Dear Worst Bride Ever,
I'm getting married next year, and I guess I need to start thinking about a dress. Any advice? Tips? Warnings? Witty anecdotes?
A Loyal Feminist
Dear ALF (ha ha, nice one!),
Indeed I do have some advice! And tips and warnings and anecdotes! For you see I recently purchased my own wedding dress! How 'bout that?!?!
Coinky-dinks abound here at somakeitup dot blogspot, I tell you what.
Anyhoo, I began my quest for a dress with an informal survey of my recent bride friends, which is to say that upon announcing my engagement to my recent bride friends they all immediately divulged the saga of their respective wedding dress searches and acquisitions. "Do you have a dress yet? Are you thinking about a dress? Any ideas on the dress? I did this whole dress thing and/or that whole dress thing. Let me tell you about it for a while. Do you want to see my dress? It's in my closet. Do you want to borrow my dress? You can totally borrow my dress." And so on.
Having shopped for clothes primarily in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, I myself have never had a garment custom-made for my body and have preferred instead to shop "off the rack" like a normal middle-class American human. Apparently, this lifelong habit is discouraged for my Special Princess Wedding Day of Princessitude. Upon perusing wedding websites and magazines (for this-blog-research purposes only of course), I simply could not figure out how boutique wedding dress shopping was supposed to work. Finally, I asked my very knowledgeable college friend, a recent bride who pulled her whole gorgeous wedding together in something like seven months.
"You have to order your dress at least six months in advance. The best thing to do is find a dress on the internet. Then, find a store that sells that brand. Then, call the store and ask them if they have the specific dress from that brand -- there will be a number associated with the style. Then, if they have it, go there and try on that dress and lots of others. They usually have just one larger size as the sample size, so the dress won't fit you but you'll get an idea of if you like it. Then they measure you and they make the dress you want FOR you, to your exact measurements. Then you go back for fittings."
A touch of panic began to set in. I clicked through so many dress photos on the internet that I scorched my corneas (you know, all that white). I listened as more of my bride friends spoke of their wedding dress searches with a discernible tone of buyer's remorse. I dug deep, emailing discount retailers and trying to get some kind of ballpark idea of the prices of these damn things, which are deliberately not listed anywhere so that stores can charge you whatever you seem willing to pay. Numbers like $1200 (!!) and $2250 (!!!!) peppered my inbox, responses from the CHEAP online vendors. All that? For one day?
In the end, I flew to Texas (where my mother lives) to shop for dresses with her one weekend, and we went to David's and procured a garment that cost less than the round-trip nonstop flight from Boston. I'm using the name of David's because I had such a fabulous experience there. While my recent bride friends all have stories of being bullied or attempted-bullied into buying the up-sold princess gear by the specialty boutique employees, the professional and respectful women at David's actually listened to me. "I'm not really a super-girly type..." I began, and they snapped to it: "Got it. No tulle, no tiaras, no problem." I was pleasantly surprised by their understanding of my desired departure from the typical bridal trappings, but then I realized that they deal with all kinds of brides at David's every day: second- and third-time brides, visibly pregnant brides, brides of all social classes and walks of life. I myself saw one goth bride and one bride with a giant tattoo that she very much wanted to show off on her big day, and the David's employees were totally on it, bringing her backless dress after backless dress. I walked away having spent an amount that I feel comfortable with for a gorgeous garment that I'm only going to wear once, which was exactly what I wanted.
Just one last piece of advice: be open to non-traditional styles and colors. I was fortunate enough to find a dress that matches the pallet we've chosen for our outdoor summer wedding!
Amn't I fabulous?!