SATURDAY saw another foray into the dizzying world of wedding dress shopping but this time Best Friend and I took a road trip to the wilds of Kildare in search of a bridal shop there.

And the wilds of Kildare it was. Ruben Bridal is in Calverstown, officially the world’s smallest village featuring a single pub, a single shop (called ‘Newsagents’) a church and the bridal shop.

The Tom Tom lady told us that after 300 metres we had reached our destination but naturally we didn’t believe her.

“This couldn’t be it,” I scoffed “sure there’s just this pub and all these houses and a sign here. What does that sign say?”

You are now leaving Calverstown.


A quick u-turn at the bottom of someone’s driveway later and we were parked in front of the pub looking at each other thinking that obviously we were indeed in Calverstown but where was the bloody shop?

Behind the pub apparently. Where it had been all along. God bless my good-enough-even-without-my-glasses eyesight.

Up the stairs we climbed, emerging into a beautifully decorated sunlit flooded room featuring two huge mirrors and racks of dresses and were greeted by two ladies.

“Pick a couple there to get started,” they encouraged stepping hastily back as we nearly knocked them over in our rush to get to the gowns.

Ooooh we’ll try this one and this one…and OH this one!

Dress Number One: V-neck, a-line skirt, huge underskirts, think Cinderella. Beautiful on the hanger. On me? Not so much. Best Friend gave me her patented ‘I’m being polite cos we’re in company, but get that RAG off you’ look. Next!

Dress Number Two: V-neck, satin with an incredible lacy overlay, studded with sparkling crystals and delicate silver thread. A corset gave a cinched in waist and it fit almost perfectly. Oh my. I could see myself in this. Best Friend approved. A definite maybe.

Dress Number Three: Strapless, diamond and bead encrusted bodice, netting and taffeta skirt scattered with crystals. Not something I would have thought would look good but I gave it a bash in the name of research. A corset again gave a waist and a shape and it swished becomingly when I moved. The diamonds and beads were already cutting and scratching under my arms though and while it was beautiful I wasn’t 100 per cent convinced. A maybe maybe.

Dress Number Four: Strapless, sweetheart neckline, diamante beading detail at the hip, gathered in a ruching kind of way sweeping across the body, falling into a straight, yet swishy, skirt with a small train. Silky/satin/taffeta material, so light to wear yet heavy enough to give good drape, in a warm ivory colour. I looked in the mirror and fell head over heels in love. It was amazing, my figure was pure hourglass, my skin creamy – the pasty, fat, red-faced girl of a minute ago disappeared and a bride replaced her. Looking at myself, I felt guilty. What about ‘the dress’ from last week, the first one I tried on, the one I also fell in love with? If I’m honest, this new dress blew it right out of the water. Best Friend gasped when she saw it. Good enough for me! It’s in the ‘this could be it’ pile.

Reluctantly I let the assistant shoehorn me out of the dress and back into my civvies and then it was Best Friend’s turn.

Dress Number One: Halter neck, detail on the bust, a-line skirt that had a lift at the front revealing lovely netting/lace underskirts. Gorgeous on, really made the most of Best Friend’s lovely little figure – but a heavy dress with a long train and lots of underskirts, not practical for a Canadian wedding in 30 degree heat. Next!

Dress Number Two: Strapless, with a stunning band of crystals around the bust, falling to a beautiful swishy skirt with a short train. Simple, elegant, the luxurious soft material moulded itself to her, accentuating waist and bust. “I like it!” she announced sounding surprised. So did I, it was stunning. A definite front runner.

Dress Number Three: Chiffon, strapless, with a sparkling diamante cross across the bust falling to a straight chiffon skirt. Simple, elegant, beautiful. Exactly the type of material she had been looking for and really pretty, it looked beautiful. But perhaps a little too simple? A maybe maybe.

Dress Number Four: The same Dress Number Four as I tried on above! Just as beautiful on her as it was on me, though she thought it looked better on me. She’s too polite for her own good! I think she’s kindly marked it off her list as she saw how much I loved it. Aw!

Heads full of dresses we stumbled back out into the sunlight and bade Calverstown goodbye. For now.

The hunt continues.


Image: Sharron Goodyear /