Belfast Telegraph

How Strabane dry cleaners rescued bride’s wedding gown after drinks spill on big day

Catherine Barr in her wedding dress
Catherine Barr in her wedding dress
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

If there is one thing that could possibly bring a bride to tears on her big day, then it would be drink being spilled all over her wedding dress.

But thankfully for Northern Ireland bride Catherine Barr, a Tyrone dry cleaners gave her a great reception in her hour of need and made sure her fairytale day went ahead perfectly as planned.

The 28-year-old Ballymagorry creche assistant panicked when her toddler daughter spilled a red drink all over the back of her wedding gown after she emerged from the Sacred Heart Church in Strabane after tying the knot with her beau Mark (29), a manager in Asda.

But her quick thinking photographer Alan Redstone saved the day and ensured the local dry cleaners swung into action and helped the damsel in 'dis-dress'.

Catherine Barr at the dry cleaners
Catherine Barr at the dry cleaners

"After the wedding ceremony we had an ice cream van outside," she said.

"We have a little daughter Ebha, who is two years old. She was running around outside with a red Slush Puppy drink in her hand. She was running away from a wasp. Me and her daddy were standing getting photographs taken outside the chapel and she tripped over my dress and the Slush Puppy went all down the back of the dress.

"I just put my two hands up to my head and said 'oh my God', I couldn't believe it. My sister came over and led me away.

"Everyone was fussing around me and I was telling them it was OK. I had my photographs taken at that stage so I was telling them it didn't really matter.

"My sister brought me around to the side of the chapel to the tap and tried to wipe the worst of it off and then someone suggested we try Jiffy Dry Cleaners in Abercorn Square in the town.

"So we got into the wedding car with Ebha and the limos followed us with the wedding party and we all landed down to the dry cleaners. Our photographer Alan Redstone went on ahead and told them we were coming.

"There were three ladies working there and they came out to greet me and then brought me on in behind the counter and into the back. The video man was in making sure he got all the happenings and the photographer was in getting pictures, too. It was hilarious.

"The girls in the dry cleaners told me it would take about an hour. They took me into the bathroom and got the dress off and I sat there for an hour in my underwear on a stool. They gave me tea and coffee and looked after me so very well while they got the dress sorted. They were absolutely amazing. They worked miracles and kept coming in to tell me how they were getting on and making sure I was OK."

Catherine says that she was not fazed by the drama, rather she was quite pleased she would have a memorable story to tell at the reception which was held in the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny later that afternoon.

The couple share an ice cream after tying the knot
The couple share an ice cream after tying the knot

"Eventually they got the stain out," she said. "All we could do was laugh about it. If I hadn't laughed I might have cried. But I didn't let it ruin my day.

"The three dry cleaner ladies then walked me out to the car. They carried my train and made sure I got into the car alright and they wouldn't take a penny from me for their trouble."

Soap queen Susan McKay, who owns Strabane's Jiffy Dry Cleaners with her husband Brian, says she did her best for the bride.

"We had to get the bride to take the dress off completely. So we got her comfortable in the bathroom and she sat there in her underwear with a glass of champagne," she said.

"We had to dry the piece of the dress that was affected. We put a solution on the stain to bleach it to reduce the dye.

"We had to wait until it worked through. Then we had to flush that out and dry it off and then steam-press the dress that we had been working with.

Catherine Barr with husband Mark
Catherine Barr with husband Mark

"We couldn't remove the stain completely as it would have had to go through the actual cycle to flush it out.

"But it was well faded down so that you wouldn't know it was there anymore and she was happy with it and was away to her reception after an hour."

Susan says that she is no stranger to wedding dramas but an actual wedding day bride is a first for her.

"This is the first time that we have had to take a dress off a bride on her wedding day before the groom got to do it!" she said.

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