Sally Hubbard is one of a number of Authorised Lay Ministers (ALM) at St Nicholas Church in Lincoln. Each ALM has their own way of contributing to the church whether that is ministry, mission or pastoral work. Sally’s particular interest is mission.

Since finishing her ALM training she has started a number of outreach projects including a creative craft group called ARK*, a film and fellowship group that meet at Bishop Grosseteste once a month, but to date her biggest project has been her recent exhibition of wedding dresses.

Sally explained: “It all started about a year ago when I thought how nice the church would look with a display of wedding dresses. I have pictures of my own mother’s wedding and as she looked so beautiful in the photos I thought how lovely it would be if the dress could come out of its box and put on display. I miss my mum very much and I wondered if other people would like to celebrate their loved ones with a display of dresses from different decades.”

After getting permission for the project from Dr Hugh Jones, the vicar, and the church PCC Sally got a date secured in the church calendar and then it was “all systems go” she said. She got in touch with a tutor from Lincoln College to see if there might be a student who would like to be involved to help with outreach to the wider community. Having secured that help she turned her thoughts next to how she was going to display the dresses.

“I put out a request on the church’s Facebook page and in the church weekly sheet then actually managed to get my request put out on radio Lincolnshire and that worked out  very well!” she said. Sally added “People were so helpful and I would like to thank everyone who lent me mannequins including Jane’s wedding dress shop and the boutique in the bail. Some friends of mine also borrowed from people they knew and also the University of Lincoln also lent me some.”

Sally’s next job was to work on advertising and marketing the exhibition. That done, it was time to pick up the dresses. “Collecting the dresses was by far definitely the best bit” she said.  “I had 14 in all. It was just so lovely gathering them all up and then uncovering all these beautiful gowns. I was also given some photos of the bride and groom on their happy day and people told me their stories; it was wonderful. We had dresses all the way from the 50s to 2017. They are all just so special in their own way as they mark such a big day in someone’s life.

“My mothers dress is the second one from the centre on the right. It was homemade with a lace overlay with silk and beaded detailing on the front with a lace train. My parents were married on the 29thApril 1968 in Metheringham. I treasure the photos of their wedding and my dad even managed to stand next her dress on the exhibition day just as he did all those years ago.”

Of course, no wedding is complete without music, flowers, songs, poetry and refreshments.

Many people at the church helped with baking cakes and making up posies of flowers to add detail and colour to the display.  Su Toogood organised entertainment in the form of wedding music, songs and a poetry reading which perfectly complemented the display.

Sally said: “The day was a great success and it really became a community event. We raised £140 for the church and received some wonderful comments in our visitors' book.”

*ARK is open to all every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.