Conquering the tulle jungle

Shan and I went wedding dress shopping again tonight. (Note that I am NOT the bride in this scenario!) 😀

We had so very much luck. This is a photo of the dress, although she looks MUCH more ravishing in it than this broad!

It’s been an absolutely agonizing process for her. When we first started going dress shopping, she wasn’t very pregnant. And we had ridiculous saleswomen trying to talk her into buying dresses four sizes bigger than she needed, which they tend to do because they make a killing on the cost of alterations (in sum, she’s only gone up one size, to accommodate the little rugrat). We left the stores and said hell with it — we’ll come back when she’s closer to the size she’ll be on her wedding day.

Well, the big day is July 7, and she’s been trying valiantly to find something, anything that, in her words, “Doesn’t make me look like an outhouse or a Macy’s parade float.”

Today, serendipity led us to the perfect dress … after 10 that just didn’t float her boat.

She came into my office at the end of the day, saying that sometime this week, she wanted to go to “that special little place in hell” — otherwise known as the bridal shop. I was having a pretty light day (thanks to working all day yesterday), so I said damn, I would only have been available today, as it’s production week and it’s nowhere but downhill from here as far as my free time this week. She brightened up and said, “Can you go now?”

So I said hell yeah.

My reasons were twofold. First, I wanted to be there when she found the perfect dress (after all of our aggravation, I wanted to see the moment when she fell in love with the right one). And secondly but equally as important, dress shopping is traumatizing — the salespeople latch onto you like horny mosquitoes; the process of finding the right cut, color and size is just despair-inducing; and it’s a hell of a way to spend your time when all you want to do is cry because nothing fits. I wouldn’t dream of sending a friend into that tulle jungle by themselves.

She tried on a few, and of course the only one that made her remotely happy was the most expensive one in the store. And while she looked perfectly lovely in it, her eyes just didn’t light up enough when she had it on. It was the best of the bunch — and lord knows we went through every dress on the rack — but it’s as though a part of both of us knew that it was a possibility instead of an endpoint.

At one point, I even went through the racks and randomly selected things I thought she would like. The leech of a salesgirl kept suggesting other things and essentially insinuated that I wasn’t picking the right ones (so I told her where to shove her dresses — I know my friend’s tastes). And Shan liked every last dress that I brought. The problem is, she was kind of between sizes (depending on the style), and there is simply no time for alterations — she needed something that fit today. Frustrated, she got dressed and wanted to take one last look around.

We picked up two more dresses, and then we both gravitated to this not-quite-ivory dress — the color is called “Diamond,” and it’s not white but not ivory. We both hate ivory wedding dresses … reminds us of how older people used to mothball and store their wedding gowns, in hopes that their daughters and granddaughters would wear those dresses someday — which was nice in theory but the dresses would develop a yellow tinge with age and with improper storage. Thus, we think ivory looks dirty like that.

But this diamond color was kind of neat. It wasn’t the ultra-white of all the rest of the gowns, but it didn’t have that dingy appearance either. It was so very classy.

At any rate, we picked it up on a goof. It was two sizes too big, but what the hell — we knew this was the last round with the try-ons.

When she was trying on that particular gown, our salesgirl thankfully had to go home and another girl was assigned to us (it fucking sucks that you have to give them your name, address, phone number and a piss sample in order to be allowed into the dressing room, and yes, you are assigned a salesperson to supervise your every move). So when the new girl came on, Shan decided to get rid of her by asking her to find the dress in a smaller size — which we figured was a joke because we didn’t see it in any other size.

Five minutes later, the girl appeared with the dress in question. She discreetly stepped away (the other girl had literally been pushing me out of the way and declaring that SHE had to be the one to help Shan — that it was HER job to zip her up, not mine), and we went about getting her into this last gown.

The gown didn’t look all that hot on the rack, but as I zipped up the gown, I thought, “Hmm, not bad.” It has a beaded neckline, is sleeveless and is cut out in the back. It’s altogether gorgeous. It has beading peppered throughout it, with more at the top and fewer as the dress gets longer. It was the perfect length for her (she’s 5 foot 10 or 11, and the dresses are always made for tall people because short shits like me always pay dearly for the hemming). It’s slit up the front of one leg, to the knee, and the waistline goes in a little bit.

I noticed that, these days, she is all baby. She has lost a good deal of weight with the pregnancy, and it has all gone to where the little one is. Her shoulders seem smaller, her waist more defined, and I was thrilled that the gown showed off her shape instead of burying it.

The problem with a lot of the dresses is that they really are so poufy that you tend to look bigger than you are. This dress was a straight one, which was what she wanted from the beginning, but salesgirls kept trying to talk her out of that. And that’s why she’s been unhappy with every dress she’s tried on — she wanted something, anything that represented her personal style instead of making her look like a wedding cake.

The salesgirl and I led her out to where all the big three-way mirrors are located, and I put on the train. The train is fabulous — it is long and sheer and attaches to the back of the beaded neckline piece. She is getting married in Hawaii on July 7, and the dress and train just screamed “Beach Wedding.”

To help me to do all the stuff with the back of the neck piece, she piled her hair on top of her head and held it there. I think we simultaneously gasped at how perfect her hair looked with that perfect gown.

The fabulous salesgirl quietly slipped away and came back with a veil … in the same diamond shade as the gown. We hadn’t been thinking about veils because her hair looked better down with the other dresses. The girl put her hair in a ponytail and attached the veil under the ponytail (it’s a comb-type thing — the veil isn’t meant to cover the face). I was holding back tears at that point … she was gorgeous.

She hadn’t wanted a strapless or sleveless dress, and I casually mentioned that the veil draped over her shoulders beautifully. When I said that, the look that crossed her face was the most precious and priceless expression I’ve ever seen — she realized that she was, in fact, in her wedding gown and veil.

She isn’t the least bit egotistical, but to hear her say, “Oh my god. I look classy,” sent both of our hearts soaring into the stratosphere.

To boot, the dress was on sale, and the only thing left to do was to see about altering the neckline — she doesn’t really like choker-type necklaces or necklines (as she had a neck injury in a car accident a few years ago), and she was feeling kind of claustrophobic. So our salesgirl talked with us about alterations, but seeing as though we kind of needed them ASAP, she called a friend of hers in the area who does alterations in her home. So we had a quick dinner and went to the friend’s house. And for a mere $25, she will do the alterations tomorrow, for pickup on Wednesday. The bridal shop was going to ream her for $75 for the labor and for the rush. We *~*heart*~* that salesgirl!!!

I cannot WAIT to get photos of her in the dress. While I am sad that I will not be with them in Hawaii to witness the nuptials, I volunteered to take photos of them when they come back home. Shan originally wanted to get married in D.C. and had a number of picturesque locations where she wanted to be photographed. So I suggested that as soon as possible after the wedding (seeing that the little one is going to be getting a lot bigger really soon!), we go to all of her favorite places and get photos of them in front of the cherry blossoms and other places they love. She actually wants to pay me for this, but I told her that it is my pleasure and honor to capture these memories for them.

At any rate, she promised time and again that, when it’s my turn, she will be there as much as I’ve been for her. I told her that, while I loved the dresses and the experience of being there with her, well, I’m not sure this is all for me. (It could be because all the men I’ve ever loved usually either broke my hearts to go after men or other women!). But I can see myself having both the dress and the party of a lifetime, so here’s to hoping that someday, I will be as happy as my dear friend is tonight. 🙂

Comments closed.