Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ones That Weren’t, Part 1

Let’s talk dresses.  After Mr. Goodlaff and I got engaged, I became obsessed with trying on wedding dresses as soon as possible. I went through magazines, marking dresses I liked with post-its, with no regard price.  And I fell in love with Justin (Alexander) and Judd (Waddell), with Priscilla and Vera and Pronovias and Lazaro. But I knew that I don't make enough in one year to afford some of the gowns I was looking at.
I also knew that I didn’t want to buy right away (I wanted to lose weight—ask me how that’s going….), and though my budget meant I’d never be a Kleinfeld bride,  I couldn’t wait to have a “Say Yes to the Dress”-esque experience.  I had to wait for weeks, and let me tell you, it was agonizing!  I almost got so tired of waiting for everyone’s schedules to align that I nearly went by myself to try on some gowns. 

I made my first appointment of the weekend at Alfred Angelo.  I figured the dresses were reasonably priced, the selection would be good, and it would be a great place to start my first gown-shopping experience research trip with Mama and Sister Goodlaff. 

As the day approached, I began to get nervous.  What if nothing fit?  What if I hated everything?  What if it was going to be a terrible experience?  A lot of my what-if’s centered on the fit of the dresses.  See, I am a plus-size bride, and I’ve heard horror stories about how heavier brides are treated in salons, and how embarrassing the experience was and how other brides never wanted to go dress shopping ever again.  So, there I was, giddy with excitement about the prospect of putting on a wedding dress for the first time, and yet dreading the possibility that dress shopping wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as I thought it would be.
When we got in the door on that Saturday morning, it turned out that due to a scheduling snafu, I wasn’t on the schedule until 2:00PM, and guess what: they didn’t have a consultant for me!  I had driven an hour to get to the store, and the prospect that what I’d been looking forward to for weeks might not happen was enough to drive me right up to the bridezilla city limits.  There I was, so excited to start the process, and the universe was playing a cruel joke on me. Luckily, they were finally able to place me with a consultant, and the dress hunting began.
I went in with a fairly open mind and only one rule for my consultant, Emily: no lace.  (I have seen some gorgeous lace dresses on TV and in magazines, but it was never something I pictured myself wearing). I told her that it was my first shopping experience, and I didn’t want to buy yet, but that I did want to try on a lot of different styles on to definitively rule them out.  She was gracious and helpful and we got right to work.
We started with the mermaid style which was a complete and total disaster. I got it about halfway zipped up and I looked in the mirror and immediately said "absolutely no way in hell" to the dress.  I don't even have a picture of me in the dress--that's how awful it was.
The dress with a colored ribbon?  I believe what I'm saying right there is that I hate the blue ribbon. I don't want there to be color on my wedding dress. I have seen those Vera Wang gowns with the black ribbons, and they are stunning, just not for me.... (BTW, That's Mama Goodlaff and Sister Goodlaff in the background there.)

I found that the ball gowns and A-lines were good on me.  These two were on my list:
I loved the ruching and the taffeta on this dress ( I looove taffeta!).  I also loved the off the shoulder neckline--I think It's romantic.

I think this one was my favorite of all the ones I tried on there. The only thing I didn't like about it was the jeweled wrestling belt on the waist (okay, so it wasn't really that bad...).

But you want to know something?  I was right—it wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.  Granted, I didn’t have a terrible time, but it was stressful! There was one dress I liked better than the others and it didn’t take long for my consultant to try to force the sale; they took my measurements and set up a return appointment date so I could “visit my dress.”  The store manager even came over to try to close on the appointment. The price of the dress I liked was $899, and when I asked about alterations, I didn’t get a straight answer.  I felt like I was going to be guided into buying a dress only to get stuck with a massive alterations bill.
Needless to say, I left Alfred Angelo empty-handed.
Up next, "The Ones That Weren't, Part 2": David's Bridal Mayhem...
Was your first dress shopping experience all you thought it would be?

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