Well... it was bound to happen. I was going to go dress shopping at some point sooner than later... but I never thought I'd find THE dress the first time out shopping.
I know that many people say, "Oh the first dress you try on... that's IT."
That was not so in my case.
I thought I would spend a week or two going to the gym religiously before heading up north to the Bay area so that my mom and I could go dress shopping after a 4-day dog show cluster. Well, my parents got to finally take a vacation and went to Florida... and then my niece and nephew have their birthday on March 19th so Grandmommy wanted to fly to go see them... and then I decided to go to Tucson instead of Vallejo for a dog show... and the sale at David's Bridal was gonna end before my mom could get down here... SOOOOO....
My mom told me that as much as she wanted to be with me when trying on dresses and possibly finding THE dress, she wanted me to actually go shopping and possibly find THE dress... because we were in that critical "get the dress while you have time for alterations and changes" time frame. I've been told 6 months is the critical date and well... as a project manager/producer person? That's a critical date I don't want to have to get to!
So on Tuesday, March 9th I called my friend Annika and asked if she could go with me... and since I wasn't going to have to wait for my mom's schedule to work with my schedule, I decided that going to the gym for two weeks and THEN shopping wasn't necessary because I'll be going to the gym LOTS between now and October 10th.
Annika didn't answer. I left a voicemail at home and on her cell phone. Annika has an adorable 9 month old baby so she's kinda busy most of the time. :-)
Wednesday came around. I was starting to get that "wedding dress shopping" focus and couldn't shake the obsession of going shopping and figuring out what kind of dress I might want and finally trying something on. I called Annika again. And got her voicemail. Again. *sigh* Her baby really is cute.
But I wanted to go shopping on Thursday, March 11th.
So I called my friend Jen and asked if she could go with me and Thursday was the day. She would take a slightly long lunch and meet me at David's Bridal in Torrance at noon. WHOO HOO!!! I was going wedding dress shopping!
And the morning of March 11th, Annika called! She would love to go - it would be an honor for her - and she'd have to bring her baby. Hooray! Annika and Evan the Baby and Jen helping me with wedding dress shopping!!! This was gonna be fun.
Annika picked me up at 11:30am and the three of us (because Evan was in the baby seat, ya know) drove down to Torrance. She knew right where it was because it's next to a Babies R Us. How convenient for our day of fun!
David's Bridal only had one consultant that morning and she was already assisting another bride. (That sounded weird to me... bride. Hmmm... oh wait... that's me, too.) So we looked at the appointment book (how was I to know I should have made an appointment?) and 2:30 was our time slot. That would be problematic for Jen since that would be way past her lunch hour. Fortunately for her, she had been stuck in a meeting so I texted to let her know not to come.
Annika and I decided to stroll through Babies R Us so she could look at a few things and then we went to TGI Friday's for lunch. I didn't eat TOO much because I was going to be putting myself in many gowns and didn't want to look like a pooch belly, but we ate and it was yummy and we went back to David's Bridal.
The consultants (we had more than one in the store now) were busy so I glanced through bridesmaid dresses and found a style I thought would look gorgeous on Katina my Maid of Honor and I kept going toward dresses that were a deep rich red apple color. I took a snapshot of the dress hanging up and then texted her the style so she could give her two cents and then we noticed a woman scanning our area looking like I might be her next assignment.
Oksana came over and introduced herself and asked me some questions about when I was getting married, where, what time of day, indoor/outdoor and did I have any dress preferences. I pulled out a printout of "My Favorites" and told her that these had caught my eye while I was doing some web surfing, but my mind was open and I trusted her judgement on what might look good on me. Some dresses she said might not be available because they were being discontinued, but she felt that she had a decent place to start for me so that I could start to figure out what I liked and didn't like.
She escorted me to a dressing room, handed me a corset, a slip, and told me to go pick out a pair of shoes that would be about the height I would be wearing on my wedding day... and I did... and I went into the dressing room and started sausaging myself. GEEZ those items really suck ya in!
Oksana showed up with two dresses... one in ivory and one in white. Apparently they were both on my list. The first dress in ivory was pretty. Simple. And if I were cast in something that was set in the 1920's or '30's... I could see myself in that dress. But not in ivory. It wasn't doing much for me. NEXT!
The next dress was white and had rouching on the side. I had NO idea what the heck ROUCHING was until I started trying on these dresses. I don't watch Project Runway (well... I did watch part of the first season because a co-worker was on the show) so this rouching term was new to me. I called it "gathered". That's the wrong term, folks. It's rouching. I got it now. ROUCHING. And the rouching looked pretty and fit my hourglass figure well. But the dress was plain and too simple. Time to try on something else... in white.
Oksana came back with another dress... one of the least favorites on my list, but it was there because it had sleeves. The dress didn't look right. There was something about it... it just didn't look right. Annika couldn't put her finger on it either. As Annika and I stood there pondering, Oksana came back with a few more dresses and looked at us and at me in the dress. She said, "This dress? No. And it's not you. It's the dress. Trust me. It doesn't look good on anybody... not even the mannequin."
You gotta hand it to her... she was bringing over dresses I thought I liked based on pictures but she knew that I needed to try some things on to get a better idea of what I wanted in a wedding dress. I'd never done this before and it's different for every bride - I've been shopping with a few friends in my time... and it really is a personal experience.
Up until this time I had said NO STRAPLESS DRESSES! I don't like them nor do I like the way they fit my body. I don't have a lot to hold 'em up in front and my rear does it's own job filling 'em out but I think I look imbalanced in some of those styles... so I had just said no no no to strapless dresses. Oksana then said, "You know... we can add sleeves to any strapless dress." Oh? Really? Hmmm... that just opened up the market!
There was a pretty dress on a mannequin in the front... why don't we try that one on. And it shot to the to of the list. Yes, it was in ivory, but it was available in white so I was able to look past it. It had beading... cup sleeves... a light and soft appearing skirt. It was pretty. It wasn't THE dress... but we were getting closer. Something with more beading, please.
She brought out two more dresses. One was NOT right. Silver beading... too vintage looking for my tastes... and it was a pretty quick "Nope" on that one. Then the 6th dress. White. Rouching. Beads. And the kind of a dress that I walked out of the dressing room and said, "Wow... this is a pretty dress."
It felt more like what I was thinking... but it still wasn't THE dress... but it was a REALLY nice dress.
And then it was time to try on dress #7. Unfortunately for you readers, I'm not sharing as much detail on these dresses because my fiance reads these and THE dress is going to be a big surprise for him on our wedding day (205 days to go, by the way). He knows I have a dress... he knows it's white... and he knows it's not going to be strapless. So do you. Because you just read it. And you've been reading. Oh well... back to dress #7.
Dress #7 wasn't in my size... it was a size bigger... but Oksana thought I should try this one on. It was along the same lines as dress #4 and dress #6. She helped me into the gown (I always aimed for her arm and felt like I was diving every time I tried on a dress) and used hanger clips to pin the back to tighten it up. And I opened the door and walked out... and as I saw myself emerge from the dressing room... I knew this was THE dress. It looked stunning. It made me look tiny. It made me look like a princess. It made me look like a bride... and not a bride in a movie that was marrying some character... it looked like ME. But I wasn't going to make an emotional decision. Not me. Oh no. I was going to be practical! Even though Annika looked up at me and said, "Oh Pilar... I think this is the one." I said, "I do too."
So we had narrowed down this search to Dress #6 and Dress #7. I decided it was time to complete these pictures and make the decision. I mean... what if Dress #7 looked like crap after a veil was added on? It could happen.
I put on a petticoat that filled out the dresses a touch more and Oksana did the entire veil presentation... long veil... elbow veil... blusher veil... comb... tiara... head band.... egads.
I put my hair up and when the veils were put on my head and I was in Dress #6... I just stared in the mirrors. I was getting married and this moment was not about the guests... the food... the flowers... the music.... it was about me. And I'm not comfortable with things being all about me. Just read my posts on Facebook sometime... how many of them are about me vs. my dogs?
So now it was time to slip back into Dress #7.
And this time... with my hair up... the petticoat underneath... and the veils... I knew. Well, actually... I started to tear up and get all emotional and junk. Annika did, too, and it hit me that this was THE dress. This is THE dress I'm wearing on October 10th as I walk down the aisle on my Aunt Barb's farm to marry the most wonderful man who loves me for me and asked me to marry him and share lives and have a family and care for one another and support one another. This is THE dress that little girls dream of wearing some day and hope and pray to find a man that is worthy of her love and devotion. This is THE dress that my father will see me in as he escorts me down the aisle and kisses me and hands me over to Rod in his approval of this man taking his only daughter as his wife.
Thankfully, October 10th will not just be "all about me", but it will be all about me and Rod and our commitment to one another and the start of our lives as man and wife. And I'll be wearing THE dress that's perfect for me.
And I'll be wearing it again the next day for pictures around the farm... and on December 3rd at our Los Angeles reception... and then that might be it.
Y'all will have to wait until October 10th to see THE dress. Just like Rod.