The Wedding Dress I didn’t get to wear.


Barry and I decided to get married (there was no proposal as such, just a sort of mutual discussion/decision.)  We decided on a small Australian backyard family wedding in December 2000 as we would be in Australia for Ola’s first Christmas.

The following is the disaster that ensued.

-----------------------FACSIMILE TRANSMITTANCE SHEET-----------------------
TO:         'Anastasia'
COMPANY:     Elegant Weddings
FROM:       'S'
DATE:        18/10/00
RE:          Wedding 5th Jan 2001

Hello Anastasia,

Sorry I have not personally contacted you earlier regarding our Wedding on the 5th of January 2001 at Barry’s parents home in Eltham.

I understand that we now need to confirm the booking and you require a deposit to be paid. I would greatly appreciate it if you could forward me a breakdown of arrangements and costs to date.

Thank you in advance.



Author:  'Camilla'
Date:     Monday, October 30, 2000 5:47AM (AUSTRALIAN Time)
To:      'S'

Hello  S,

Hope you are all well.   It was really good to speak to you last week, we should have done it a long time ago and I thought we had managed to sort a lot out.  One thing though, I   thought we had agreed that we would sort out the arrangements for paying for the wedding when you got here.  I know you want to pay your share and that’s fine and I also explained that Arthur and I wanted to pay for the extra food and a few other extra items and I thought we had agreed to carry on with those arrangements.   I phoned Anastasia to tell her not to bother sending anything to you as we had spoken and were leaving everything until you got out here.

I have just had a call from Anastasia to say that she was a little confused as your mother, had contacted her asking for a breakdown of the arrangements, as you are working to a budget and you had asked to change the cake.

S, you can change whatever you like, but Anastasia considers me to be her client.   I am paying for her services as you asked me to make the Wedding arrangements for you, and after the phone conversation I thought you were happy to continue with that.   It’s getting a little embarrassing, as Anastasia is wondering why I am being left out of the loop.  Could you either phone me or email me so that I can understand what is happening.

I am at home today, that’s why I thought I would email you, I have had a badly infected finger for a few days and have had to go to the doctors each day to have penicillin injections. The pain was unbearable at one point and I was having to dose myself up with Panadeine Forte.   I am going into work tomorrow, but for a few days I haven’t been able to use my hand at all, so I couldn’t drive or type, so I thought I would try typing this email.  I’ve not been too bad, but the swollen finger keeps hitting more than one key, so it’s taking longer than usual!!

Hope to hear from you soon.

Lots of love




Author: 'S'
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000 11:30PM (UK Time)
To: 'Camilla'

Camilla, I am sorry that I have embarrassed you, I didn’t mean to.  I don’t think that it is unreasonable to want to know what has been organised and the cost of my own wedding, as there are some other bits and pieces I would have liked to arrange/buy but needed to know if I still had the budget.  I appreciate that the wedding was to take place at your home and therefore your final say on arrangements would always be the case, but I just wanted to know what was organised to date so that I too was in the loop.

I apologise too, if Anastasia is confused, but I do not think that it is a big issue, nor an unreasonable one, if the bride contacts her directly or the Bride’s Mother.   Ultimately Barry and I would have settled the bill with her, which would make us her clients.

It is all irrelevant now, as you know we have decided to call it off.   I appreciate that I am probably a very unpopular person and so be it, unfortunately, Barry, the person I love and care about most is the one that I am most unpopular with it would seem.

Please let us know how much money we owe you and I will get it to you immediately.





Author:   'Arthur'
Date:      Tuesday, October 31, 2000 11:27PM (AUSTRALIAN Time)
To:       'Barrie' (sic)


Camilla has had one telephone call with you at God knows what time in the morning when all was sweetness and light. I now understand that despite your assurances that all was OK, you subsequently changed your mind.

That, of course is your prerogative.   However, you do have an obligation to tell the person whom you asked to organise your wedding that you have had a re-think.  At no time did you do so.

You were fully aware of the arrangements. Indeed, sometime late in September you told Camilla by e-mail that the ‘plans sounded wonderful’.   Camilla was aware that you had a budget of £3000 and, since you were not at risk of spending even half that, she didn’t concern herself on that score.

As I told Barrie (sic) last evening, she agreed willingly to organise the wedding, and despite the slow start, lack of initial detail and input, she did it. That’s what she does.  I build cars, Barrie (sic) does code and Camilla organises.

We didn’t want the final say on the wedding at our home. I was not prepared to offer sandwiches and vol-au-vents.  We don’t do that in the normal course of our lives never mind a family wedding so I asked Camilla to put in a little variety. I expected to fund that. Not out of charity but out of the obligation I had for that imposition.

Every other thing was in line with your requirements. You knew that and had confirmed your satisfaction by e-mail and phone.

As far as Anastasia’s cost is concerned, Camilla fully expected to pick them up. She employed her services for her own benefit.  Camilla has told you that on a number of occasions.   Also, she didn’t want the costs listed at this point, as she needed to extract the ‘little extra surprises’ that we had asked Anastasia to include, such as an ice fairy castle on the food table, chocolate hearts with both your names on to give to everyone, etc., which we would obviously pick up the costs for.  Your contribution would not have exceeded $1500 so she was in no way concerned that the budget had been blown. Everything else was exactly as your instructions and the photographs that you sent to her and which you had agreed subsequently to.

Now, if you have changed your mind about the wedding, that’s an issue for you both privately.

If you didn’t want it in Australia or our garden or in the style arranged, that too is for you to decide.  Camilla and I don’t care where you do it. Our best wishes and love went with any arrangements. Camilla’s help was not conditional.

Do not then blame this current problem on lack of communication or being out of the loop.  That is patently untrue.  I agreed last night to send the account to Barrie (sic).  That is what I will do and I expect that to be an end to this most unfortunate matter.

Camilla and I hope that you and Barrie are able to work through your current issues.





Author:   'S'
Date:      Thursday, November 2, 2000 
Priority:  Normal
To:       'Arthur'
CC:       'Barrie' (sic)

Arthur, thank you for your email. I have only just received it as a copy did not come to me and Barry had to forward it to me.  There seems to be a tremendous amount of ill feeling and for that I am sorry.

At no time, did I know that Camilla intended to pay for Anastasia, I thought that it would be built into the cost of the wedding, which Barry and I intended to pay for. I appreciate that you wanted to pay for a higher standard of food, but it is something I feel quite strongly about; that as grown adults with a child that we should pay for our own wedding.

I do not have the emails here at work with me to look back on, and any way I do not want to get into a tit for tat situation. Camilla had emailed about Anastasia requiring the deposit of over $2000 from memory, when I tallied this up mentally with the $1000 for the hotel for our honeymoon night and the day of the wedding for my preparations and my hair and flowers etc and the photographer which was mentioned at $1800 and all the other bits and pieces like food.  Mum had said that cake was going to cost $600 and then Anastasia’s   10% or 20% the figures were mounting up.

We have lived tightly this year, with Barry not taking a salary in the beginning and me being out of pocket after childcare.  Barry has told me throughout the year to watch what we spend and so I wanted to stick to the budget, for god sake my dress only cost £20, and our flights are all on top of this. l have not intentionally called this wedding off to upset anyone, trust me no one is more upset than I am. I have a house full of wedding clothes, wedding rings, cuff-links I had had made for you and Barry, etc etc and know that I am not going to be using them and worst of all that I will not be marrying Barry.

All along I have said what we were doing was far more important than how it was being done.   I don’t expect you to understand, I know that we probably would have only paid $1500 at the end of the day but the wedding would have cost much more than that and you would have paid for it. I wanted the wedding we could afford, simple, with family around, that was it. I was panicking about the cost, I and my mother asked for a breakdown from Anastasia and were told it was ‘none of my business’, that I was ‘not the client’, you and Camilla were, and then Camilla emails saying that she is embarrassed by me contacting Anastasia. Can you understand my frustration?

Anyway, what is done is done, and as discussed between you and Barry we will reimburse you any costs.

I feel that there is so much ill feeling and hostility then maybe we should not come out at Christmas, we should let this all die down and come out later in 2001.




An Aside from S

Barry’s father Arthur is a very successful well known business man who is extremely confident, some (myself included) say very arrogant (for godsake the man can’t even spell his son’s name correctly).  Camilla worked for Arthur when they lived in the UK and they commenced a workplace affair before he divorced Barry’s Mother and relocated to Australia with Camilla and her two grown daughters from her previous marriage. They are a well to do couple with a hard earned elevated social status, the best houses, clothes, cars, lives.

Camilla and Arthur offered their back yard as the venue, Barry was tickled pink – anything he could do to please his Father he did twice.  Camilla offered to arrange things for me.  I accepted, also eager to please them and with it being in their backyard it clearly made sense.  It was to be very small family wedding.  Camilla assured me it would be no trouble, that what we wanted wasn’t complicated, elaborate or expensive and that she could do it with little effort.  Next thing I know Camilla has employed the services of a Wedding Co-ordinator!  There was to be three foot high Castle Ice Sculptures amongst other over the top spectacles.  For god-sake it was only meant to be a backyard garden wedding. Arthur and in particular Camilla were using it as a PR opportunity to display their ‘generosity’. Barry and I were clearly going to be bit actors in the Camilla directored movie spectacle that was to be our wedding.  As abhorrent as the thought of vol-au-vents were to Arthur, the thought of ice sculptures horrified and embarrassed me.

I did not appreciate the email ‘slaps’ from either Camilla or Arthur, how dare I try and keep our wedding within budget and change particular items to try and stay within the budget Barry had given me. Barry was not at all happy with me though as a consequence, and he took a passive aggressive approach. There was no trouble or “current issues” for us to work through until I stood up to his Father and Step-Mother.  Arthur may have celebrated the end of the “unfortunate matter” that was our wedding, but it was the beginning of my understanding not to expect Barry’s support or back up on any issues involving his family. I was stunned and hurt.

Further to the disaster that was our non wedding we still flew to Australia for Ola’s first Christmas spending precious time with my Mum and J, no wedding.


A friend of a friend was a buyer for a well know shop in London and often had samples she sold off. I bought this from her for £20. It is a lovely silk slip dress covered in gorgeous individual hand sewn sequins (photo doesn’t really do it justice). I just don’t know why I still have this dress. I never wore it.  It broke my heart to look at it for years and even now it just makes me sad. I attempt to send it to the charity shop a few times every year but I always dig it out of the bag.

I just don’t understand why after all this time I can’t be rid of it.






3 thoughts on “The Wedding Dress I didn’t get to wear.

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