Sunday, November 28, 2010

Playing Dress Up: Or, When Dress Help Comes from Unexpected Places

No amount of looking at pictures online was going to push me to finally make the decision to buy a short wedding dress--I had to see how that style would look on my body before I would know for sure.  In the two months between when I made my appointment at Dolly Couture, and when I actually went to see the dresses in person, Mama Goodlaff and our florist (Ingrid) went to see a concert together, and she was telling Ingrid about the neverending hunt for a tea-length wedding dress--Ingrid calls it a "Lucy" dress (as in, Lucille Ball).

A few weeks after the concert, Mama Goodlaff and I were in Ingrid's shop flipping through floral books, getting ideas for ceremony and reception flowers.  We were about to leave the store when Ingrid halted us at the door, told us she'd be right back, and hustled of the shop.  She came back with a mangled plastic bag--inside was her mom's balled up wedding dress from the 1950's.  Ingrid handed the dress over to me.  "Take it home, play with it, see if it's what you want," she told me.  She told us it was her mom's dress from her first marriage, and though her mom didn't hold it in very high regard, Ingrid just couldn't bring herself to part with it.  

Though it was yellowed with age, and the lace was stiff, and there were a few stains on the skirt, it was still a beautiful dress.  It had elbow-length sleeves and a boat-neck top, with a sweetheart shaped satin lining underneath.  I wish I had taken a picture of it before I began playing with the dress (it was very similar to the Dolly Couture San Marino), but I didn't.

Here's what it looked like:

Please forgive the crappy alignment on the photo--it's incredibly difficult to try to center yourself in a shot when the camera is on a ten-second delay and you have no idea where you should be standing. 

The skirt wasn't poofy enough for me, which is why I'm holding it out on the side, and I folded the top lace down so you could see the sweetheart satin lining (if you look closely, you'll see that I also had to use mini-hair clips to hold the dress up....). 

A close-up of the bottom--the length was perfect!

I felt like I was six again, all gussied up in someone else's clothes, pretending to be a bride. But while I was playing dress-up in my florist's mom's dress,  I really started to see my perfect wedding dress take shape.  And the minute I looked at myself in the mirror with that dress folded just so, I knew that I wouldn't look at another full-length wedding gown ever again.

Help from an unexpected source proved to be the deciding factor in my dress search, and I'm so grateful to have such an amazing florist: Ingrid let me leave her store with her mother's wedding gown with no restrictions or requirements on when to bring it back.  "Whenever you're done with it, bring it back," she said (seriously, who does that?).  Because I was able to try the dress, I knew going in to my Dolly Couture appointment exactly what I wanted, which made the process much easier and way more fun than my previous dress hunts had been.

Did any of you recieve wedding help from an unexpected source?

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