Weddings are often far from cheap — in fact, for many people, they’re some of the most expensive events they’ll ever pay for. But one U.K. bride is out to tell people that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a wonderful wedding day. And her proof is in her wedding dress.
Cat Wilkinson was engaged for less than 36 hours when she hit up a thrift store to see what she could find.
There, she was stunned to see a beautiful lace wedding dress hanging on the rail. The price tag was a mere £35.
“On the day that Mike proposed to me he took me for a night in York,” said Wilkinson. “The next day I was looking in the charity shops (as I often do) and saw the dress on one of the rails. [I] phoned Mike to tell him not to come up while I tried something on and to ask if the shop volunteer could come up to take a photo.”
Wilkinson said that the dress was not only beautiful but also exactly as she had always pictured for her wedding gown.
“When I first saw the dress hanging on the rail, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I loved the lace design and it was bright white. I had often spoken to my sister and friends about my dream wedding dress (long before the proposal) and my key criteria were long sleeves and a high neck.”
She tried it on, daring to hope it would be in her size.
To her amazement, the dress fit perfectly. Wilkinson said that it all felt like fate.
She decided to do some small alterations to the dress, such as replacing zippers with buttons and redoing the arrangement of some of the flowers on the front. Although the alterations cost about £200, Wilkinson said those were voluntary. She would have been happy to wear the dress as she found it in the shop.
Even with the alterations, the cost was drastically lower than it is for most brides.
In the U.K., women spend an average of £1,500 on designer wedding gowns found in boutiques — although much cheaper ones can be found in other stores. It’s no surprise that women are increasingly turning to online stores like Etsy and Modcloth. as well as consignment shops and dress rentals.
Wilkinson wanted to find out more about her dress, so she started to do a bit of digging.
She took it to a vintage bridal store to have it examined, hoping that she could learn more about its history.
There, she was told the dress dated from the 1950s. Even more amazingly, it was hand-made, possibly by a relative of the bride. But the flower decorations on the dress are even older, which may mean they were a family heirloom for the bride 60 years ago.
“Finding out the history of the dress made me love it even more,” said Wilkinson.
Wilkinson says that she’s holding onto the dress for now in the hopes that she can contact the person who donated it to show them photos from her wedding, as well as learn more about the history of the dress.
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