Last week, a Pretoria bride had to find a new wedding gown in a hurry – after finding out the day before the wedding that her designer had suffered a nervous breakdown.

“It’s any bride’s nightmare,” Priscilla Badenhorst (34) tells YOU.

Priscilla married her partner of the past five years, Martin Badenhorst (30), this past weekend.

Martin, a plumber with his own business, was in news headlines in 2015 when he came forward to allege that Manda Reyneke, the “tannie” who’d been accused of harassing rugby player Deon Helberg (now 29), had also harassed him. She’d allegedly sent him provocative text messages.

“In one WhatsApp she said she wanted to lick strawberries and cream from my body in Plettenberg Bay,” Martin told YOU’s sister magazine Huisgenoot, at the time. “Another time she said she’d leave her door open for me after midnight.” Martin and Priscilla were already dating then.

In November 2011 Manda Reyneke was found guilty of conspiracy to inflict harm after she’d paid two people R10 000 to beat up Deon.

Martin and Priscilla Bardenhors

In 2015 she refused several requests for comment from Huisgenoot on Martin’s allegations against her. “Thank you but no thanks. I have nothing more to say,” Manda told the reporter.

Four years after the debacle, Priscilla and Martin are still a happy couple. They got engaged in February last year on a nature reserve. Planning for the big day started immediately – yet all that preparation was almost rendered pointless by unexpected last-minute news.

Last week Wednesday, two days before the wedding, Priscilla called the designer of her wedding gown – and she couldn’t get a hold of him.

“His cellphone was off and we thought his phone may have been stolen,” she says. So, the next day Priscilla drove to Centurion, Gauteng, to find out what was going on.

“When I arrived at the designer’s studio, there were a handful of stressed-looking brides hanging around and a handwritten note stuck to the door,” Priscilla tells us.

The note referred clients to a salon, where they could pick up keys to the studio so they could collect their wedding gowns. The note went on to explain that the designer had suffered a nervous breakdown and had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. “Friends” of the designer apparently offered to complete the gown.

“Neither my gown nor my husband’s suit were finished,” Priscilla says. “It was a dilemma.”

But instead of bursting into hysterical tears, she immediately set to work to fix things.

“I immediately started calling around, working on a plan B. One of my bridesmaids sent me the number of Ciska Barnard, of Ciska Barnard Couture, who said I could come and see her immediately.”

Ciska jumped to work, getting several dresses ready for Priscilla to try on the moment she got there.

“I arrived there and found my dream wedding gown,” Priscilla says. “It fit me like a glove. She saved my dream day.

Martin and Priscilla Bardenhors

In the meantime, Martin had to find a tailor to shorten his suit pants. He also had to find a new waistcoat and tie.

“I was nowhere near in tears because the reality of the situation hadn’t sunk in. I was in ‘save-your-wedding-day’ mode. Collapsing into tears was the last thing on my mind,” Priscilla says.

In spite of the pre-wedding crises, Priscilla and Martin had their perfect day in Krugersdorp, as planned.

The bride has no regrets about how things turned out in the end.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” she tells us shortly before she and Martin are to board a flight to their honeymoon in Europe.

She reckons the gown she ended up wearing is classic and beautiful. “My cousin’s little girl thought I was a real princess when I walked into the church.”

One of the many highlights for Priscilla included entering the reception to the announcement of “Mr and Mrs Badenhorst!”

“That, and our first dance, of course,” she says.

Pictures: Fire Productions