I suppose I never really thought about how I would look back after it was over and relay it to the masses, but I certainly did not realize until we were there, in the moment, that choices we made would end up equaling something that was beautiful, emotional, colorful, fun, and undeniably represented MM and I as individuals and as a couple. I don’t tend to describe much as perfect and it never occurred to me that this story would begin, “It was perfect,” as in “perfect for us.”
But really, if I’m going to give you the whole story, I have to start with the prologue, back up about two weeks before the wedding, and fill you in on one of the details that I left out—first because of shame, and second, after I got over the shame and realized that I had done the right thing, because of general lack of time to write it down.
I bought a third wedding dress. You probably didn’t notice because I don’t expect my readers to keep up with all my costume changes , but the last photo I posted was of a dress that was not ornate Dress #1 (from the famous Filene’s Running of the Brides sale) nor was it the simple Dress #2 (from David’s Bridal). Nope, this was Dress #3, which I bought exactly two weeks before the wedding and cost more than the other two dresses combined… and then some. Crazy? Yes. Crazy like a fox? Um… yes (?).
First off, I was settled on dress #2. I was happy with it; very pleased that I had decided to go with something simpler, which I thought was more “like me.” But, by the second and final fitting, during which the seamstress at David’s Bridal did not even bother to come out and look at the dress, which – I thought – was fine, since the dress zipped up. You see, my concern all along has been about things zipping up. That’s how I started this process, trying on the few size 14 dresses that Filene’s had and praying they zipped up. Over the course of 6 months, I lost almost 25 pounds, but didn’t shed the “I hope it zips up” mentality.
When I got the David’s dress home, I tried it on again only to discover that the top of the dress was so baggy, I could stuff a softball down the front of it. It looked, overall, ill-fitting, which is not the adjective you want to use when you describe your wedding dress.
But that’s really not the whole story. The truth is, I had found out about three weeks earlier that my stepsister had worn the same dress for her wedding. While I tried to not let that bother me, I couldn’t deny that it did, and no amount of altering would change that.
And yes, I did look into altering it further, but after buckets of tears the day after I brought the dress home (aka, two Saturdays before the wedding), I took action. I found a boutique in Lincoln Park that specializes in samples and sells them off the rack. By some miracle, when I called at 11am on Saturday morning, they had an appointment available at noon, even though they only take one bride at a time for an hour appointment and are only open for six hours on Saturday. I explained my "predicament" and the woman on the other end of the phone line said, "Oh yeah, we have girls come in here all the time a week or two before their weddings." Great. I'm not alone in the crazy. I called @, explained the situation through my hysteria, and within about 20 minutes had picked her up and was headed to Lincoln Park. I honestly thought that this would be fruitless, that there would be no way I’d find a dress, and I would have to live with the best option I had.
The dress I bought two hours later was the first dress I tried on. The saleswoman pulled it out of the backroom after I asked if there was anything else, scared (mostly) that what I had pulled out wouldn’t fit me. There was no question even though I walked away and tried to pretend that I was weighing the options of paying for another, more expensive dress that required rush alterations (including removing the cap sleeves to make the dress strapless) two weeks before the wedding. I was kidding myself. With most “big” decisions, I have known the decision I would make in an instant, it was just a matter of time before I admitted it to myself. Within 10 minutes, @ and I turned around and headed back to the store.
I know it seems ridiculous, childish even, to think that a dress made all the difference, but after my first fitting, the shame of buying dress #3 faded, and I knew I had not only made the right choice, but by getting this dress, I had, no doubt, circumvented two weeks of emotional turmoil. The truth is, I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t feel good about how I looked on my wedding day, getting through all the other stuff was going to be 10 times, maybe 100 times, harder for me. I’m admittedly vain, and trying to “save money” and going with a dress “I liked” and seemed “good enough,” was a stupid thing to do in the first place.
I’m not saying that my philosophy was that money was no object by any means. I’m saying that I should have been smarter about my search. But, in the end, I know that dress was waiting there for me in the backroom (taken off the floor because it was five months old). Maybe in 10 years I’ll realize how silly I was about a dress that I will only wear once, but it was the right choice for me at the time I made it.
Honestly… I think you'll find it difficult to disagree:
Dress #1: Filene's Basement
Dress #2: David's Bridal