‘I bought my dress 5 days before my wedding’


Rupert and I met in 2013 at a friend’s 21st birthday party. After eight years together and thinking it was never going to happen, he surprised me with a trip to Switzerland where he finally proposed.

We’d spent a week exploring, saving a visit to Oeschinensee Lake for last. Against sensible advice to take a cable car to reach the lake, Rupert decided we would hike three hours up a mountain to reach our destination instead. We ended up getting lost en route but somehow, as if by fate, we ended up at the very spot he had planned to propose. Both out of breath and overlooking the most stunning views of crystal clear blue water, he dropped to one knee in a muddy puddle and asked me to marry him.

We had actually designed my engagement ring together a year prior, something I’d always dreamed of doing. After a few appointments where we selected diamonds, chose the shape and cut, tried on ring moulds and perfected the design, I left it to Rupert and the jeweller. The proposal all those months later was the first time I had seen the finished ring and it was everything I had imagined and more.

When it came to wedding planning, we initially thought of getting married abroad in the sunshine, but having just welcomed our baby it was proving to be a logistical nightmare. We started looking at UK venues, only to find many were booked up for the next three years as a result of Covid. It was by chance that one of our favourite venues – Caswell House in the Cotswolds – was available having had a cancellation for the same date as my grandparents’ wedding anniversary, a sentimental coincidence we couldn’t ignore.

alice and rupert on their wedding daypinterest

Hannah McClune Photography

A date and venue secured, it was time to think about wedding dress shopping. With my 8-week-old daughter in tow, I was excited but also nervous as I knew my body was a very different size than it had been pre-pregnancy. Working in the fashion industry also added an element of pressure. All I knew, was I wanted a Rosa Clará design, the Spanish-based bridal atelier renowned for the feminine elegance of their wedding dresses.

While I didn’t have that ‘wow’ moment everyone says you get, the dress I chose was the one I felt most comfortable in. It was a classic design with the addition of delicate tulle bows draped over the shoulders, which I was sure I’d still like on my wedding day in 10 months’ time.

alice in her wedding dress on her wedding daypinterest

Hannah McClune Photography

I had my first fitting two months before the wedding, the recommended time period for wedding dress alterations. The seamstress was immediately concerned at how big the dress was and concluded the fitting by recommending I get a new dress as the work required was too big a job. With my heart set on wearing a Rosa Clará design and a minimum six-month production timeline to make a wedding dress, this wasn’t an option.

I consulted another seamstress for a second opinion who assured me it would be no problem to make the alterations, and within our two-month deadline. I was feeling much more positive, something that continued when I returned for a second fitting a couple of weeks later. There was still a lot of work to do to have the dress fitting properly, but the skirt length had been altered and the bodice was looking lovely, despite the gaping.

The final fitting, in which I was supposed to leave with my now-perfect dress, was scheduled for a week before the wedding. I held my breath as I tried it on, and was alarmed to find it felt quite tight. My weight hadn’t changed since my last fitting, but the dress was drastically smaller. Looking in the mirror confirmed it, the dress wasn’t sitting properly and was puckering along either side of the zip. The seamstress told me it looked fine, and unsure what else to do, I took the dress and left the appointment.

alice and rupert on their wedding daypinterest

Hannah McClune Photography

As soon as I got home, I tried tit on again. It was even worse than I thought; the shoulder straps were different lengths and the lace down the front of the dress was completely off-centre. I knew there was no fixing it at this point. For the next 24 hours, I went into complete panic. I had six days before my wedding and no dress.

I spent hours scrolling on the internet for high street wedding dresses which would arrive the same day, but nothing was what I wanted. I searched for second-hand Rosa Clará dresses in the hope someone might be selling the same dress but had no luck. Until, another 24 hours closer to the wedding day, I came across a sample of the exact same Rosa Clará dress I’d chosen, on sale in a Brighton bridal boutique. The sample had never been worn and looked in perfect condition from the images, the only difference from my original dress was the slightly different lace design and the size.

After phoning and confirming it was still available, I drove the two-hour journey, hoping the whole way there it would fit. Much to my relief, it did! It still required a few alterations to make it perfect, but I was able to find two seamstresses who were able to get it ready in time.

alice in her wedding dresspinterest

Hannah McClune Photography

The dress needed to be taken up as it was too long, which required hand-cutting and re-sewing the lace back together, which took one seamstress into the early hours of the morning. A second seamstress, who was conveniently a family friend, then took over to add all the final touches – including the tulle bows which I had taken from the original dress and satin-covered buttons down the back of the design, sourced by the owner of the Brighton boutique after I mentioned loving that specific detail of my first dress. She, and the two seamstresses, were extremely sympathetic of my unique situation.

I picked up the new dress on the way to our Cotswolds wedding venue the day before I was getting married. It was an overwhelming feeling of relief that I had a dress to wear at all, but I ended up loving it even more than my first dress.

Everything came together on the day. Despite prior weeks of rain, we got lucky with dry skies and even sunshine, meaning we could have the outdoor ceremony we’d been dreaming of. We had our wedding breakfast in the beautiful barn decorated with delicate fairy lights and danced the night away with our closest family and friends. It was truly something out of a fairy tale.

alice and rupert on their wedding daypinterest

Hannah McClune Photography


Alexandria Dale is Digital Fashion Writer at Cosmopolitan & . Covering everything from the worth knowing about to the latest fashion news, there’s nothing she loves more than finding a high street dupe of a must-have designer item. As well as discovering new brands, she’s passionate about and establishing the trends that are actually worth investing in. Having worked in fashion journalism for six years, she has experience at both digital and print publications including Glamour and Ok! 


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