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“I was proud to tell people my wedding dress was second-hand”

Sandra Coulter, Chief Executive of North East charity Silverline Memories, has shared her experiences of buying her wedding dress from our St Oswald’s Hospice Bridal and Posh Frocks Boutique in Whitley Bay. Sandra, who got married on 26th September 2020 during lockdown at St Aidan’s Church, Brunton Park, heard about the shop via a colleague and was delighted with her experience and the end result.

Sandra said: “I first heard about the shop from a colleague of mine who had visited St Oswald’s Hospice Bridal Shop in Whitley Bay to buy some Mother of the Bride outfits and knowing my wedding was coming up, she suggested I visit the shop to check out the range of outfits as she’d been really impressed.

“I loved the fact that the shops promote re-cycling and sustainability, and with it being second-time around for me and my husband we didn’t want to spend £1000+ on a wedding dress. I always have a special place for St Oswald’s Hospice in my heart as they’ve supported people close to me with end of life care and have helped so many families from across the North East so it felt great to give back to them.

“I absolutely loved the shop and the whole experience of choosing my wedding dress. It was such a comfortable environment. Most wedding and bridal shops are for younger and slimmer models and as a woman who was getting re-married, doing it a second time and with a larger figure – there were so many gorgeous dresses for all shapes and sizes that were of superb quality. I was stunned and amazed by the selection of outfits and affordable prices.

“I received so many lovely comments about my dress from wedding guests. I wasn’t sure about whether I should share the fact my dress was from a charity shop, but I received such fantastic comments that I was proud to tell people it was second-hand and from a charity shop much to the surprise of my guests.

“I felt so incredible and special on my wedding day – exactly how every bride should feel – and that was partly because of how comfortable I felt wearing my gorgeous dress. My husband’s face when he saw me on my wedding day is what really mattered to me.

“The staff and volunteers were all absolutely lovely to me and made the experience of choosing my dress so special. They weren’t in any way pushy and just allowed me and my family to go through all the different dresses, try them on in a comfortable fitting room and choose the outfits that were right for us. When I was trying on the dress I ultimately went for, the team were so lovely and supportive of my choice and were suggesting lots of different accessories for me to wear and I came away with a blue garter, a silver sixpence, a fur-hooded gown to wear over my dress and I even sampled some gorgeous perfumes – one of which has become my favourite perfume which I still wear to this day.

“Given my age and considering it was my second wedding, I assumed I would go for more of a classy suit or mother of the bride style outfit, but instead I fell in love with the dress I went with. I openly tell people all about what a fantastic place St Oswald’s Hospice Bridal shop is and push people to shop there when they’re looking for a bridal dress, prom dress or formalwear for a special occasion. It’s such a special place from the moment you walk into the shop, there’s gorgeous photographs on the wall, with a real bridal boutique feel.”

To learn more about St Oswald’s Hospice Posh Frocks and Bridal Boutique, please visit: St Oswald's Hospice | Whitley Bay Books and Bridal (stoswaldsuk.org).