The 38-year-old has spent the past year planning everything from the castle venue and purple colour scheme, to the flowers and song for her and her new husband’s first dance.
The only thing she is yet to find is the groom.
Despite having planned her entire wedding day, Theresa is single — and hasn’t dated for three years.
Yet the mum-of-three has spent more than £1,500 on her big day — so when her dream man finally sweeps her off her feet, she’ll have everything ready.
Theresa, a shop assistant, says: “I don’t think it weird to have planned my wedding without a man. It is a big job, so starting now is sensible.
“Every time I open my wardrobe and see the white dress I’ll get married in, I get a flash of excitement. I’m convinced it won’t be long till I find a man and walk down the aisle.”
Theresa was just ten when she began dreaming up her big day, having loved Disney classic Cinderella.
She says: “I used to dress up in big white gowns like her and pretend I’d lost my shoe to try to find my Prince Charming. My pals nicknamed me Cinderella.”
At school, Theresa had boyfriends, then when she began work at her local Tesco aged 19 she fell in love for the first time.
She says: “I met Greg* and we fell for each other. We had been dating for a year when I found I was pregnant. I thought Greg would then propose — but he left me.”
Theresa brought up their son Thomas, now 18, as a single mum, crushed that her dream of becoming a bride had been realised.
When she was 22, she then began dating Wayne, 38. The couple went on to have two boys, Ben, 12, and Callum, eight.
She says: “He knew I wanted a big wedding, I talked about it non-stop, but he didn’t want to rush it. It caused arguments and we ended up breaking up after six years.
“Since then I’ve been trying to find a real man, mature enough to settle down. But I was so angry with my past two men for leaving me, I decided I wasn’t going to wait any more, I would plan my wedding.”
Theresa admits it is an obsession. She recalls: “I started small, filling scrapbooks with fabric swatches, dress designs and sample menus. I upgraded to a spreadsheet to record lists and budgets. I couldn’t stop. I spend up to four hours a day doing various things for my wedding day.
“Two years ago I decided to pick my three bridesmaids so they could help plan. At first they were shocked, thinking I’d found a secret fiance, but when I said I didn’t have one they just rolled their eyes.
“My parents are less supportive. They worry I’ll miss a potential husband because I’m too busy planning a wedding. They think I’ll scare men off.”
But Theresa, from Dublin, continues with her project.
She says: “To really progress my plans, I realised I needed to know my venue. I spent hours scouring the internet for venues that looked like Cinderella’s castle. That’s when I found Lough Eske Castle, near Donegal. I booked a tour in May 2016 and fell in love with it.
“The person showing me round asked the date and where the groom was and I told her I hadn’t got a groom yet but was hopeful I would find one soon.
“She laughed nervously and seemed a bit confused.
“But I have chosen the wedding package I want and even had meetings with the castle’s staff about my plans. I go there every few months.
“Then I started viewing glass carriages for transport and found a horse-drawn one I’m going to book.
“I decided on a white-and-purple theme and went shopping for dresses for my bridesmaids. I found one I loved, so bought one and took it to a seamstress who is going to make more of them when I set a date.
“I’ve planned white tulips, and carnations with a single pink rose in the centre for the bouquets, and have bought lots of purple ribbon to tie around the chairs. The menu is delicious — carrot and coriander soup to start, turkey and roasted veg for the main course and profiteroles for dessert.”
It was not long before Theresa could wait no more to buy her own gown.
She says: “I’ve been trying on wedding dresses since I was 19. I knew exactly what I wanted — a strapless dress with a crystal bodice and a huge skirt, like Cinderella.
“Standing on the pedestal with a shop assistant helping me into my dream gown was better than sex. I loved the feel of the dress and how special it made me feel.
“I told the assistant I didn’t yet have a groom. I’m not ashamed.”
Delighted to have found her dream dress, Theresa paid £1,000 for it — then £120 on a veil. To complete the look, last month she ordered crystal-encrusted shoes from America for £250.
Theresa says: “I’ve been saving for my wedding for a few years and used credit cards to pay for the dress, so I’m now £700 in debt.
“The budget so far is £25,000 and I’m hoping my groom will contribute towards a lot of that.”
Theresa takes issue with the suggestion that her marriage obsession will put off potential partners.
She says: “Lots of people say I’ll scare off any man I meet if I tell them I’ve planned my wedding, but I disagree. I think they’ll be pleased they don’t have to bother with any of the stress of organising a wedding. It’s all done for them.
“I’ve even chosen some of the groomsmen already — my three sons. And I’ve picked out their black tuxedos, with pink ties and matching waistcoats.
“I’m not delusional, I just know what I want. ‘Be prepared’ is my wedding motto. When a man finally proposes, I want to be ready — and when I find him it will be everything I’ve dreamed of.”
* Some names have been changed
What she's lined up
Wedding dress with crystal bodice and full skirt – £1,000
Lace and tulle veil – £120
Tiara, diamante, crystal diadem detail – £50
Glass wedding slippers, 4cm heel – £250
Hen-night props and games – £20
Groomsmen’s black tuxedos with pink waist coats and bowties – £200 to rent
Chosen bridesmaids (her two best friends and his sister)
Picked out colour scheme, purple and white
Pre-order bridesmaid’s dresses – £300 each
Chosen bouquets, pink and white tulips and carnations with white rose in centre
Bride’s bouquet will be all white tulips and carnations with pink rose in centre
Chosen venue, Lough Eske Castle
Picked out glass coach
Made 80-person guest list
Selected vintage-style scrolls for invitations
Chosen her menu from her venue’s caterers – carrot and coriander soup, roast turkey and profiteroles
Bought wedding underwear – £50
Picked locations for venue photos
Picked first song – A Thousand Years, the lullaby by Christina Perri (features in Twilight)
Selected wedding guest favours, ceramic animals from Cinderella movie
Honeymoon to Disneyland
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