Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dress Story

Okay, I’ll admit it. I already bought my dress. It was the first one I tried on and I made the decision in under an hour. Now, I’ve come to compare my engagement ring to the One Ring, the Ring of Power, the ring that made Frodo see through and crazy. Because sometimes, when I put my ring on, I go see through and crazy. Part of that craziness early on in the engagement was a need to find out everything I could to save some money and make this a practical, sane wedding that reflected us and that would just be a really fun party.

Then I heard about bridal samples sales. We’ve all heard about the crazy Filene’s Basement sale in Boston and that wasn’t my style with the plotting and the running and the crazy and the bartering (yeah, you know you watched that TLC special too). My sample sale crush focused on wedding dress outlets and designers in New York. Simultaneously, we knew that we were getting married at our university chapel, thereby setting a certain tone if you will. Now, I usually say that tone is bullshit and you can wear whatever you want to wear, but this will come into play later when making my decision.

I immediately called around to dress shops to find out when their sample sales were, because I had heard from the grapevine that they are usually held in the Spring and Fall. Low and behold, Bridal Atelier by Mark Ingram was holding one as was Kleinfeld’s. I booked appointments thinking, hey, this will be fun, I’ll see what’s out there for real and not those hideous things in the wedding magazines (of which I by this point had 10 of thanks to the future MOH along with a coordinating binder/totebag/umbrella/book set…oh yeah I did). I figured it would be a nice outing for my mom and sister, my sister who has been planning my wedding since I started dating FH (I need to get a better reference for him – suggestions?).

Now, you know and I know that there are nightmare stories out there about Kleinfeld’s. My experience was great. My mom and good friend Beth (sister couldn’t make it) met me on a Sunday morning and immediately we met my sales associate who was a fabulous French woman. I told her why I was there, “Sample Sale”, what my (imaginary at that time) budget was and that I really wanted to try on as many dresses I could in the hour I was allotted to see what was out there and what I looked good in.

We set out to the racks, all four of us, pulling things in the reasonable and unreasonable price ranges as they set out the sample sale dresses by price. We even picked up some regular stock items so I could see those as well. My only rule was it had to have straps of some sort, I don’t look good in strapless and also don’t see how having a 25lb+ dress depending on your boobs to hold it up all day is comfortable. We’ve all seen brides try to hike up their dresses by the boob/armpit. Not pretty.

I won’t go through all of the dresses I tried on, but I did get to try on an amazing Christos dress and a Monique Lhuillier (because you know you want to too). Christos was truly amazing, Monique, not so much, and I couldn’t afford even their sample sale prices that were over 50% off the original price. The dress I thought I wanted, a simple Grecian flowing beauty with a flower appliqué on the back, was amazing…but….didn’t feel…special. I went back to the first one and needless to say, it fit me to a t and just looked, sigh, like the one.

Being a Libra, indecision took over. My friend noted that the dress was over 50% off the original sale price and that for the detail involved in the dress, it was a great price. My mom, based on a 2 dress experience with my sister, withheld her opinion unless she hated the dress, see Christos. My sales associate talked to me a little, and finally busted out with “you are having 250 people in a church in the evening in October, I understand the simple dresses, but those are for beach weddings and sometimes you just want a BRIDE to be a BRIDE” Imagine hand motions and a beautiful French accent from an older black woman.

Normally, if I wasn’t wearing the Ring of Power, I would have said, “lady, get out of crazy town and meet me in Normalville.” I’ll be honest, I got excited and thought “Hell yes!” In my heart of hearts, despite my sarcasm, intermittent aversion to bridal magazines and the whole bridal industrial complex, I do want to be bride. Not a crazy cookie cutter bride, but…special. Sidenote: Whenever I see David Dinkins speak, he always refers to his wife of 50+ years as “his bride” and that makes me swoon.

And I do want to wear this fabulous, beaded, halter, satin beautiful dress, not because I’m having 250 people in a church in the evening in October, but because of how amazing I felt in it. So I decided to buy it. A good year and a half before I’m getting married. Slightly ridiculous? Maybe. A relief to know I have an amazing dress already? Definitely.

1 comment:

Yined said...

Congrats! Nice pick! My wedding is in November and I don't know what I'm wearing. I love a BCBG number - I'm planning a beach wedding - but I can't seem to find an XS to try it on and get a real feel of it... Decisions, decisions, decisions...