Just about three weeks ago, I did it. I went dress shopping.
Since getting engaged, I definitely had spent a good chunk of time over the past 6 months or so looking at dresses online and in magazines. I was also well aware of my limited budget, plus honestly, there is a part of me that just screams "you only wear it once, for one day" over and over inside my head. Don't get me wrong, I fell instantly in love with every Monique Lhuillier, one or two Jim Hjelm and quite a few Melissa Sweet. I also incorporated many hours on the Weddingbee classifieds, Recycled Bride pages and PreOwned Wedding Dresses. But then I always got freaked out about sizing and what the dress really looked like in person, the feel of the fabric, the weight of it...and I could never bring myself to buy one.
I had it in my head that I would visit Nordstroms (for the customer service alone it makes me want to open my wallet), Saks, Bloomies, etc and see what I could find off the rack. Not only did I think these would fit in my budget, but I have a confession. As much as I love buying new clothes, and I thought the dress part could be fun and really pretty and all of that -- I get a little antsy about being the sole center of some salesperson's attention. I don't think it's just that sometimes salesclerks can be pushy, or that you walk away buying 5 more products or articles of clothing you didn't even need (and jeez, 1 hour in Target lets me know I'm capable of overbuying all on my own, I don't need a trained salesperson to help). I think it's also because I just like the independence and having that quiet moment with your own thoughts before having several people flock around you and tell you 'get this' or 'try this'.
So with all of these different thoughts running through my head, I made an appointment at a local shop with the intention of a Nordstroms' visit immediately after, called up my aunt who I'm super close with and said "Um, do you want to go with me while I look at dresses?". She was pretty touched that I asked her, of course I wanted her there, but my thinking also involved the following:
1. My mother passed away when I was 15
2. My mother in law lives in Scotland
3. The one person, my MOH, that I've asked to "stand up" for us lives on the other side of the country
4. How could I possibly subject other friends to the horror of sitting in a bridal shop for hours while I walked in and out of the dressing room huffing and puffing my way through a ton of dresses!
So with appointment made and my aunt in tow...off to the store we went on a Saturday morning and I was all prepared to deal with sales clerks and bridezillas. And within 15 mins and maybe 2 dresses in I realized I was having fun! The sales lady helping us was so sweet, and even better? It was a Saturday so there were a ton of people in the store so she could only give me maybe like 75% of her attention which was PERFECT amount for me! I would try one on, she'd come by, talk to me about it, help me back to the dressing room and disappear for a few more minutes. It gave me time to talk with my aunt, time to think for myself, sometimes even enough time to get in and out of a dress that was horrific (like the one my aunt sneaked into the pile that made me feel like Elizabeth Taylor. And not the young, smoking hot Elizabeth Taylor. The older, over done friends with MJ, Elizabeth Taylor).
Fast forward 15 minutes. I tried on the dress that I was SO sure would be THE one after my 6 months of online and magazine browsing. It had all the bits that I thought I wanted my dress to have. But it wasn't.
Fast forward another 10 minutes and I try on one that makes me stop. And I start turning this way and that and wondering...could this be it? But I'm a bit concerned about the bottom -- and how much - dress - there was. So they bring out the alterations lady (who just happens to be Russian and so read the rest of this bit with Russian accent). Anyway, she comes out and is showing me how it could be bustled. And that's when my true anti-WIC self appeared. I asked her, very innocently, "Could the train just be removed entirely? Like could we just alter it so that this part isn't there?" Um, tip to all of those who may not have gone wedding dress shopping before - don't ask that. She started sputtering in broken English about how dare I try to ruin a gorgeous dress and what was I thinking. Then she turns to me and says "But what is the dress that you have always dreamed about? Since you were a little girl?" And that's when both my aunt and I started laughing. And I calmly said "I never dreamed about wedding dresses, I was too busy playing sports and getting into trouble". And my aunt nodded her head in agreement. And with that, the sweet sales lady I liked ushered the mean Russian tailor out of sight.
And those bridezillas I was afraid of? Well, I'm happy to report they didn't exist..and the lovely girl next to me also trying on gowns was the one who adamantly insisted I try on a dress that she loved best but didn't quite work for her...so after about 15 dresses, I caved and said "Ok, I'll try your dress on" thinking "Um, so not my style".
And BOOM. It was on and I started crying. Like "OMG I love it I'm so happy I can totally picture all of this now Holy Crap we're having a wedding This is it - We're in it to win it" kind of crying, all jumbled together and it was amazing.
Wedding Dress? Purchased! And this is probably the one piece of the whole celebration that I'm keeping for myself - not going to describe it, post a photo or names shops, etc. I'm usually pretty crap at keeping secrets so I know if I even start to discuss it, there is a far greater chance of the Marrv knowing more and we're planning so much of this together that this is something I want to keep for that day. But know that I love, love, love it. And with that, I'll leave you with this photo instead just because this looks like so much fun. (Followed by so much sick, but starting with so much fun!)