When I opened my bridal shop I decided that it would be fun to put on some fashion shows to publcise the beautiful dresses. I had quickly learnt that a friendly and informal approach to sales worked best as brides seemed to be intimidated by anything too starchy and so I felt that our complete lack of experience on the catwalk would not be a problem. I wasn’t trying to be too grand and professional so how hard could it be?
Very hard as it turned out. As with most things in life the potential pitfalls don’t occur to you until they jump up and hit you in the face and so it was that we launched on a series of presentations that would have gone viral on YouTube had we had the presence of mind to film them!
An Unseemly Rush
Our initial efforts were severely hampered by having grossly underestimated the time it takes to change in and out of a wedding dress. What should have been an elegant procession of beautiful gowns turned into a succession of models running down corridors clutching at their skirts and arriving red faced on the catwalk. The length of the dresses was problematic too and on one occasion I fell flat on my face in the middle of the show and then seized by a fit on the giggles found that I couldn’t get up again.
Things took a turn for the worse when I decided to take a leaf out of the professionals’ book and throw small gifts into the audience. I had seen this done at the big bridal exhibitions and thought it was a great idea. I made up some pretty favour bags and filled them with sweets and then stepped out onto the catwalk. I flung the first bag in the general direction of one of the watching brides who unfortunately turned away just as I launched it and the sugared almonds hit her smack on the temple. We abandoned the idea of the favour bags and tried soft toys instead but after a furry rabbit got caught in a chandelier and started to smoulder we were forced to review our procedures!
At a later date we decided to feature a confetti cannon. This looked like a great way to create a grand finale but we hadn’t figured on the sheer power of the thing. As we climaxed the show it projected a Niagara of metallic paper all over the audience with such force that the guests were still picking it out of every orifice hours later. The models were rendered invisible and the hotel banned us for making such a mess.
Perhaps our biggest embarrassment occurred in a rather smart Oxfordshire hotel. The show was going very well and for once we had a good sized changing room close to the catwalk. Then disaster struck and the velvet curtain which covered the glass door fell down giving the male models waiting to go out a fabulous view of us all topless in the changing room. I was only thankful that I had chosen to wear my best lingerie but in hindsight that probably wasn’t what they guys were looking at!
Eventually we had fallen into every hole that we could dig for ourselves and mastered the art of delivering a catwalk show with some level of decorum. In the later years there were no more injuries inflicted on the audience, we had stopped destroying the venues and the shows were really rather good. It wasn’t so much fun without the confetti cannons, fire hazards and moments of unscheduled nudity and I am not sure that our sales improved but at least we weren’t banned from any more venues!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer who worked in the bridal industry for nine years