Still there? Still conscious? Barely? Good enough for me! Onward we go....
So, never one to do anything halfway, I booked a dress appointment and found a bridal show to attend the next day (Sunday). Sister Goodlaff, Mama Goodlaff and I headed back out into the trenches to Bridal Mart in Rancho Cordova, where I hoped to finally find a decent (or any) tea-length dress to try on.
We got there at 10AM on a Sunday, and pretty much had the place to ourselves. I asked feebly about tea-length dresses, and was disappointed again. C'est la Vie! I would have to be satisfied with trying on long dresses.
What I had learned the day before was that I loved the look of taffeta, so we browsed the racks, made some picks, and I soon transformed into Bridal Barbie. I must have tried on ten to twelve dresses that morning, and when you look at the pictures, you will notice that I'm actually smiling in most of them! Big difference!
Here's a sampling:
Love the taffeta, but it appears that somebody had switched the bottom of this dress with a comforter...that just won't do.
I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up (I still do, really), and this seemed like a grown up version of a Swan Lake costume. You'll notice that it's not actually on me, but that the hanger is over my shoulders, vastly improving my posture. The tulle is what sold me on this one (ballet slippers sold separately).
Please ignore Sister Goodlaff; she's just attempting to keep herself amused while I'm trying to figure out if I should step into or go under the skirt of the next dress...
This dress had insanely beautiful beading and embroidery, along with a great train, but it was ultimately a bit too formal for me. What I did like: the amazing figure I had in the dress. Why is it that we don't wear corsets anymore? I say bring the corset back! If I could look like that everyday, I'd happily deal with the whaleboning and the lack of oxygen...
So, there we were, piles of pretty dresses all around and then my consultant brought me this one:
I really, really liked this one--the sweetheart top, the hints of bling, the way I looked in the dress: I had a figure! I was hot! It had enough bling to be interesting, ruching for camoflauge, and no crazy cathedral train running behind me. I was ready to say yes to this dress!
Well, you knew there had to be a "then." Then it turned out that Mama Goodlaff and Sister Goodlaff didn't like the dress as much as I did, or really at all. Sister Goodlaff, with her degree in fashion design, started talking about drape and fit and that something looked "off" about the dress. Mama Goodlaff liked one of the other dresses better. "It just isn't you," I heard from both of them.
I was defiant for a bit, but ultimately my resolve crumbled. Even now, I look at that dress, knowing it's not the one, but I still really like how I look in it, and I really loved how I felt in it. It was strange to me that something so figure-cradling and bridal bombshell-esque would have been my favorite one of all the dresses I tried on that weekend, considering I had ruled out that style before we even began.
And I have to say, my consultant at Bridal Mart was amazing; Melissa knew her way around a corset! Though she practically had to put her foot on my back to cinch the strings, she was a miracle worker (hello waist!) and helped me see what each dress could really look like. She let me pick a few dresses to start, and then made choices for me from there. I loved the buttons that ran all the way down the back of one dress, so the next few dresses she brought me all had buttons. When she brought me that last dress, I though she'd lost it. When I put it on, I was floored. Melissa really listened to me, and I never felt any pressure to buy. I wish I had been able to buy a dress I loved there, just because the whole experience was great.
Here's what I learned from that weekend:
1. Don't be afraid to go in not knowing exactly what you want. In trying on something on that you weren't quite sure about, you could find a surprising winner (or see that blingy wedding wrestling belts aren't always so bad).
2. Don't feel pressured to buy; if you're not sure, walk away, and don't feel bad about it either...
3. Don't underestimate the powerful sway of opinions that may or may not match yours. I have watched dozens of episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" where brides do a complete 180 because their mother hates the dress. I know that for me, it's important that I like the dress first, and if people happen to agree with me, great. What I found was that after hearing Sister and Mama Goodlaff's opinions on any given dress, no matter what I felt about it, the dress was never really looked the same to me (for better or worse). Take someone with you whose opinions you trust, but who won't steamroll over you in your quest for the dress.
4. Don't. Settle. I didn't get to try on a tea-length dress like I'd wanted to, so I didn't feel comfortable making a decision. I had to be able to rule that out (or not) before I could really commit to a dress.
What did you learn from your dress shopping experiences?