I have a wedding dress. A poor representation of it can be found here. I call it a poor representation because the model doesn’t fill it out like I do, and despite the description and the decoration, it’s not actually an empire waist– at least not as I understand them.
I’m amazed, because the trip started off poorly. The instructions I printed out from the David’s Bridal site were amazingly inaccurate, and our car was almost out of gas, prompting both Kevin and I to be very stressy at each other. Finally I called at 4:00, when my appointment was, and got directions that were somewhat more accurate.
We arrived at the store and Kevin stood outside to have a smoke while I went in. I didn’t get any attention from the person at the reception desk until well after Kevin came in– she was on the phone. When she did pause to ask my name, I had to wait another 10 minutes or so as she fumbled around with paperwork before she told me to go off and pick out three dresses. She asked me what my pants size was and I told her I was wearing a 22 but wasn’t sure if that was accurate since I’d lost some weight. She told me the dresses run small and to look at 24s.
So we go over to the section she pointed at. There are about seven dresses in the 24 section. I’m pretty upset at this point, since I don’t really feel comfortable when I’m uncertain, and I hated feeling like I was shuttled to a tiny section at the back of the store. So we poke around a bit and Kevin suggests I pick some out just to see what they look like. So I get a few I’m curious about. Meanwhile the actual ‘wedding consultant’ finds us, chats with us a bit, gives me the same advice about sizes (but suggests I get a 22 as well, just in case).
Then she vanishes again. We hang out, our dresses selected, and eventually move them over to the fitting room, chase down the wedding consultant and she goes to get me undergarments. Kevin helps me with the crazy undergarments (giant bra-thing and big floofy petticoat). The first dress goes on.
It was nice. It was too big (and one of the 22s). I think it had lace sleeves. I liked it enough that kevin went scavenging for a smaller one to try on later. Then we tried on one with a halter neck, and I decided I didn’t like my arms. Oh– she made me go stand on a little pedestal to look at the dress, which was kind of neat. All of you people who have been involved in wedding dress shopping before probably know this, but I didn’t.
Anyhow, after that, Kevin returned with the smaller version of the first dress, and another dress that had a big flooofy tulle ballerina skirt, and another halter neck. I tried on the 24 we’d picked up and it had long floofy sleeves and turned out not to be an empire waisted dress despite its look. It was also way too big. The consultant mentioned it was a discontinued line and she’d sold the 22 that morning. Kevin really liked it, but it was way too big. I sent him to look for a size 20, while I tried on the tulle ballerina dress.
I really liked the way my waist and hips looked in the ballerina dress. If it hadn’t been a halter neck, I probably would have fallen in love. Meanwhile, Kevin came back with not a 20, but an 18 in the ‘not-empire’ dress.
I eventually got out of the tulle and tried on the size 18 ‘not-empire’. It fit pretty easily– it could even be taken in at a few points. It also was very clearly NOT AN EMPIRE– while there was lace trim under the bust line, it fit very snugly, like a glove, down the curve of my waist and over my hips. It flared out where the petticoat did. It wasn’t as much of a flare as the tulle skirt, but it was the same look I’d been pretty certain, in my design discussions, would look good on me.
I hadn’t really imagined a square neckline, but it was expansive, which was more important than shape. And the petticoat made a clear line under the skirt (but had also been too big). I played with the dress and the sleeves for a while, and then Kevin dug out my phone and called Michelle and Stacy. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, they saw the same picture you see above, and gave me great advice: Michelle about seeing how far I could move my arms, and Stacy pointed out I could try the dress on with a straight slip. So I did that, and it looked reasonably good (taking into account that it needed alterations)– good enough that we could put off deciding ‘slip or petticoat’ until later.
So we got the dress. Kevin really liked it, I was very happy with my reflection.
There was another wedding party sharing our (very nice and helpful) wedding consultant. They were there for bridesmaids dresses, and all very… similar looking: long straight hair, the same kind of semi-goth eye makeup, fantastically slender, and trying on purple bridesmaids dresses. I barely noticed them as I stomped around in my white dresses back and forth to the pedestal. 🙂
As usual with things like this, my emotions are lagging behind the situation. I spent some serious time psyching myself up for renting a wedding dress. I’m kind of bewildered that I won’t be going to a dress rental place in Las Vegas now. And there’s this big white bag in our bedroom.
But it looks nice. It wasn’t part of their $99 sale, but it was discounted a bit. If it ends up being out of budget, it just means we spend June saving for our May wedding, too. Which isn’t going to be a big deal. There will have to be alterations, around the shoulders, especially, and maybe to take it in some in places, and repair a missing lace flower. And Kevin insists I wear nice white shoes and white stockings. There goes my plan to be barefoot…
Kevin was WONDERFUL. Multiple times I would have given up on this trip without him. He picked me out a tulle-skirted dress even though he thought they were silly. He liked the sleeves on my dress /because/ I would fidget with them. The bridesmaids nearbye were shocked I’d let my /husband/ see my dress in advance, but… having confidence that he’ll be delighted to see me in it is good… as is having it at all… I was nearly in tears at the size 24 dress selection, if I’d even found the shop, given their horrible directions. So, three cheers for Kevin!