Thursday, June 30, 2011

Four wedding dresses.

Ah- the evolution of the wedding dress story, certainly an interesting one. One that needs to be told, since many people seems to be inquiring about "the dress", but how to tell without giving too much away?

I think this little blog is fairly safe. My intended isn't much of a web savvy fellow, and is more likely to go the way of coaxing surprises out of me through margarita than independent research.

Long story short, I have four wedding dresses.

It is amazing for me to think of, since I'm really not that much of a clothes hound. In fact, from the beginning, I think I felt more of a thrill seeking out the most awesome wedding boots and accessories- slightly terrified of the prospect of dress shopping.

The boots were indeed the first to arrive. I bought them here on (click to see a photo) and they are everything I could have dreamed of. Having a spinal cord injury and residual, um, clumsiness resulting thereof, I knew immediately that spending any amount of time in heels would be a nightmare- and trying to walk down steps fluttered by emotion in heels? Well, insert here some word that is a magnifying descriptor of "nightmare". Weak ankles, the inability to tell where one foot is at any given time, general inattention to details...I do very well to keep myself free of injury on any given day. What about a day where I have a photographer ready to capture every memorable millisecond? All I can imagine are comic flip-books of the impending disaster being sent out with our 'thank you' notes.

When it comes to dress shoes, I've always felt more comfortable in boots. They don't slip off my feet, they make it more difficult for my ankles to give out while running down stairs, and they cover one of two places on my body which can cause paralyzing self-consciousness. My calves. Yes, they are uneven because I have muscles that never learned to "work" properly after my injury.

So, I ordered these lovely boots and let me say the color is nothing less than "wow". Bold, rich, vibrant, I couldn't have dreamed of more. They are comfortable as marshmallows, made of suede, dressy with a little heel and cute little swirly designs on the toes and back. I don't think I've ever loved a shoe more- every time I zip them up I dance around the room. They are actually currently in the custody of my mother so that the temptation to wear them out before the wedding hoo-ha isn't pressing.

My happy blue boots. Yup.

But this post was supposed to be about wedding dresses, wasn't it?

All right, so here is how the story went.

I was told soon after our announcement that, having a "party" day and a dinner besides, one dress wouldn't cut it. For reasons of practicality rather than vanity- you simply can't celebrate for an entire weekend with the risk of spilling salad dressing on yourself in the first moments after the ceremony and not having anything fun to wear the next day. Besides, what if it's hot? Or I get rained on? Twelve hours between wedding and day-long party isn't enough time to count on drycleaning or sweat-stink removal.

Saturday is not a formal day- so dress shopping for that day just doesn't have as much pressure. Plus, up until a few weeks ago, it had been over a year since I bought any decent clothes. I'm one of those people that has really specific clothing requirements, and, when I find clothes I love, I wear them until they have holes in strange places, have underwires poking you uncomfortably in certain lady bits, are missing straps, pinned together, etc. etc. Hey! This all is a perfect excuse for a little clothing indulgence.

So, I found one party dress for Saturday that I loved- first, I believe was the black and red polka dot dress you may have seen in a previous post. My mother kindly assisted by making me a petticoat to go underneath, so it's nice and poofy and old timey and I just love to spin around in it like a silly girl...and then I have strange homemaking urges to craft delicious muffins or ask all the men-folk if they'd like a martini. Hmm....

Then, I found another dress from ModCloth for (gasp) $89 that was almost everything I was looking for in a wedding dress, and more than enough for that price. I ordered it, had it shipped to the parents, and tried it on a week or two later. The cut is cute, a ruffly knee-length base of creamy muslin and accents of some pleated gauzey fabric with a sweetheart top. It was nice, I didn't mind the more informal fabric (especially if its a blazin' hot end of September- we're all gonna need something with absorbency). Plus, with a cute veil and my a-maz-ing boots, it'll be dressy enough. Right? Yeah.

It was safe. And, even safer, I had a back up option. I own a vintage cream dress that I love to death and have worn on many, many occasions that I was willing to take the raised eyebrow "We've already seen you in that before" look because I feel comfortable and good looking in it. Plus, it'd also look good with the blue boots, so as a back up for dinner, no sweat.

There it is. I bought it at a thrift shop in a very hispanic district in Chicago. I bought it because it reminded me of my grandmother for some reason- even though I've never met her and have very little of anything of hers to remember her by. Sometimes I lie to people and tell them it was my grandmothers, because I've been told we have the same body type and look similar- and I wish it was hers.

I bought it on a hot summer day when I was walking back to my car to drive to my second loop of dogs (I was dog walking that summer). I stopped in this shop, but after finding it and taking it to the counter, the old hispanic lady told me they only took cash. I asked her where the nearest ATM was- three blocks away. I asked her if she'd hold it for me while I went there- no. So I ran as fast as I could down three city blocks and back, clinching this $20 bill in my hand. She sold it to me, and I wiggled it on in the back seat of my car because I couldn't wait to try it on (the shop had no dressing rooms).

So there's the story of that dress. It had this horribly 19-somethings beading granny thing on the bodice that I carefully cut off when I returned home that night. It's one of those dresses that always fits and always looks good- even on the "fat" days. Miracle vintage dress.

So there's three dresses. Three dresses for one wedding.

Briefly, I must mention, that in my research I found that it is a Chinese tradition for the bride to display her family's position to wear as many dresses as possible during the wedding celebration. Sounds pretty crazy, no?

And so for the big one.

My mom was sitting on the couch while I was twiddling around in the kitchen and, out of silence, she asks, "So...are you really decided against a wedding dress?" You know, a real one, she means- like a fancy one. Well, no, I said something to the affect of- no, but with all the other things that are important to me on the subject of wedding (like good photography and good music), I just couldn't justify taking a large sum of money to spend on myself for this dress thing. I was still against several wedding dress things: against sparkles, adornment, or big poofy-fluff Cinderella ballgowns. Against mortgaging the schoolhouse to pay for said dress. Against certain styles that I know would not flatter my short-and-not-busty body type or styles that I think look just plain ridiculous. No prom dress that just happen to be white.

But I guess, no, no- when all things were considered, I wasn't against having or wearing anything that would be considered or may have been created specifically for the purpose of getting married.

Hesitant for fear of risking being pushy and prefaced with a number of "if you don't like it just let me know no pressure no worries just wanted to show you"s, she showed me a dress that had caught her eye a while back but she didn't want to suggest for...whatever reason. She said if I thought I might like it, she would order it just to try on, and if it wasn't right, we'd send it right back in a jiffy. No problem.

It's hard to tell what things look like online. You have no sense of quality, only a vague comprehension of color, and what about cut and length? But, at first glance, there weren't any red flags. It wasn't some Disney princess dress, thank goodness, not that it was too much of a risk she'd suggest such a thing- fortunately her sense of what I like and what I actually do like have a good amount of alignment.

There wasn't any risk in ordering after all. If I liked it, she'd gift it to me. If not, we wouldn't mention anything to anyone and no one would be wiser. No worries. So, ten minutes later, it was ordered and we sat for a week in anticipation for said dress to arrive.

And oh, when it did. I took a trip to Springfield yesterday and two minutes after walking in the door I was throwing off clothes and borrowing my sister's strapless bra. The dress was made of gorgeous material- elegant, not snazzy; creamy, not white; just a hint of sheen, but not shiny; with flattering lines and simple gatherings. Oh, and an asymmetrical hem on the base to SHOW OFF MY BOOTS. It was- is- gorgeous. And the thing fit like a glove. We took it to a seamstress to have the hem shortened a wee bit (no tripping down the stairs, thank you very much) but no adjustments needed. It had all of this built-in support and extra hooks for perfect form fitting without mushing or inciting the need to stuff the boobage. Very nice. More than I had really thought of or expected. In fact, I stood there looking at myself and, holy crap, I looked like I was getting married.

I looked like I am getting married.

"I guess this means you're all grown up now." Mom said to me later.

Well, heck...I guess it at least looks like I am to everyone.

I've been walking around ever since trying to wrap my head around this realization that I AM GETTING MARRIED.

Really? Me? Me. I'm getting married. Really? Really.

I don't even have anything to end this post with. I'm sitting here looking at the quick snapshots (which you aren't going to see) of me in a wedding dress. Me in a wedding dress. Me...looking like I'm getting married, which I am, but looking like I actually getting married.

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