You are now reading the blog of a bride-to-be who has a wedding dress. Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, you are now reading the blog of a bride-to-be who has a piece of paper in her car and a charge to the wedding account to prove that she has ORDERED a wedding dress, but she won't actually have the dress until shortly before the wedding. The dress will arrive in the town where her parents live 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Her parents will receive the dress 2-8 weeks before the wedding (alternations PROBABLY won't be needed, but we're leaving the option open once the dress actually arrives), and the dress will arrive in Seattle the week of the wedding.
That said, there are photos of the dress on the internet. And if you ask very nicely (and swear on your life not to disclose any details on the dress to the groom) I can e-mail you a link to the photos. They will not be posted here, because the groom does not get security clearance when it comes to the dress until the day of the event. At the moment he can know it is white and it is strapless. The rest he can just leave up to his imagination.
To go along with the dress I also have a slip, a tiara and a veil. No bra. Don't need a bra with this dress. I'm just throwing that bit in to make the groom wonder. And trust me, he's wondering.
So now let me recount for you the hunt for the dress:
Mom and I started at 10 am this morning. Actually, Mom started a couple of weeks ago, calling around town to check out options and make appointments where appointments needed to be made. Lots of places appointments were not required, but we had an appointment at noon and one at 4 pm.
We started the morning at a store that's fairly near the folks place, where one of Mom's friend's kids bought her dress. It was a small botique and after we walked in the salesperson basically showed us a wall of dresses and said, "Here you go, let me know if you want to try any on." OK, I don't know about you, but I haven't worn a wedding dress before. I know my basic style, but I can't tell what's going to look good on me and what's going to look like crap. I'm also a big larger than your standard sample size, so we've got that challenge to work with as well. I grabbed a couple of dresses to try on and they were OK, but I knew my wedding dress was not to be found in that store. The person helping us did refer us to another store that she said would have more selection in my sizes (which is where I ended up buying the dress), and then suggested we come back to that store to order the dress because they carried similar designers catalogs. No thanks, you've been completely unhelpful, we'll move on.
The second store we went to was David's Bridal. AKA Costco for the modern bride, because it was a warehouse assembly line process from beginning to end. You need an appointment here. You show up, you sign in, they get you started at the beginning of the assembly line. Everything is off the rack, so they walk you to the section of the store with your size and you are instructed to select three dresses to try on. After that, your consultant will help you find more based on what you like/dislike. You are instructed to pick out one dress you don't think you'd like, just to see. Once you've handed in your dresses you go to the corner of shoes. Because the dresses "won't look right" if you try them on in flats. (Which makes no sense whatsoever, since the dresses are at least 6" too long, and you're standing on a box, so it really makes no difference. They just want to try to sell you some really uncomfortable shoes to go with the dress.) I tried on dress #1. Bleh. I tried on dress #2. It was a nice dress. I could see myself getting married in this dress. But it was more a "yeah, this is a nice dress, if nothing else is out there or this is the best there is" kind of feeling versus a "YEAH, this is the ONE" kind of feeling. However, the folks at Davids can sense even the slightest tinge of interest. The store manager is instantly at your side, telling you how fabulous the dress looks. Other salespeople are wandering by, telling you how fabulous the dress looks. They grab veils and headpieces and fire up the credit card machine. When I suggested that I might want to try on some more dresses they seemed surprised. The consultant went had selected another dress for me, based on what I'd seen thus far, and it just wasn't right either. There was also that third dress I had selected that I didn't think I'd like. And guess what, I didn't like it. And that was it, folks. To hear the salesperson and manager talk there were no more dresses to try on. Except I can see that there are HUNDREDS of dresses in this store. I could have spent DAYS trying on all the dresses in this store. But, apparently, my time on the assembly line was up and I'd expressed interest in a dress, so lets move it along. They're open Sundays, so I decided to sleep on it. We still had some more places on the list, and I wanted to explore my options.
Mom and I decided to try out the store that had been recommended earlier. Stopped for a bite to eat first, then swung by Bridal Exclusives in Clackamas, Oregon (in the Clackamas Promenade, between Target and Nordy's Rack for Portlanders out there). Met Jacqueline, my designated sales associate (no appointment necessary, but you may have to wait a bit). Told her what my tastes are (not lots of lace and floral crap), pointed out a couple of dresses I liked. She picked out a couple of others based on what I'd shared. One dress caught my eye that had a feature on it that salesperson at store #1 had said wouldn't look good on me. Jacqueline disagreed, and we added it to the pile. Doesn't hurt to try it on.
Bridal store fitting rooms totally feed into the "Special Bride" feeling. No where more so than this place. You've got a GIANT floor to ceiling miror, with fitting rooms on either side, to form a short, squat "U" at the open part of the "U" you've got a very low wall, and on the other side of the wall you've got benches for the friends and loved ones to sit and view the gowns. It was TOTALLY "The Swank Show!"
So I try on the questionable dress. The size she had grabbed was a bit big, but we went with it. Went out to the mirror. Oh yeah, this is the one. Really, it's perfect. I can't give more information than that, because then the groom would have less to wonder about. She looks and they have the dress in a more appropriate size for me, so we try that one on. Yeah, baby, this is it.
But she doesn't go in for the kill. We try on at least three more dresses. But none of them measures up. We have a finalist for the position, and it is dress #1. So then we try it on again, this time without the bra, because the way it is it actually works better without. And it looks even better now. So now it's just a matter of putting the ensemble together. She grabs a pair of shoes to try on. They're actually very similar to a pair of shoes I own. Cool thing about this dress is I can order it in the exact size I've tried on, or in "petite" which makes the hem 3" shorter. The hem on the current dress is 5" too long, so we decide on the petite dress and 2" heels. And the shoes I own that I thought might work for my wedding shoes (strappy silver sandals) are 2" heels. SOLD!
Mom recently gave me grandma's old pearls. I thought it might be neat to wear those for my wedding day. She grabs some pearls they have to try on with the dress. BEAUTIFUL! Grandma's pearls it will be.
She then grabs a tiara and a veil. Tiara's are dang expensive! $100 give or take for a little piece of metal with some rhinestones and fake pearls. But, I can splurge for the tiara and still stay below the total wedding ensemble budget, so let's go for it. The tiara I found incorporates the pearls in the necklace and the daisies I'll likely be carrying. And the veil is a lovely veil, but it's hard to describe a piece of netting. Even though I tried on 4 differen pieces of netting and they all looked different on. But trust me, it's a beautiful piece of netting.
Then it's just a matter of placing the order and putting down the deposit.
I think I may need to find a bracelet to wear, but other than that my outfit is set. I'll even get to stick with the tradition:
Something old - Grandma's pearls
Something new - the dress
Something borrowed - Mom's going to let me borrow her pearl earrings.
Something blue - Toenails