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01 February 2015 @ 05:53 pm
Wedding goodness - finding the dress!  
So, finding the dress was itself a sort of funny story (partially provided here). I had let it slip to my mom that I had been going to a few wedding dress shops, despite my intent to order one from a bespoke Victorian tailor (because if I am going to spend that sort of money on a dress, I want to wear it again!), and she was super disappointed that she wasn't going to get to go dress shopping with me. Well, I had planned onthe shopping mostly being seeing what looked good on me to inform my ordering requests, not to actually buy a dress, but it is good to keep the mommy happy, so I looked for ways to include her in the process. Unfortunately, it takes *forever* to get a wedding dress in and, even looking in May for a November wedding, several shops were saying it would have to be a rush order. After some quick schedule-checking, it became clear that the only weekend that would work for both of us would be to piggy-back on my mom's trip to Milwaukee for an appointment that coincided with the weekend we were moving a bunch of Greg's things from Cary to Sun Prairie to make the house nicer to stage. It was not ideal, but we decided to just make it work, somehow.

In the mean time, I did some shopping with one of my girlfriends - she isn't getting married until next year, but wanted to get a jump on the process. We were looking for very different thibgs - she wanted something ballerina-esque and I was looking for something more Downton Abbey, so at least we were not competing for the same dresses. The first two stops went pretty easily - the first store was small and didn't have much in the way of non-strapless gowns, so my options were limited. S was not super thrilled by the options, so we didn't spend too much time there and I don't even think we tried more than 3 dresses between us. The next location was a little more successful - this was a much bigger store with a lot larger selection. Here I tried on a whole bunch of options and even found three different dresses that all were really nice, but not quite "the one." S liked a few too, but also didn't pop on a winner. The last place we went apparently had not undertood the 2-for-1 bride thing and had only one consultant and one dressing room available, I think to try to persuadde us to make individual appointments later. However, we cheerfully agreed to just share a dressingroom and consultant, even though the room was cramped. We ended up having a great time and making each other and the consultant laugh all the way through. S actually found very nearly what she was looking for at this stop - it was super cheap on clearance and most of the alterations are simple things we can do together. No dress for me, yet, but I did find a gorgeous gown (think 20's movie star) that I intended to wear as the reception gown for dancing. :) so, all together, a win.

Finally, it was shopping-with-mom weekend... She went to her morning appointment in Milwaukee and I took the bus from Madison to the Milwaukee airport. She picked me up in the late morning and then it was ON. We hit one bridal store that had an interesting selection. Unfortunately, my favorite dress of all was on the clearance/discontinued rack and it had *just* been swiped by another girl moments before we came in. I was hoping she would put it back to "think about it" since her wedding wasn't for another year and a half, but she called her daddy to come buy it for her that day. *sigh* We tried on a bunch of things of the sort I thought I wanted with no real luck. I even humored my mom and tried on a tulle-covered, strapless, mermaid-style dress that she picked out... It was as much of a trainwreck as I had expected and even she started laughing and saying "take it off, take it off!" as soon as I came out of the dressing room. We really should have gotten a picture, it was that awful! Then we called around and got a second appointment at another shop on the south side of Milwaukee, near Racine, I think. That was really a bust - they didn't have that many options, none of the dresses seemed to be very quality pieces, and the sales lady was a little pushy. Discouraged, we drove down toward Chicago and spent the night at Greg's house in Cary where we helped pack and clean.

The following morning, we got up early, got the moving truck, and started packing like crazy. The three of us filled the moving van in short order (we were moving a lot of bulky, cluttery stuff, not a lot of little boxes), and then I quickly showered so I wouldn't be putting a sweaty-gross body into dresses. As soon as I was clean, we headed out - Greg driving the moving van, me driving Greg's car, and my mom following me. Greg drove right to Madison to unload with the help of a bunch of friends while my mom and I drove to a bridal outlet just south of Madison. This was actually a pretty nice experience - it was a discontinued dress outlet, so there wasn't a HUGE selection and some of the dresses needed a little work, but there were four rooms full of dresses at huge discounts and NO saleslady! The other advantage was that there would be no guessing about how the dress would fit - since it was cash-and-carry, there were no worries about guessing which size to order or whether the ordered dress would look the same as the one you tried on. It was also sort of nice to have my mom helping me in and out of all the dresses. We had a big, if dated-looking, dressing room and all the time we needed. We looked at a bunch of dresses of the sort I wanted and I picked out a few others in my size that I thought might work, even though they didn't meet the initial specs. Happily, one of the latter options worked. I didn't think I wanted a giant satin strapless monstrocity, but apparently, I was wrong. It looked like a dress out of a Victorian fashion magazine, with lots of beading. that thick metallic embroidery, and a long train that would need to be bustled up. Even at the clearance price, it was more expensive than I had hoped to spend, but I really loved it and my mom insisted on paying for it anyway. :) I did end up adding straps and completely re-doing the bustling, but overall, it was a great blend of my vision of a Victorian gown and a classic wedding gown. Pictures as soon as we get decent ones back from the photographer!

As soon as we had the dress purchased, my mom and I continued North - me to Madison to help Greg with the unloading and her home to Crivitz. Crazy weekend, but mission accomplished!
stitchwhich on February 2nd, 2015 01:30 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten about the stress of wedding dress shopping. (I ended up making my own.) I'm glad you found one that made you feel good in it. I'd love to see a picture of you wearing it!