Queen’s dress for her big day

2013-09-03 00:00

WHEN Paula Walker decided to get married for the second time, she had no idea she would walk down the aisle in her dream designer dress courtesy of international wedding and cocktail dress company Pronovias — the same company that designed former Miss Universe Michelle McLean’s dress.

While watching McLean’s “blessing ceremony” with local soccer icon Gary Bailey on Top Billing, Pietermaritzburg’s Paula Walker found her dream wedding dress. After many e-mails, a little luck and the kindness of a manager, Walker was able to tie the knot in a replica of McLean’s dream dress — free of charge.

Walker and her husband had both been married before, so for their second wedding they did not want to spend too much. Walker was still wondering what she was going to wear for the wedding when she saw the gorgeous dress McLean wore on Top Billing.

“It was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. I googled Michelle McLean and found her e-mail address. I e-mailed her, congratulating her on her wedding, and asked her about the dress. I didn’t really think that she would reply, but two hours later she did!” Walker told The Witness.

McLean congratulated Walker on her engagement and told her that she had acquired the dress from Pronovias. Walker then e-mailed the only South African branch of Pronovias to inquire about the dress.

“They sent me a quotation for the dress and it was way more than I could afford. I asked if I could rent the dress and they said they don’t do that. So I told them I can’t afford it, thanked them for their time and told them how much I love their dresses. I then got a phone call from the manager of the store, who asked for my measurements. They were allowing me to borrow the dress for my wedding at no cost!” said Walker.

Sharlene Stroebel, manager of Pronovias in Sandton, Johannesburg said: “Michelle McLean forwarded Paula’s e-mail to me, and shortly after Paula e-mailed to inquire about the dress. When she said she couldn’t afford it, we decided to let her borrow it. We wanted to make her happy. The dress was the exact same style and colour as the dress Michelle wore. Paula was so excited when we told her, she actually screamed.”

The dress was couriered from Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg for the ceremony. Walker tied the knot on Women’s Day, August 9: “Even though it was my second wedding, I felt the most beautiful woman on that day. The dress was so feminine and stunning; I did not want to get out of it! One of my friends told me it was cheeky to e-mail Michelle and ask her about the dress. I don’t think so. You must never be shy to ask, you never know what may happen. Whether the dress was borrowed or bought it was so special, and I am so happy I got to wear it. It was just me.”

• annzra.naidoo@witness,co.za

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