Alison Goulding: Get your meringue on

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
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THE bigger the better. It’s a phrase that rings true for many things in life, I just never thought I’d apply it to wedding dresses.

Up until a month or so ago, I just didn’t get the whole white meringue-fest.

Many of my friends used to play ‘brides’ when they were little, using pillow cases as veils and flowers picked from the garden.

I, however, remember childhood games revolving more around ambushes and trip wires.

Many rainy days were spent trying to conquer the stairs while my brother lay at the top with a wooden machine gun, throwing stuffed toys at me. It was brilliant fun, but not very whimsical.

And I never really thought about a knight in shining armour – concentrating my efforts on saving up for my own horse instead.

Now, however, I am a complete convert when it comes to over-the-top, Disney style weddings and their centrepiece – the dress.

The first culprit in my conversion was the brilliant C4 programme Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, which finished on Tuesday, much to my gutted-ness.

Weeks of Thelma Madine and the gang have got me thinking “fairy lights in a dress – why wouldn’t you?” and “a dress so heavy it crushes your spine? Brilliant!”

Plus, despite all the daft hype about the series, I thought all the brides came across as really sweet, which made their dresses seem like a well-deserved dream rather than cartoon excess.

Part two of my change of heart came last week, after helping to organise a big wedding dress fashion shoot at Crook Hall, in Durham.

The models just looked so utterly fantastic and magical in their dresses that I felt steamrollered by the excitement of it all.

Especially because there were also loads of sparkly accessories floating about, and because the Hall has a secret garden and loads of other fun bits which would wear down even the most cynical-hearted.

And the third stroke came at the weekend, when my friend got engaged in a most lovely fashion, to be wed next August.

On top of London Lucie’s Italian wedding*, fast approaching this May, it has swept away all my die-hard thoughts of low-key registry office weddings and simple gowns.

I’m not sure I’d ever go as far as to have a Big Fat Wedding myself, but I applaud the ladies out there who do.

Make it loud and proud I say, there’s plenty of reality going on the rest of the year, so why settle for it on this most special of days?

*I am insanely excited to be a bridesmaid for London Lucie, who has even picked out gorgeous, dreamy dresses for us.

 Bridesmaid dresses are notoriously dodgy in my experience, but Lu has come up trumps.

 The mark of a true friend, she’d never see us looking like upholstered shepherdesses in public!