Thursday, April 11, 2013

Here Comes the Bridal Librarian: I Bought My Wedding Dress! I Wonder If It Will Look Good with a Cardigan?

I bought my wedding dress on Monday, and once it's had some minor alterations, it's going to be perfect. It's surreal; I can't believe I found my dress in just one day! To be honest, I wasn't terribly thrilled about wedding dress shopping. I expected it would be a lot like swimsuit shopping: Everything would make my boobs look weird, I wouldn't find anything ideal, and eventually I'd settle for something that was less horrible than the others. Isn't that sad? 

So I approached dress shopping with grim military precision: I pinned dozens of dresses I like and listed the precise qualities I like about them. Then I made a separate list of the cuts and styles that are most flattering on me (with this book in one hand and a measuring tape in the other, you can't go wrong). Then I Venn Diagrammed the two lists to come up with the criteria that would create The Perfect Jen Dress. OCD much? Um, yeah. *grin* These dresses were my inspiration.
Onyx Gown from BHLDN: Tulle ballgown skirt! Tiny waist and embellished bodice! STRAPS!
I wanted a big ballgown style dress with a tulle skirt, lots of embellishment on top, and straps or sleeves. I went to the dress shop armed with this list of criteria. Since one of my criteria was NO STRAPLESS DRESSES, I did not go to the dress shop armed with a strapless bra. BIG MISTAKE.
Aspen Gown by San Patrick: Tulle Ballgown! Cap Sleeves! Sweetheart neckline!
My mother and I visited a well-known Brentwood bridal boutique that carries big name designers. Almost all the dresses were strapless. In a cruel twist of fate, the strapless dresses fit my other design criteria regarding silhouette, embellishment, etc. But the non-strapless dresses did not meet any of my other criteria. They were all mermaid style dresses. BUMMER! The proprietress assured me that she could add sleeves and straps to any dress I liked, so I began trying on the strapless tulle ballgowns. With my big vintage style, full-coverage, non-strapless bra. Awkward.
Artico Gown by San Patrick: Tulle Ballgown! Embellished Bodice! Not Strapless!
She didn't offer me any other undergarments, and each time I stepped out of the dressing room, I looked and felt like an idiot. The entire shop was the size of my living room, and it was crowded with prom shoppers. They all stared in horror at my grandma bra. It was creeping out of the ballgowns like it was trying to eat my chest. I stepped onto the platform, and the proprietress asked how high my wedding heels would be. I said, "Oh, I'm wearing flats." She clutched imaginary pearls and said, "OH!" This shop was making me feel like a freak. It was time to go.
Parker Gown by David Tutera for Mon Cheri: Tulle ballgown! Not strapless! Are we sensing a trend?
I mouthed "Get me out of here!" to my mother. She followed me to the dressing room and offered me Xanax. WTF?!?!?! Oh, Mom. Mom, Mom, Mom. Pills are not the answer! I told her, "I don't need drugs. I need a dress store that doesn't make me feel like a weirdo." We left and looked for another place to try on dresses.

I didn't really want to go to David's Bridal, because I'd heard their quality isn't great and that their salesladies act like high-pressure used car salesmen. But all the other boutiques were closed on Monday, so we went there just to look. We stealthily slipped by the front desk while the salesladies were distracted by other customers, congratulated ourselves on our sneakiness, and started greedily pawing through their dresses. Without any salespeople hovering over me, dress shopping was a lot more fun!
Casablanca Bridal 2091 Gown: Tulle ballgown! Straps! Pretty belt!
They had more non-strapless styles than I expected, and a dizzying mix of high and low quality dresses. But I found half a dozen dresses made of good quality fabric that fit my criteria. Armed with proper undergarments, I began playing dress-up. The sixth dress I tried was The One. Ohmygoodness, was it ever The One! When I stepped out of the dressing room, my mother made a hilariously emotional face. I loved what I saw in the mirror. Other shoppers came over to admire me. I felt like a peacock and a princess and a celebrity rolled into a single poofy white tulle package. 
Wedding Gown by Orkalia: Sparkly tulle! Long sleeves! Embellished bodice! MY FAVORITE.
I preened for about 45 minutes. I examined it closely, asked questions about some minor details that I'll change, and had it bustled. I chatted with my dad on the phone: "You found a three foot long snake skin in the basement? COOL! Hey, guess what I found? My wedding dress! But enough about that. What kind of snake do you think it is?" I tried the dress on in a larger size to see what that might look like, but the size 8 was perfect. My mother took a dozen pictures and sent them to my sisters. I bought the dress and a mantilla style veil, and I'm so glad I don't have to think about it anymore! Now I can start focusing on the reception decor, woo-hoo!

14 comments:

  1. thats awesome...and so lucky that you found it in one trip! I feel like the whole experience seems way dizzying! Its good that you had a good idea of what you were looking for before you went. OCD has its perks!

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    1. Haha, the perks of OCD. :) You're right; it was disorienting. I think that's why I was so eager to buy a dress quickly!

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  2. Yay! Congrats on finding the perfect dress...and who cares about quality you are wearing it ONCE! (Well, I used to wear mine around the house and make Jim dance with me to our first dance song again and again but still!) Can you post a photo somewhere for the rest of us to see? Oh the weirdest thing when I went dress shopping was that no o e told me the sales people come in the dressing room with you...I was so embarrassed for them to see my underwear!

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    1. Haha, I LOVE the name! :)

      Wearing it around the house is such a good idea. Oh, I can picture you doing that, too. So cute! I'm going to borrow that idea someday, ok?

      I'm e-mailing you wedding dress pictures now.

      Yeah, isn't it weird that they come into the dressing room with you? At the first shop I visited, I tried on an awful mermaid style dress because it had straps. With no warning, the saleswoman started tugging the dress lining down and almost pulled my underwear off. SO embarrassing and awkward! :-p

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  3. I used to work at DB. It's a different experience (not bad necessarily-- just different context). Usually it's a great place for people who haven't seen an episode of Say Yes to the Dress.

    I'm sure with your criteria, you look like a knock-out in your gown. I didn't think the dress was really important until I found the right one for me. Sounds like you had a very easy go. Wham, bam, dress in hand.

    So what kind of snake was it?

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    1. Aww, thanks. :)

      Oh, I bet that was interesting! I actually liked DB better than the fancy boutique. I liked the VERY wide selection. And at DB, they didn't act like I was weird when I said I wanted non-strapless and flat shoes. I appreciated that a lot!

      We don't know what kind of snake! We're guessing it's a corn snake or king snake. Nothing poisonous, just something that will keep mice away.

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  4. yay! i'm glad you had such a good experience! when i went to david's bridal i asked if they had any dresses that covered up your back (i have a big nerdy back tattoo that my mom wouldn't let show) and they said "no, nothing". i'm glad you were able to find something with straps!

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    1. What a bummer! I think they're beginning to carry a broader range of styles. A few years ago, I was there and asked if they had non strapless dresses. Back then, the answer was no.

      Where did you end up finding your dress?

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  5. Was it the one you sent my phone? Cause that was very pretty. Also, #4 is my personal favorite of the pics you posted.

    Dori

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  6. I'm looking forward to seeing it! I always thought the dress shopping would be the best part of planning; I never thought of all the possibilities you mentioned... Glad it worked out so well :)
    {lamourcheznous.wordpress.com}

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    1. Thank you! It's driving me crazy not being able to share pictures yet... Oh well, just five and a half months to go!

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  7. LOVE that first dress and the last dress!!! What an exciting time! I'm looking forward to seeing all the preparations come together. When's the big day?

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    1. Thank you! It's October 5... It feels so soon, even though it's five full months away.

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