Next up on wedding (well, anniversary) week, let’s talk about my wedding dress. In what seems like a somewhat uncharacteristic move, I don’t remember being too concerned about my dress. I don’t really know what happened to me. I LOVE dresses. But I think my pragmatic side had taken hold by this point in the planning and I reasoned that no one was going to think my dress was ugly. Not an entirely invalid thought but it probably took a bit of fun out of the process.
So, my dress search was focused on a few things. I wanted some kind of straps since I was nervous I’d be tugging at a strapless all night. My inclination was towards a V-neck. I wanted something simple and not too heavy because I wanted to be able to dance. Some form of a train but not too long. I wanted something that I would hopefully not look back on in 20 years and wonder what in the world I was thinking (remember, I’m not usually very trendy so there was no need to start with a wedding dress.) And I wanted to spend as little money on it as possible.
After one cute boutique I sought out because of a particular dress (which was nice but had so many customization options I left feeling overwhelmed) my Mom found an ad for Filene’s Running of the Brides and suggested we at least give it a try. Have you all heard about this? I had and I was very nervous. The stories were of brides lining up at crazy hours of the morning to be the first to rush into the store. Girls hoarding, trading, and fighting one another for dresses. Remember what I said in my last post about not being aggressive and wanting to fight over a bouquet? Same goes for a wedding dress. Doesn’t it seem like bad karma to know you ripped the dress you’re wearing out of another girls hands. I think so.
But I agreed to go with some set rules. The main one was that we would not be attempting to get there first thing in the morning. A designer gown was not important to me. The store website recommends that you assemble a team in matching gear. This was also vetoed as it sounds complicated and unnecessary. So my mom, best friend Tiffany, and I arrived in our non-matching T-shirts and I started trying on all types and styles of dresses. In the middle of the store. How un-glamorous. But at least I was fully clothed. Weddings apparently make you do crazy things because there was one woman who I saw in only her thong. Also in the middle of the store which by this point was open to the public for regular shopping. I thought there were laws against that kind of thing but perhaps there’s an exception made for wedding dress shopping.
I went through the pictures from that day thinking maybe I’d share some but I can’t do it. I’m a glasses wearing no make-up mess. Not suitable for the internet. The runners-up of the day came down to one that met my criteria but was too far off shoulder so I was worried it wouldn’t be good for dancing. Eliminated. A strapless dress that had a really pretty lace top with a scalloped edge and a simple organza skirt. Between the lace and organza I probably would have given up my strap requirement. But there was some kind of boning in the torso that just didn’t lay flat. Eliminated. My mom’s favorite was a much more princess styled dress. My favorite part was the super low scoop back. But it was very heavily beaded and something just didn’t feel right. I hadn’t really thought about it but after trying it on a few times someone pointed out that the bodice was just too big for me. Even with alterations to take it in, the proportions were all off. Ahh, right. Eliminated.
So then, I ended up with my dress.
I had actually picked it up earlier in the day and said it was the one. It had a sweetheart neckline but I was convinced it could be turned into a straight V to match its back. I’m not sure why I was convinced of this and it turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. It caused me a lot of stress leading up to our wedding because the first time it was altered the V wasn’t right. I learned (and Pete still teases me about this) that I can tell when something is off by 1/16th of an inch. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is. I was actually so nervous that it wasn’t going to be right that I started to look for backup ready-made dresses. I never got to the point of buying one but I was pretty close.
I still wasn’t perfect, which bothered me a lot (I also learned that I should have used Hollywood tape from the start of the day), but I do think it’s pretty. If I had to do it all over again, I can see myself picking a similar dress. I just wish I had been a little more excited about the process. I sometimes joke that I’m going to set up an appointment to go try on wedding dresses just for fun. If it wouldn’t be wasting someone else’s time and resources, I would totally do it.
Oh, and as for cost, $150 before alterations. Seriously. So I still contend that you do not need to spend a ton of money for a pretty dress. Again, if you want to, by all means do. But my marriage would not be any happier if I had spent *insert your favorite multiple here* times more on my dress. And that’s all that really matters to me.