Wedding Wednesday- Final Thoughts on the Dress

by - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alright, I really am trying to get the wedding stuff done before I have forgotten it all. I figure next month is one month out, at which point all thank you cards and blogs should be done with. One thing that I thought I could talk about before it became ancient ancient history is my wedding dress. I didn't write about it too specifically beforehand, but now I can say whatever I want so there. 

We started shopping for dresses about a year before the wedding. My mom came to see me in California and we went all over the bay area to try dresses. We started noticing some trends early on. First, when you tell people you don't want to be sparkly, you run out of options a lot quicker. (side note: the fingers up are so my mom and I could talk about the dresses later)

Secondly, if you tell people you want something a little bit different, they hear ruffles. I tried so many things covered in ruffles on. It turns out, I am not much more ruffley than I am sparkley.

The other thing that became obvious quickly was just how expensive dresses could get. We went to a few fancier places, and things can really get out of hand. It was also a lot of information to process in one weekend and we started to get a little overwhelmed. People say you can get it in a few tries, but I think it depends a lot on where you shop and whether the person helping you has a good sense of what you want. The dress on the right, by Amsale, had swiss dots and I really loved it, but my mom wasn't feeling it as much.

Then we went to Priscilla of Boston, and I tried on a couple of their polka dot numbers with minimal success (back then I thought polka dots was really going to work, but it mostly didn't). I tried on this dress, Fern, and it, by far, got the biggest reaction from both my mom and I. It was very femme and soft without being obnoxious or saccharine.We had gone to Priscilla of Boston's partially for fun, because the dresses were a little expensive, so even though I think we could have bought this that day, the price scared us away.

After that, that weekend in July had minimal luck. 

But I did get to try on more ruffles! I thought a lot about it, but nothing felt like such an obvious answer that I was having a Randy Fenoli say yes to the dress moment. At the same time, I didn't have a huge desire to keep up the shopping, so I got antsy to just get something. 

Around November, it came out that Priscilla of Boston was being shut down to put more money and energy into David's Bridal, because they are both owned by the same company. I rushed to their big sample sales, thinking I would get Fern, but trying on the dress I couldn't help but notice just how well-loved that dress was. But the dresses were so cheap and sensible and fancy-looking, so I kept trying to find one that would work.  There was a lot of sending my mom cell phone pictures.

Eventually I found this one, which was super cheap and I figured was reasonably attractive. It was a sample for a dress Priscilla of Boston (Elaine) would never even get to make, so the dress looked good as new.  I debated back and forth whether or not to buy it, which was especially annoying because I couldn't bring another human being with me. All I had were the sales girls. So, I ended up buying it, sort of in panic that I knew this was my only chance to get a dress like that. I called it in from the East Coast and then picked it up after Thanksgiving. After I bought it, I was just antsy about whether I really wanted it or not, and started having a lot of regrets about it. I found myself thinking about the dress a LOT, which really seems like the first sign I had done something wrong. I was embarassed to show people and I just wasn't excited about it. It really is a very pretty dress, but it didn't have any fun to it at all.

I only was sure that I had made the wrong choice when I got my shoes for the wedding (from the fantastic Milk and Honey) and I was so much more excited about the shoes than I was about the dress. I took pictures to sell it online and decided I would shop a little in January. If I found something great, I would switch over, and if not, I could live with what I got.

I had really liked pictures of the Watters dress Lasara, and I saw online I could try it at a bridal store- Epiphany Bridal- in Carmel by the Bay. I waited until they were having a trunk sale, and the boy and I drove there for what became my sort of last chance to find it. And then, I did. 

I never had a weeping moment of ridiculousness at the store, but I tried this on and could tell it fulfilled both my requirements and the trends that had emerged out of a bunch of shopping- I liked dresses that flared at the waist (because I didn't want to have to think about the pooch at the wedding) with cool details. This looked pretty and floral from a distance, but when you got close it looked like a bunch of doodles. It was so cool!

So, with my first ever skyping and shopping experience, my Mom and I decided we were on the same page, that the cut worked, etc and we got the dress. Of course, because this had clearly become an arena from where to collect my crazy, we originally didn't get the bolero, because I liked the dress well enough without it, then eventually bought it separately. 

My mom finally got to see the dress in May when we went to the first fitting. No one tells you this, but it takes forever for the dress to come, and in that time, you kind of forget about it. At least, I did. So trying on the dress was so cool because I had forgotten how much I like it. It looked great, except that it was super huge, especially in the chesticles. 

The owner of Epiphany Bridal makes the veils and does the alterations herself, all for free. If you are anywhere near there, I would highly recommend her.

I think the dress came out great, minus being a home for bugs.  I would highly recommend not guilting yourself into a dress you don't love. Also, being honest with yourself about how you feel about your body, because I could have saved a lot of time if I told people I didn't want a fit and flare dress.

The other strange thing that you can get caught in is that this dress has to somehow be a summation of your entire being. It's not true. It's just a nice dress that you should really love and hopefully feel good in. And like anything else with wedding stuff, once you make a decision, if you can not think about it anymore, you made the right one. The bolero was a good choice and I think that it was beautiful and I kind of wish I had stuck with it the whole night.

I feel kind of sad the dress is put away, but I loved it and I felt pretty attractive in it. So it was all good. My advice- don't shop alone if you can help it, do your research, and leave guilt out of it. Don't get something just because it is cheap. Don't worry about the subtextual rhetoric inherent in your dress. You just want to look nice, and that means whatever it means to you. Yay wedding dress!

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