A Tale of Two Dresses

 

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Pronovias (left) / Enzoani (right)

If I had to pick a lyrical phrase to describe my physique it would be “I’m a little teapot short and stout” if you’ve watched your fair share of “Say Yes To The Dress” like me, then you know that wedding gowns aren’t designed to flatter teapots!

I was not thrilled about having to wear a ridiculous light colored dress. I was less thrilled about the process of finding said dress. My first bridal appointment was at Blush Bridal Couture. I hadn’t told anyone about this appointment because I had no clue what cut or fabric I wanted and didn’t need anyone being witness to the process. My consultant wasn’t your average cut of the mill matronly wedding boutique employee. She was younger than me and had tattoos & piercings. For some reason I liked this about her. The Pandora station in the shop was playing M83, I was the only customer in the store and I was offered pink champagne.  The combination of all these elements made me feel comfortable and at ease.  Since I had no specs in mind to work with she had to start from scratch with me so we took a lap around the store and played a game of “do you like this?” and pulled what I did like for me to try. I really liked a princess ball gown BUT I couldn’t stop giggling and asked her if she thought I could get away with carrying a wand instead of a bouquet. What I loved about my experience at this store was that someone actually spent the time to help me figure out what fabrics and silhouettes I liked and disliked and she made notes of them in a folder she gave me and encouraged me to take along to other stores until I found something I really liked.

A few days later, on my lunch break from work, I visited another store where the person helping me was in fact the typical matronly sales associate you would expect to work with in a bridal shop. She found a dress that fit the “like” list I had from the last store and after trying it on and liking it,  I returned a few weeks later with my sister to show her the dress.

Me: (emerging from dressing room) “What do you think?”

Sister: (shrugs) It’ll do. I like it.

Me: “We’ll take it”

It should come as no surprise that the dress needed hemming (teapot SHORT and stout) The tailor I took my dress too laughed at me for being there 3 months before my wedding.  He told me he didn’t have to see me until two weeks before my wedding date. Fast forward to my fitting two weeks before my wedding date I put on the dress and find myself staring at my right ankle! The dress had been hemmed….  on a diagonal! Was this some new trend in couture wedding fashion? Showing one shoe/ankle?  The tailor asked me to return the following day to give him time to fix the dress. Even in that moment I couldn’t figure out how he would be able to fix it, but I wanted to believe that as a professional he knew better than me if something was fixable. Well… I was wrong! Seeing the dress the next day, I felt insulted. The lining had been sewn back together. There was a giant, obvious stitch running from the middle of the dress diagonally up towards the left side!  Bless this poor tailor’s heart who tried to convince me that since my shoes were turquoise having them peek out from the bottom would be cute and offering to make it tea length for me. I calmly thanked him, but explained I wasn’t fond of tea length or visible shoes. He finally broke down, said he felt terrible, and offered to write me a check for the dress.

I walked away,  check in hand, 11 days before from our wedding with no dress! My cousin had given me one piece of advice to keep in mind during the wedding planning process. “No matter what happens, CTFD, don’t cry & don’t become a bridezilla” (CTFD = Calm The Fuck Down). I called her up, explained what had just gone down and said “I’m really trying to CTFD and not cry.” She cut me off… “NOOOO! CRY! You get to cry! You get to cry NOW!!!”. After a few minutes of panic, self-pity and tears I knew I had to get my shit together. I drove straight to the Bridal Suite in Brea Nordstrom. Surely a national retailer would have something they could ship me next day air or overnight! I was mistaken. Even Nordstrom operates like a bridal boutique and special orders dresses months in advance. I left after the sales associate extended a box of Kleenex in my direction and said “I’m so sorry.” The defeat on my face must have been palatable because I could see tears welling up in her eyes as well.

Driving home, I was trying to come up with a genius solution. I was contemplating trying local costume shops. Perhaps we could go as a famous couple from history? Marie Antoinette & Henry XVI? Anthony and Cleopatra? Anything would be better then walking down the aisle in Spanx with yards of tulle tucked into it! The ringing of my cell phone, interrupted my thoughts about being the first Spanx bride, it was the sales associate from Nordstrom who had handed me the tissue. This sweet girl, still thinking about my fucked up predicament had called her mom who happened to work in a local bridal shop, told her about my situation and asked if there was anything she could do for me, there was & she had booked me an appointment for first thing the following morning. THIS MY FRIEND IS WHY WE CALL NORDSTROM THE MOTHERLAND!

Susan of Marry Me Bridal greeted me so warmly, gave me a hug and said we were going to find me a dress that I would love. She pulled almost a dozen dresses into a dressing room and when I put on the second one I told her I would take it. She wanted me to try on the rest but I just wanted the search to be over. It was completely different than my original dress, but I didn’t care. It fit and it wasn’t Spanx! Of course the dress didn’t come in short and stout teapot length so it needed to be hemmed. It was now 10 days before the wedding and I had a dress, but it was in alterations and would be until the day before my wedding. I figured I should still have a backup plan in case something went wrong, but by this time, the Spanx dress I had designed in my head with a sexy white bustier, and full tulle skirt had grown on me and much like the honey badger…. I no longer gave a shit!

It’s been 2.5 years since the tale of two dresses became “my story”. I still have some residual PTSD and don’t like looking at pictures from our wedding day, but what I learned was that no matter what life throws at me, there’s someone (my grandma… who probably just didn’t like the first dress and thought I needed to wear that second one) looking out for me and no matter what….”shit always works out“. That’s become my quote. I say it about everything and time and time again it proves true. Shit ALWAYS works out!

 

 

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