So I am generally inclined to (some might say “over-“) analyze things. It is unquestioningly my first and strongest instinct, but I am starting to wonder just how often giving in to it can take the fun out of life…
For example, I’ve come to the conclusion that, if I want to write about our wedding and honeymoon (and I do!), I should probably stop mentally wailing, “but what does it all mean?” and just continue telling the process and the day like it was.
And maybe when I’m done, I’ll know what it all means.
So dress shopping. In many ways it was a microcosm of the entire process.
It was both fun and not fun. I had high hopes and a small budget. The hopes got smaller and the budget bigger. I overanalyzed everything and eventually went with my gut, but continued second-guess the whole thing until the moment I put on the dress the day of the wedding.
I love me some clothes. Especially party dresses. But wedding dresses as a genre? Ew.
I took a while of casual looking (I think if I’d actually gotten married in ‘08 or ‘09 I would’ve been screwed) before I even found one I liked.
It was this:
Spose di Gio
I still like this dress. And eventually I began to like other dresses too. If you’re reading this before I delete my tumblr*, you can see them here: http://ny2cabride.tumblr.com/tagged/dress
The Spose di Gio dream died when I saw a few pictures of actual people wearing the dress and it was not quite so ethereal and pink and lovely. And it wasn’t exactly all over ebay/preownedweddingdresses/oncewed/etc (my plan to make an expensive dress work) either.
This was okay because despite intended to buy online, I knew I wanted the experience of going to stores and trying stuff on.
So in September last year my friend Aimee, her mom, and I went to go do that. It was almost a year to the day of what would become my wedding date, but I didn’t know that at the time. Neither Aimee nor I knew where or when we were getting married, something we were learning got us totally snubbed as brides. At my suggestion, we went to Lovely in the West Village because they had a bunch of eco-friendly type designers that looked very Aimee. Lovely was less than lovely, and we both forgot our cameras. (I’ll just leave it at that. If you want an actual review of the service, I can give you a private one.)
I tried on this Nicole Miller, which I thereon considered my if-I-really-can’t-find-anything-else-there’s-always-this-dress until I actually bought a dress. It actually would’ve been a great choice for Costa Rica, even though I could mentally here my mother rolling in her grave over how it was “wrinkled.” But it holds its value! Secondhand deals were not to be found on this dress, even though about a million people have gotten married in it.
After my less than lovely experience, I laid off the dress hunt until February when we had formed a solid foundation of venue + photographer. Then I took a friend to the place I really wanted to go—The Bridal Garden. The Bridal Garden is a non-profit in NYC that accepts donated dresses from designers and brides and resells them with the proceeds going to NYC public schools. As we tried to support nonprofits and small businesses as much as possible in the wedding, I thought the idea of getting my dress there was so, so SWEET. Plus the service is more Marshalls than Kleinfeld’s. As in, you get to pull dresses yourself to try on. Perfect for a control freak like me.
There was also the glimmer of the possibility of Oscar de la Renta awaiting me. You see, that was one of two childhood wedding dreams: a Tahiti honeymoon and an OdlR dress. Oscar, it occurred to me, was attainable through the power of Ebay (don’t bother with the other sites: Oscar brides can’t bear to drop the prices that low), but I found myself passing up $600 dresses because though they might have been Oscar but they just weren’t me…
So I went into the Bridal Garden with an open mind, and began to just try random stuff on. No beading, no sequins, no ballgowns, no sheaths. Mermaids, trumpets, preferably some straps or sleeves. There was a Rivini that fit none of this criteria, but it was so Art Deco slinky… And there was an Elizabeth Fillmore that seemed like the perfect size. Not too cocktail dress and not too wedding cupcake.,,
And then, the saleslady, who was treating me like her personal Barbie, started handing me Junko Yoshioka’s. It was like the designer had just, oh, dropped off the entire runway collection and they happened to all fit me like a glove. (Except for the being about a foot too long part.) It was both fun and emotionally exhausting trying them all on (fitting into clothes is something I do not take for granted, having struggled with just that for most of my adolescence). We snuck as many pictures as we could, mostly of the silly ones:
And then there came the last dress. It took us a few minutes to figure out how it worked (not that that was a surprise after the cape). But once we got it on, I sort of looked in the mirror and said, hmph. It didn’t have the buttons down the back I always wanted. But then again, it wasn’t like anything I had ever pictured. And yet, it was kind of—ok, very—me. (This is sounding like how I feel about Scott.)
The saleslady quoted me a price I couldn’t really afford. And I can’t make decisions that fast anyway. There were no promises the dress would still be there without a $100 hold on it (because yes, if I’m having trouble with the price I’m going to drop $100 to hold it). But I figured if it were my dress, and I already knew it was, it wasn’t going anywhere. If another girl my exact size with my exact taste walked in and had to have it then she deserved it anyway.
So my intrepid friend Kerri promised to send me the photos she had taken, and we left as I continued to ponder dresses and budgets and dresses. Waiting for the photos was excruciating, as I impatiently wondered if the dresses really looked like I had seen in my head.
To be continued…
*I always intended to make my inspiration Tumblr (oh life before Pinterest) private, but couldn’t figure out how. I hate having uncredited images posted anywhere.