Somewhere around three weeks before our wedding, I lost my mind.
If anyone’s seen it, I would very much like it back.
The last time I remember being okay was for Yay NY! The next week was so chock full of WEDDING the stress adrenaline obliterated any faint traces of a hangover.
And so it would be until October. (Because yes, our honeymoon was at least as stressful as the wedding, if not more so.)
The task-juggling was so bad that from waking till sleep I did not waste a breath on anything that wasn’t “productive”. I might as well have had my To Do lists tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.
It sounds awful but it felt like I was flying. I have never before gotten SO MUCH DONE. For once in my life I had a single clear cut purpose. WEDDING. Oh, and keeping the rest of my [our] lives afloat.
That was the hard part.
As the scales tipped more and more in favor of WEDDING, I started to get a wee bit absentminded about other things. I’d forget to pay a bill here or there. Things at work would fall between the cracks.
One night when I attempted to slow down for a moment, as we were watching TV a commercial came on and while I was staring at it, a million and one things running through my brain, I completely lost my mind.
I turned to Scott and asked him what show we were watching, because honest to god, I could not for the life of me remember back to a moment earlier. He thought I was kidding and began laughing at me, while I struggled to overcome the greatest brain fart in the history of my existence.
But I couldn’t remember. He had to tell me. It was terrifying.
I thought immediately after the wedding my mind would come back. I mean, ALL THE THINGS are off the calendar and the To Do list.
And then when this didn’t happen right away I figured it would just take a bit of adjustment.
Well now it’s January, and yesterday morning I flat out forgot about a dentist appointment until it was too late to go.
Scott said everyone does that kind of thing occasionally.
Not me. I’ve never done something like that in my life.
It’s been nearly four months.
I’d like my mind back.
Read Part 1 here…
So we left off with me having left The Bridal Garden with two dresses on my mind. As soon as I saw the pictures from Kerri, I knew.
Serious note to ladies who are shopping – even if it’s not allowed, take pictures. I was shocked by how what I thought looked fabulous on—the Elizabeth Fillmore in the first pictures—did not photograph quite so. Body dysmorphia FTLoss.
Scott and I were at brunch for Valentine’s Day when these arrived in my inbox and I was so excited about the pictures I may have a) accidentally showed him, and b) spent a significant amount of time forwarding them to interested parties.
Another note to ladies who are shopping – if you accidentally show your fiancé a photo of the dress, with or without you in it, he absolutely will not remember it come the wedding. (Unless he is some kind of whore for fashion with the memory of an elephant.) And as an interesting sidebar to those of you already marrieds, asking your fiancé to remember and describe your dress is a really hilarious game to play—and win. Thinking this was a sad WIC cliché after reading it in UK Cosmo, I asked Scott while on the plane home from our honeymoon. Even he, who generally notices clothes and has an eye for them, was way way off.
So I loved the dress, but there was still the matter of the price.
And my own indecisiveness.
The dress was also dirty, and though it mostly fit, it would need some altering. I wasn’t prepared for the cost ($250! for cleaning, and $275! for alterations) associated with those either. So I brought another friend, this one with some dress cleaning/altering experience—Beverly Hills Bloomingdales FTW.
And then I made an appointment at the salon my friend Aimee’s dress came from. (Because yes, she had bought her dress back in September, the day after we went shopping together. And I’d hate her for it, except she wound up having waaay more dress drama than me in the end.)
It was there that I tried on a bunch of dresses I never would have except they were the only things in my price range/size. Because uh yea, I’m not a Kirstie Kelly for Disney Bridal kinda girl. Or so I thought.
Much like David’s Bridal (or so I hear – I never did get to go into a David’s), the Disney Princess line was surprisingly okay.
This little jam did in fact make me feel like a princess. Probably because it’s like, what, an exact replica of Belle’s gold dress? But even for a 28 year old, getting to dress up for five minutes as Belle one last time was pretty awesome.
And then I realized, uh yea, I don’t want to be Belle for my wedding.
Next came a couple womp, womp dresses that were not from Kirstie Kelly, but are proof that sometimes things (usually the ones that didn’t make it out of the fitting room), can look just plain shitty.
I actually didn’t mind the first one, but it was too “trendy” for me. I hate to use that word because I think trendiness can save one from decision overload—there’s no greater validation or safety than “everyone else doing it”—but part of the allure of the Junko Yoshioka was that no one else had it. Short of making something custom or finding something vintage (and believe you me, I searched in every dark corner of the interwebs—despite longing for a story like Meg’s, I couldn’t bring myself to actually pound the pavement), how impossibly awesome to have a dress that you cannot find on a single “real wedding” blog post anywhere?!
But then, there came the dress that made me reconsider everything.
It was unlike anything I’d ever thought I wanted. Covered in beading. Flowy, not structured. And well, inspired by Princess Jasmine.
But it reminded me of this.
And come on, that is a truly great moment.
As a girl who once [seriously] considered spending $6,000 to have her wedding here and just sit on the floor and eat Chinese takeout, the easy comfort of this dress suddenly seemed like a forgotten necessity,
And then there was the price.
It was a very nice deal, and all the salesladies were just about bouncing off the walls with excitement, though of course you can never tell if that’s authentic or just put on to make the sale.
It was all so very tempting…
But I wasn’t thrilled with how I looked in the pictures, and regardless, I had one more appointment with Flora (which is the style name of the Junko Yoshioka), and 2 more friend’s opinions to gauge.
So I left behind Princess Jasmine, and put on my best big girl bargaining pants.
And bargain I did. I put on Flora, my friends fell in love, and I got that saleslady to knock $500 off the price (with only a little crying). Of course there was still cleaning and alterations, and I COMPLETELY forgot about sales tax until my credit card was out of my wallet. But this was my dress and I just didn’t want to look anymore. (That, and bargaining down money that’s going to a non-profit felt sort of wrong.)
My initial budget was an arbitrary and seemingly high number. But, as anyone can tell you, I am a Clothes Person, so putting some financial focus on The Dress seemed like the right thing to do. On the other hand, I am a Bargain Person, and so I also had the pipe dream that I’d be about to somehow conjure a $13,000 couture gown out of thin air for about $300. Because that’s how I roll.
So I was feeling a little down on myself for going over budget while forking over my Visa, when my friend Maureen observed (Maureen is getting married in August and clearly she will not be having any issues because she is far wiser than I), that based on the original number on the price tag, I was getting the dress at 80% off.
Epilogue: The memory of Jasmine did not go quietly into the night. In fact, I spent the entire evening after buying Flora wondering if I made a mistake. I set up an eBay saved search and even wound up trying on some Sue Wong wannabe Jasmine’s while helping Maureen at the Battle of the Brides. Thankfully, by the time a reasonably sized, reasonably priced Jasmine turned up on eBay, I had come to my senses and didn’t buy it.
© jimena roquero photography
doing my hair. myself. (with help.) the one thing i was afraid of…
I hate losing things.
And by hate I mean, I have a sneaking suspicion I have some strand of mental illness centered around losing things.
I hate it so much I simply do not lose things.
Except sometimes I do.
Not so much “lose” as “leave somewhere I cannot retrieve them”.
The last thing I lost was a grey American Apparel circle scarf that I left at a bar on Nicole’s birthday in February this year. It was pretty devastating because the scarf that I thought (for once!) was easily replaceable apparently was not due to a dramatic backslide in the quality of American Apparel’s fabrics since I got it several years ago.
But what does all this have to do with the wedding you ask?
Well as I was getting ready, my ponytail holder broke, and my friend Aimee lent me one of hers with the apology that it was blue. But hey!, my something blue!
After the wedding I intended on taking it off and putting it in the pile of things to scrapbook, silly as it may have been, Except I continued using it instead. Hey, I don’t lose things, remember.
So I wore it to Italy and have been wearing it everyday since, right up until yesterday.
When I lost it.
Or rather, left it at the hotel.
And it’s not like housekeeping is going to not throw out a nondescript ponytail holder.
So I have been forced to come to terms with losing it. Mostly by berating myself for being so overdramatically sentimental and attached to objects, and publicly shaming myself in this forum.
Cruel, but I think that that worked.
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.
Today our wedding was featured on our fantastic photographer’s blog!
I think this might just be the kick in the pants I needed to continue blogging about it.
Who knows what you’ll see here tomorrow.
(Something, though, I promise something.)
It’s become something of the tradition since I moved back from LA for Thanksgiving to be the biggest home improvement weekend of my year. In my broke and workaholic state it was the longest “vacation” I’d take each year, so it was my (our) one chance at a big project.
In 2007, Scott, my bff Kim, and I stripped 3 layers of wallpaper and painted (all 4 coats of red) the master bedroom.
In 2009, I embarked on one of several reorganizations of the spare bedroom which is totally just storage room.
Last year, we made Scott an office and I cleaned out and repainted the hall closet (seriously the first time in at least 28 years this had happened).
This year, despite my best efforts (I was still planning on hitting up IKEA until about 8pm last night), the project is a little different. And probably A LOT less labor intensive.
Tomorrow morning we hit the road to Bucks County, PA to marry off Aimee…
… and her crazy—I mean amazing—Dave. (I really just wanted an excuse to post this photo.)
© Jimena Roquero Photography
I LOVE YOU GUYS.
Leave it to me to (half-assedly) plan posts for our honeymoon, and then totally disappear upon our return.
My absence has been the combination of a lot of things: exhaustion, sickness—but mostly an avoidance of all things wedding. I have a lot left to say about the wedding, but I’m not quite sure how to manage to say it.
But as far as the life of this blog outside wedding goes, here’s the deal:
As I observed several lovely ladies I admire struggle with the direction of their blog post-wedding, I put some thought into what I wanted to do with mine and formulated a plan.
When I started blogging (embarrassingly long ago, and very very slowly), this place was not so much wedding-oriented, as my mind was not so much wedding-focused, and so I should like to go back to that.
I’ve got lots of big ideas. And now, post-wedding, I have the time and the nerve to get going on some of them and I’d like to use this place as a laboratory for that. Some may never get off the ground, and others may eventually need their own space, but this is as good a place as any to start.
But more than that, I want to continue breaking down blog pretty.
Allow me to illustrate what I mean with an example.
A few days after we got back from Italy, I dragged Scott to the beach because it was allegedly the last warm weekend of summer (on October 8th), I was feeling crappy that we didn’t spend enough time sunbathing on the trip, and was excited that now we have free time to DO THINGS like go to the beach that’s all of ten minutes from our house.
It was late afternoon and getting chilly, but I kind of wanted to see the sun set, so I dawdled, reading and people-watching until us and the fishermen were the last people left on the beach. Eventually I could no longer pretend it wasn’t freezing or the sunset wasn’t blinding (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sunset or sunrise without a single cloud in the sky), and we packed up and headed towards the car.
But as we were walking, the sun and light and waves aligned, and magic happened. We both dropped everything and got our cameras out. Planes and birds created picture perfect streaks through the cloudless sky. I went and dipped my toes in and the air was so cold the ocean felt warm. The view was so endless I remembered how one once could see the Twin Towers.
I think the pictures I took are more magical than anything from the wedding or honeymoon combined. BUT. What they don’t show is how my fingers and toes were purple from the cold. Or how sadly I hobbled across the asphalt parking lot because I couldn’t put my shoes yet due to my sandy feet. Or how the fishermen looked at us funny. And then one peed.
Blogs and internet life in general can have a tendency to omit those things in favor of the pretty. I like the pretty an awful, but the real helps me sleep at night. My favorite posts to write have been the guttingly [not a word but I like it] honest ones where I said scary things and people chimed in and said, “Me too!”
So there will be more of where that came from—“Deep discussions from wedding planning past” and no doubt current discussions from marriage living present. There will be pretty—the new rugs I bought months ago! And practical—a rundown of [pretty] shoes for endless walking in Europe!
And much much more, as I enjoy having the time to read, learn, absorb, and live again.