Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Like to Eat Cupcakes... Not Look Like Them

Nope, this post isn't about cupcakes, or even baking (sorry). It's my second post about my, scratch that, mine and Bobby's upcoming wedding. Since I previously mentioned here that I was recently on vacation and while on that vacation I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, I thought it might be nice to share my tales on wedding dress shopping. And, if you don't think it's so nice, I promise there are many more cupcake adventures that will be coming your way. But right now, it's all about the dress.

Before we got to Florida my mom had arranged 3 appointments at bridal shops that I had chosen from a list she had sent me of shops in the area. Two in Jacksonville and one in St. Augustine where my parents now live in their (my) beach house. I hadn't tried on any wedding dresses before my appointments... except one. This one.
This is my mom's wedding dress from 1978. I know it's hard to believe since it looks so contemporary. My mom had told me I could have her dress if I wanted and asked if I'd like to try it on. I knew I wasn't going to get married in my mom's dress (sorry mom) but I was curious if it would actually fit. My mom is a small woman. I've probably got at least 3 inches on her and more than a couple pounds. She's a petite little thing whereas I am less petite and have a more athletic build. I truly didn't think the dress would zip up... but it did! Of course while I was basking in my glory and the fact that I fit in my mom's dress, she so nicely said that when she got married it was "hanging" off of her. Thanks mom.

But, I digress. I didn't really know what to expect with this whole experience, but I did do some research the day before by watching several episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" and taking copious notes (not really) while my dad, brother and fiance made fun of me. Typical. In reality my preparation included looking online and printing out pictures of what I was thinking of, deciding how much I wanted to spend, and making sure I was wearing cute underwear since I would be running around in it for most of the day.

Before we proceed I want to make it clear that you're not going to see the dress that I ended up choosing. That little secret is saved for myself, my mom and Diana, the woman who helped me try on all the dresses at the store where I purchased mine and also got to see me run around in my underwear all day. She was a lovely woman. I've decided not to show anyone my dress because I want it to be a surprise for the wedding and I don't want anyone else's opinion about it. Everyone only has to wait about 11 more months. If I can handle the wait I think everyone else can too.

On to Shop 1 and the first dress I tried on. I covered my face, not because I don't want you to see what I look like, because you can see my face in other posts, or if you look to the right, but because the faces I'm making in most of these pictures is not cute. These pictures are about the dresses, not me.
This was the style of dress I thought I wanted because I really liked the back. While a woman who was sitting in the store waiting for a friend told me she was going to cry when I walked out really liked it, I wasn't completely sold. It was more coverage than I wanted (I didn't want my shoulders to be covered). But, as I was told countless times by every woman who helped me try on dresses, almost anything could be changed.

Now for the monster dress as I so affectionately called it.
This is the style of dress I never in a million years thought I would want. It was strapless (strike 1), it was huge (strike 2) and I don't have a strike 3 because I really liked it. I loved how it fit me and was surprised that it was so flattering on me. I'm really not a fan of strapless dresses for myself. I just don't like the potential for armpit-area chub. It's not cute and on my wedding day I want to look way better than cute. I did try on several other dresses from this shop but had I decided on a dress from this shop, this would have been the one. There would have been some major chopping off of the train, because it was just way too much dress for me, but I really did like it.

Shop number 2! This was the first dress I tried on at our second stop and I thought this might be the winner.
It had straps like I wanted and it was a v-neck which I think is flattering on me. I liked the back, and it had just enough sparkle but not so much that I would look like a disco ball. This dress was the frontrunner until I found Maggie. Her name isn't actually Maggie, it's something different that I'm not going to tell you, but we'll call her Maggie since she is a Maggie Sottero dress. And that is all the designer information you will be getting. I was pretty much sold on her as soon as I put her on. She was perfect. There wasn't a think I wanted to change. But, just because you think you've found the perfect dress doesn't mean you stop trying them on! You never know what you could be missing, so you might as well try on a couple more just to be sure, so... I carried on.

Of course, even though I didn't like the dress with the keyhole back that I had tried on at the first shop I wanted to try on another one of the same style to see how I would like it and I came across the same issue.
Please don't mind my bra strap. Minus my bra strap I LOVED the back of this dress, it was exactly what I had wanted, but again, the front was more coverage than I wanted. I struggled between this dress and Maggie but in the end I decided that this dress would need a good amount of alterations to really change the front of it to make it what I wanted. And, after the alterations I still might not have what I wanted and I would have already spent so much money on it. Unfortunately I'm not able to buy 5 dresses like some brides (yes, that actually happens, Diana my bridal dress helper told me so) so I wanted to make sure the dress I ended up getting wouldn't need to be severely overhauled in order for me to be 100 percent happy with it.

Although I was fairly certain that Maggie was my dress, we did have one more appointment left and I wanted to go just in case this shop had something I liked better. Leave no stone unturned, leave no dress untried. Plus, it was a lot of fun playing dress up for the day.

Shop number 3 didn't have many options and I truthfully didn't think I would even find any that I wanted to try on. I didn't want to be rude since the owner had come in especially for us. So, I grabbed a couple dresses that I thought might have potential and were different from one I had previously tried on and headed to the dressing room. This was the last dress I tried on.
Had I not settled on Maggie this one would have probably been one I seriously considered purchasing. I thought it was very flattering on me, I just wasn't sure about the straps. They were a little too thick. I also wasn't sold on the bug, yes bug, that seemed to come with it. Notice the small black dot inside the blue circle. That's a bug in between the layers of fabric of the dress. How that got in there, I couldn't tell you. Had I noticed it before the dress was on my body I would have seriously considered not putting it on (I'm not a complete whimp). But, it wasn't until I was out of the dressing room and getting clipped into the dress that the shop owner said, "Oh my God, that's a bug." Yes, yes it was. Best of all... it was still alive. Call me crazy, but there are just some things that shouldn't be in wedding dresses. I'm going to be so bold as to say that live bugs are one of those things.

After our last appointment I was 99% sure that Maggie was my dress and she was just waiting for me to come get her. To make sure I was 100% sure I looked at the pictures my mom had taken over and over and slept on it. When I woke up in the morning I was still super excited about Maggie so I called the shop and asked if I could come pick her up the next morning. Normally you would order your dress and pick it up after the weeks or months it would take for it to arrive. But Maggie is a discontinued design meaning she couldn't be ordered and she was the only one like her in the store so I had to take her with me. It's like she was meant to be my dress.