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AISLE SAY

I’ve organised my dream £29K wedding – with dress, rings, and bridesmaid gowns – but I don’t have a man

SLIPPING into her white strapless gown and gently placing her veil on her head, Raine Franklin twirls in front of the mirror.

The 39-year-old mum-of-four looks every inch the perfect bride-to-be in her satin dress.

 Raine has planned her wedding - despite being single
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Raine has planned her wedding - despite being single

Raine, a cleaning manager, from Penzance, Cornwall, has spent the last three years planning her £29,000 wedding.

She’s painstakingly decided on a dove grey, white and black colour scheme and carefully picked everlasting silk floral bouquets, bridesmaids’ dresses and two wedding dresses - one for the day do and one for the evening.

The only problem is Raine is single and hasn’t been on a date for two-and-a-half years.

But this hasn’t stopped her from so far spending £2,800 of her £12,500 salary on her big day (for which the total budget will eventually be £29,000) - even picking up extra shifts so she can afford everything she wants.

 Raine, with the bridesmaids' dresses which she has carefully chosen
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Raine, with the bridesmaids' dresses which she has carefully chosen

So when her dream man does finally pop the question she is ready to walk down the aisle immediately.

“I just want the perfect wedding,” Raine said. "My complete wedding budget is at £29,000 and I hope my groom will help pay.

“I know people will I am crazy but the reality is I am simply well prepared.”

Raine's last date was years ago - but ended after he got sick of her ‘big day chatter’ and insistence of staking out local weddings.

 Raine has already bought rings for her wedding - including the groom's ring despite not knowing who it will be
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Raine has already bought rings for her wedding - including the groom's ring despite not knowing who it will be

Now she refuses to date anyone who won’t immediately marry her.

She explained: “I am quite frankly wedding obsessed. I am single, I don’t have a man but when he comes along all he has to do is show up at the church.”

Raine first became obsessed with weddings aged six when she first read fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty.

As an adult she started wedding planning and has trawled 17 bridal boutiques to find the perfect dress, visited 10 potential venues (finally settling on 18th century Tregenna Castle in St Ives) and spent £2,800.

What she's bought so far

Evening gown - £300
Daytime gown £1,500
Bridesmaids’ dresses £750
Veil - £150.
Bouquet - £650
Men’s pinhole flowers and bridesmaids’ posies - £600.
Wedding shoes - £100.
Wedding rings - £500

“I put £1,400 on a credit card which I am currently paying off,” she said.

She's even met with venue staff to discuss menu planning.

“It will include toast and pate as well as posh prawn cocktails.

“My wedding cake will be three tiers. I will also have cupcakes with a picture of myself and the groom on it.”

The ‘couple’ will honeymoon in Dubai. Meanwhile, the £10 invitations have been ordered. Raine’s inviting 50 people. He is allowed 20.

She continued: “Every time I look in my wedding box I feel a surge of adrenaline.

“I am addicted to getting married and I am determined to have my fairy tale wedding.”

She has taken wedding inspiration from both the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex - with the latter being her favourite.

“When Kate Middleton married Prince William I was glued to the television set and devoured every article,” she said.

When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry she became my ultimate bridal idol.

Raine Franklin

“When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry she became my ultimate bridal idol. Her wedding was so well executed and full of fairy tale moments I could tell she’d been planning her big day for as long as me.

“It’s devastated me that she and Harry are leaving the UK. I hope it won’t jinx my search for a groom.”

Sadly, unlike Meghan, Raine hasn’t found her perfect match.

“I have always been unlucky in love,” she said.

“At 17 I met James* now 41 through friends.

“I thought he was the one but when he found out I was pregnant we broke up.

“I raised Janine, 22 as a single parent but never gave up my dream of finding Prince Charming.

“It was during this period I made wedding scrapbooks and started collecting times for my wedding box to act as inspiration for my big white bride moment.”

Between then and 2007 she dated on and off until at 27 she met Derek* now 40 who was a carer for his mum.

 Raine appreciates that some people think she is a bit bonkers
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Raine appreciates that some people think she is a bit bonkers

“We met at a friend’s party,” said Raine. “We started dating. He seemed thrilled in 2010 when I fell pregnant.

“I had Tania, now nine, in October 2010. I was hoping he might propose as a ‘push present’ but all he did was buy me flowers.

“We weren’t living together because he cared for his mum but he was a wonderful father and we were a couple.

“Lyla, now nine, was born in January 2012.

“Then in November 2016 I had my fourth child and our third daughter, Riley, now four.”

By having my entire wedding planned all he has to do is show up. I’ve paid for almost everything already so I am a real catch.

Raine Franklin

Derek knew Raine was wedding obsessed.

“I talked about weddings all the time,” she confessed.

“Whenever there was a wedding at a local church I’d dragged him down to watch the bride arrive.

“Whenever we walked past a jewellery shop or wedding shop I’d tell him what engagement ring I wanted and what dress I thought would suit me.”

Three months after Riley was born, in February 2017 she was talking about a friend’s wedding and how I was hoping we’d be the next to announce our engagement when Derek said he didn’t like her constant ‘wedding chatter.’

“He told me he didn’t like to rush things,” she said. “He was happy with the way things were. I was stunned.

 Raine, pictured, with a different bouquet
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Raine, pictured, with a different bouquet
 She has picked these flowers especially for her wedding day
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She has picked these flowers especially for her wedding day

I told him I’d never made a secret of wanting a dream wedding and it seemed the logical next step. It caused more arguments and we broke up in May 2017 leaving me devastated.

“I felt like I had wasted two decades chasing the wrong men, being a great mum but not getting committed and a ring and wedding vows in return.”

Since then she has been trying to find Mr Perfect.

“I now know I have to find someone sensible who like me wants to get married and wants to walk me down the aisle immediately,” she said.

“He is out there I just have to ensure I am ready when I find him.

“By having my entire wedding planned all he has to do is show up. I’ve paid for almost everything already so I am a real catch.”

In more relationship news, Shoko was surprised when her husband of many years came out a woman.

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