MOST brides-to-be spend hours agonising over finding the perfect dress for their big day, often spending thousands of pounds in the process.

But for Blackburn woman Catherine Wilkinson, the experience was somewhat quicker and a whole lot cheaper.

For the Liverpool John Moores  University lecturer found her dream gown just hours after her boyfriend Mike proposed to her - with a price tag of just £35 in a charity shop.

The 29-year-old said: “On the day that Mike proposed to me, he took me for a night in York - knowing it is my favourite city in the UK.

“The next day we were looking around the shops and I stumbled across the dress in a Sue Ryder store.

“It was a shop on two floors. Mike was downstairs and I phoned him and asked him not to come upstairs while I tried something on.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the dress as it fitted my criteria of what I always imagined my wedding dress would be - full lace, high neck and long sleeves. It is a style that you don’t often see in modern bridal stores.”

After her wedding day Catherine posted pictures of her dress to social media, telling her family and friends all about how she had found the dress in a charity shop.

Within a few days the post had gone viral, with thousands applauding Catherine for her thrifty ways.

She said: “The response to the story has been overwhelmingly positive. When I noticed the story was being shared so widely I was scared to look at the comments, however so many people have had such lovely things to say so it has been a really positive experience.”

But finding her dress in a charity shop wasn’t that much of a shock for Catherine, who said her friends had been teasing her about before she even found it.

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She said: “I always had a feeling I would find my wedding dress in a charity shop, and it was something my friends often joked about as they know I love browsing charity shops.

“However, I never imagined that I would find my wedding dress the day after I was proposed to, and without actively looking for it.”

All of the professional  photos in this article were taken by Jack Cook Photography.