“My partner, John, proposed in June and I wanted a low-key wedding. I'd found a nice dress on the Phase Eight website.
“Then I saw on social media that Tŷ Hafan was opening its wedding boutique at its Abergavenny Emporium shop. Through the school that my husband and I work for I’ve done the Welsh 3 Peaks for Tŷ Hafan so it’s a charity that I always look out for and try to support as much as I can.
“So I said to my mum ‘Let’s go let’s have a look’. I knew that I wanted something very simple and I wasn’t sure I would find anything like it because all the dresses I’d seen in the promotional photos were very frilly and flouncy.
“But when we got to the shop itself I saw this one particular dress, I tried it on, and that was it! It was definitely the one! I was absolutely amazed. I loved it and my mother said the same.
“The ladies in shop were so brilliant - really attentive and helpful and they loved me in this dress too.
“So I bought it. Then when I got home I Googled the designer – and discovered that it was worth an awful lot more than £70 that I paid for it second hand! I had the straps altered but otherwise the fit was perfect. It was clean already, but I did pay an extra £50 to have it cleaned myself. But that was it.
“I decided not to tell anyone that my dress was second-hand until after our wedding ceremony as I wasn’t sure how some people would take it.
“We got married on Saturday 6 November at Newport Registry Office and my husband, John, cried when he saw me in my dress.
“After the ceremony I told our guests that my dress was second-hand and absolutely nobody could believe it was from a charity shop. People thought I had spent thousands on the dress! Everybody loved it, and, they loved the thought that the money spent on it had gone to charity.
“Plus there were other benefits for us too. Due to the savings I’d made on the dress I was able to upgrade to a bigger wedding with more of a party and accommodation at the Celtic Manor for our guests who’d come to the ceremony. We managed to get all our families together and that sense of party and family was so great, especially after having been apart for so long due to Covid. Without the savings I’d been able to make on the dress, we would not have been able to do all this.
“I am a charity shop shopper any way but I am particularly proud to say that I bought my wedding dress in the Tŷ Hafan Abergavenny Wedding Emporium.
“The shop confounded all my expectations. I think everybody should be doing this. There are real bargains to be had.
“As for my dream dress? I plan to wash it and donate it back to Tŷ Hafan Abergavenny again so somebody else can have the benefit of it and it can bring in even more money for Tŷ Hafan.”