I think it’s safe to say that as soon as most brides to be are asked that all important question ‘will you marry me?’ and that beautiful shiny ring is slipped on their finger they start dreaming about their dream wedding dress – I know I did. To be honest I imagine there are a large number of women out there who don’t even have a partner that do. I loved my wedding dress, as soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one and with only five weeks till the big day I’m glad I found it otherwise I’d have been trotting down the aisle in my pyjamas (long story).
Anyway my best and oldest friend (nearly 32 years and counting) got engaged last year with the wedding scheduled for August this year and it was my biggest pleasure in life to accept when she asked me to be her Maid of Honour. Coincidently, my husband is one of the best men as he is also the best friend of the groom-to-be and has been for 25 years. It’s going to be fantastic – I CAN’T WAIT!
So as my best friend is getting married what’s a better way to spend the day then looking at ‘Wedding Dresses 1775 – 2014’ at the Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A) in South Kensington, London? After getting an early train from Yorkshire (takes approx. 2hrs 40mins) we arrived at Kings Cross, headed to the tube station and jumped on the Piccadilly Line directly to South Kensington Tube Station (around 8 stops and 20 minutes later). I’ve never been to the V&A before so the sheer size of it surprised me – it’s massive, in fact it spans 12.5 acres and the façade is very impressive.
The museum has a number of static exhibitions including architecture, conservation, fashion, photography etc, none of which we had time to visit unfortunately. We arrived at 11.30am and walked straight in, be prepared for a random bag search – safety first. The entrance hall is breath taking with the V&A Rotunda Chandelier hanging proudly. It is a glass sculpture which hangs under the glass rotunda, it was designed by Dale Chihuly and was originally installed in 1999 however it was then made bigger and reinstalled in 2001. It’s pretty cool.
The V&A is free…yes free. The museum is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and in 2001 the entrance free for this and many other museums in England, Scotland and Wales was scraped. They do however charge for the visiting exhibitions such as the ‘Wedding Dresses 1775 – 2014’ at a cost of £12 (plus booking fee) per adult (free if you are a V&A member). I don’t want to say too much about what is behind the big white wall but oh my gosh….so many people gasping in delight at the various wedding dresses and wedding paraphernalia on show – the shoes, the bags, the veils – it was all so beautiful. The cute added touch is the showing of the Dutch and Duchess of Wales’ wedding. People stopped and watched it intently with many asking the question ‘did you watch it live?’ (of course I did, who didn’t – the green eyed monster reared his ugly head and I got complete dress envy!).
The pièce de résistance is on the upper floor of the exhibition here you will find a varied range of exquisite wedding dresses and with short stories attached to each of them explaining who wore them and when. The two I completely swooned over were Gwen Stefani’s immense dip dyed white and pink dress and Kate Moss’ beautiful beaded gold dress. The visit made me want to get married all over again and gave my best friend lots of ideas for accessories for her wedding day (as she already has her dress).
Please note this exhibition closes on 15th March 2015 – so get your skates on if you want to visit! Oh and get there early, as we left at 1.30pm the queue was stretching on for what seemed like a mile!