alongside the late night phone calls discussing beef or lamb for the main (‘neither mother, I like chicken’) or arguing over £35 bridesmaids’ dresses from New Look (‘no they won’t look tacky I promise’), make it obvious that she absolutely loves her mother-of-the-bride role.

Kate Middleton’s experience of planning a wedding will undoubtedly be different. I can’t decide whether I’m jealous of her reduced level of responsibility or feel slightly sorry for her.  She’ll have the designer dress, designer shoes, bridesmaids’ dresses that definitely won’t be from New Look and probably beef, lamb and chicken, but I’m left wondering how many of those will be her decisions.

My wedding may be small and humble in comparison but I rest safe in the knowledge that it is my wedding. Every single decision is mine, from what time the hog roast is served to which song I walk down the aisle to. I pushed for the New Look bridesmaids’ dresses, yes they were cheap but they are just perfect!   My mother and others like to stick their noses in occasionally but ultimately the buck stops with me.

What of poor Kate? She gets the whole world sticking their noses in. There are people lined up ready to analyse every minute detail yet those details probably haven’t been decided by her. Will she look back at her wedding album in 20 years time and feel a pang of disappointment that her ‘big day’ wasn’t actually hers at all.

Deciding on my wedding dress was one of the most exciting, but also one of the hardest tasks I have done so far for my wedding. I travelled to 4 London bridal salons, got very naked in front of complete strangers and tried on what must have been over 50 dresses before finding ‘the one’.

With my mother, a couple of bridesmaids and a very fashion-savvy friend in tow the opinions were flying everywhere. ‘You need a veil, you’re not a bride without a veil’ ‘Emily, it looks like a nightie, seriously you look like you’re getting ready to get into bed’ ‘Way too much bling my love, we don’t want to over-do it’ and my favourite of all ‘do you want to look like you’ve got no boobs?’ (um, no thank you!). Thankfully I’ve only got the 200 people invited to my wedding to impress, Kate’s got to impress the whole world.

For that reason even picking her wedding dress won’t be entirely her own decision. I’m sure she has been ‘advised’ by many to make sure that she looks timeless, regal and perfect as she marries the future King of England, after all it’s a look that will be portrayed on practically every media outlet in the world for many years to come and used as a style guide for many future weddings. I do not envy that pressure one little bit.

The one thing that Kate does have over me is the ability to share her wedding with the world. It’s pretty obvious though blogs such as stylemepretty.com and forums like weddingbee.com (to which I am a regular visitor!) that many brides want to share all the details of their wedding with anyone who will listen. Threads titled ‘I picked out my dress today!! Pictures!!’ and ‘My Bridal Portraits! LOVE them to DEATH!!! (warning this thread is pic heavy)’ are just a couple of mere examples. The internet makes it possible for people to put their wedding out there and I’m not at all immune to this!

There were no cameras around to capture the moment that William dropped on one knee to propose to Kate Middleton but her wedding will be seen by a global audience of millions and the vows recorded for sale on iTunes.

However although my wedding audience will not exceed the 200 people seated in the church, I have the pleasure of knowing that the moment the love of my life asked me to be his wife is available to the entire world via YouTube after being captured by a close friend on a camera phone.

Every time I watch this video back (and trust me, I’ve watched it a fair few times!) my admiration for my future husband grows and I know that I have found my prince charming.

I carefully pack my bubblegum shoes away, back into their box, ready for September 10. On that day, as with every other bride on their wedding day, I will be a princess. I am not marrying royal blood, like Kate, but we are both marrying our princes and that’s what makes us not so different after all.

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