If you know me in real life, chances are you've heard this story. In fact, I'm pretty sure strangers have heard this story and yet, I've been debating whether or not I should tell it here. But having just hit our one-year wedding anniversary, I've been doing a little reflecting. See, articles like this drive me nuts and so do these because while there are common occurrences in wedding planning and even marriage, everyone's experience is subjective. So rather than espouse all the terrific lessons I've learned since getting engaged and married, I'm going to tell you the story of my dress. Take from it what you will.
For me, I knew the engagement was coming. Partially because we were at that point and partially because I'm a pain in the ass and made it real easy for him. Having never given my dream wedding too much thought, I realized I should probably start to think about it and decided to look at dresses as "Say Yes to the Dress" is so deeply ingrained in the American psyche. Pretty quickly I found a designer I liked located in Brooklyn.
After making the engagement official, I went back to said designer's website and pored over the images, coming back to a specific dress time and time again. Part of her appeal was that the collection is fully customizable and crafted in-house. With my ring in hand, I decided to make a few appointments including one at the said studio. After a particularly heinous first experience at Lovely Bride, I arrived in Brooklyn hopeful to turn the day around. My consultant was flighty but seemed genuine as I tried on dress after dress to appease my mother and sister. Convinced the original style was my dress, I decided to sleep on things and return a few weeks later bridal party in tow. At appointment number two, I said yes to that same dress I had found online and lusted over for months.
Champagne was popped, glasses were clinked and after putting down the insane deposit, brunch was had. This is what brides do, right? Yay, weddings! In the months that followed, I went back to do my measurements twice - once for proportions and another time with my shoes to get the length right. Now mind you, I live about an hour and a half away from the shop so every trip in meant at least half a day dedicated to the promise of this dress.
Finally, on Good Friday of last year, with 10 weeks to go before the big day, I went in for my first fitting. Oh, but how I wish it fit. The beautiful creation that was supposed to be tailor-made to fit my closest street size came nowhere near fitting my body. The top was inches from closing while the bottom half hung like a sad garbage bag. What's worse was the reaction of the store who had the audacity to act as though this were my fault, trying to push me into the dressing room to hide the mistake from the other customers. Stunned, I went home, got drunk and cried while waiting to hear back from the store about a resolution.
But no resolution would come. The store would offer no reasonable solution, saying it would take them a month to fix the dress. A month I didn't have as the planning pressures began to mount. The designer herself was cowardly and unwilling to meet me halfway, offering a solution on her terms that I would have to pay the balance on. I'm not going to share the designer's name because frankly, I don't think she deserves an ounce of promotion - good or bad. After reflecting on what to do, I realized I had made a grave and costly mistake. This was not my dress. This was a wedding fever. This was what happens when you do what you think you're supposed to do rather than what feels natural. There is, of course, way more to the story, but I'll spare you all the details. Just know that in the end, I wore a dress I bought on sale from Asos less than two weeks before the wedding. I was comfortable and happy and I wore the dress, it did not wear me.
Image via Lily Szabo Photography.