I like tradition.  I find it reassuring to know that I am following in the footsteps of those who have gone before me.  But that doesn’t mean that I always conform to established patterns of behaviour.  Between you and me, I quite like doing things a little differently and bucking the trend.   But before you get too excited, I should tell you that I’m not about to reveal anything very rock and roll here.  We’re talking about the timing of purchasing my wedding shoes.  Pick up any bridal magazine and you’ll find a wedding planner that advises buying the shoes about three months in advance of the Big Day, well after buying The Dress.  I’m sure that’s sound advice but my shoes were bought before we’d even agreed on the year of our marriage.  I just saw them and fell in love.  A bit like the day I met H2B in the pub.

Fig. 1. My Bertie Shoes before their colour transformation

Most people who’ve seen my Bertie shoes express surprise that I’ve opted for ballet flats.  It’s not that I never wear heels – I do – but these are just so dainty and absolutely perfect for a B2B, like me, who loves both ballet and flowers.  And although the decorative flowers are generic, I think you’ll agree that they’re not too dissimilar to petals of the Hydrangea flowers I plan to carry as I walk up the aisle.

Fig. 2. Hydrangea flower

But whilst the shoes were stylistically spot on, there was a bit of a problem: when placed next to a swatch of my dress they didn’t appear white or even ivory.  They looked positively grubby.   It’s a good job that Mrs Moore-to-be just loves a challenge, especially when it involves a little bespoogling-type activity.

On previous occasions, I had searched for craftspeople that would either create a bespoke object from scratch, such as The Bespoke Confetti Company or, as in the case of Emma Bridgewater, personalise a standard ware that the company itself had manufactured.  But this time I was looking for somewhere that would take my off-the-shelf shoes and dye them to match the tone of my wedding dress material.  And I found just what I was looking for in Shoe Dying Direct.  Based in Stoke-on-Trent, this company dyes shoes and bags, both fabric and leather, to just about any colour in the rainbow at a very reasonable cost indeed.   Although they offer a postal service, I decided I wanted to take my shoes in person to discuss any issues that might arise with regard to dyeing the flowers which I could see would be a fiddly job.   Getting there was a bit more of a jaunt than I had anticipated, involving a train and taxi journey and a lot of waiting around to catch the train home.  But it was well worth the effort and I was so grateful to the lady who waited for me to arrive even though that meant extending her working day beyond normal hours.  Just a brief conversation with her convinced me of the professionalism of Shoe Dyeing Direct and, as the train pulled out of the station, homeward bound, I felt confident that my beautiful shoes were in good hands.

Fig. 3. My Bertie Shoes – transformed by Shoe Dyeing Direct

As you can see, my confidence was not misplaced: last weekend, when I unwrapped the package that the postman had delivered, my expectations weren’t just met; they were exceeded.  So I now possess the most beautiful pair of white shoes that I will be proud to wear when I go for my very first dress fitting with KoTD in London this coming Saturday!

Fig. 4. Close up of flower detail after dyeing process

On Friday, we’ll conclude the theme of customisation by looking at an organisation which, despite its considerable size, has demonstrated remarkable flexibility, not to mention patience, in creating a menu which has Mrs Moore-to-be’s stamp of approval!