4th on the 4th: Highs and Lows of Wedding Dress Shopping

I would never go so far as to call myself a fashionista, but I’d like to think I do dress with a certain amount of decent style. Most women can relate the various reasons as to why this can be an especially difficult challenge. For me, it’s my larger size 12 frame complete with smallish, differently sized boobs and a rear end my mother once described as “like J-Lo’s… if I was skinnier.” Point is, clothes shopping is usually an exercise in me carting 50 things off the sales racks and into the dressing room, only to come up with maybe 5 things I actually think look good on me.

When it came to wedding dress shopping, I expected a similar experience with the added fun of arguments with my mom over what would be the “perfect dress.” While mom and I for the most part share a similar sense of style, we have engaged in enough battles over my wardrobe choices over the years, that I expected nothing short of ‘Nam-like battles to rage over the tiniest details of what is supposedly the most critical fashion decision a woman ever makes. Add to all this the long engagement factor (to be explained in a later post), I was expecting the most epic of shopping experiences to unfold as I set forth on the path of dress shopping.

So, when I stepped into David’s bridal this Fourth of July afternoon, I really had no intention of finding anything I liked, less than actually purchasing my dress. In fact, I was driven there by two reasons (neither of which were intent to buy a dress): 1) because, while I was in town, my mom was pushing me toward trying to do as many wedding things as possible and, to her chagrin, I was not feeling ready to go meet with florists, and 2) this big chain store was one of few bridal shops open on a holiday (unlike the several boutique shops in the area I had researched and was excited to one day visit).

As you can surmise by the title of this post, to my surprise, I did find my dress. The fourth bridal gown I tired on on the Fourth of July. After tweeting this to David’s bridal, they tweeted back that this must be a sign of luck. Hey, I’ll take any luck I can get these days!

I’ve decided to commemorate my experience in the ode below (bonus points to readers who know what I modeled this after). Enjoy!

C at the Bridal Shop

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for America’s holiday,
No plans to look forward to, on the couch I desired to lay.
And then when mom at first, “to the florist” did proclaim.
I thought a visit to a dress shop would instead keep her tame.

A straggling few shops were open, as we might have guessed
Mostly chain stores, and, while unsurprising, I was a bit depressed
I thought, “if only there was more open for us to shop at
But not like we’d put up money now, we’re just going to look and chat.”

So somewhat begrudgingly, two appointments I did make
And let my grandma know my plans, I thought she’d want to partake
So outward we went, and in my parent’s car we sat
To first make a stop at a department store for undies to hold in my fat.

In the lingerie section, oh the wonderment of it all
I found something that would flatten my abdominal wall
It took three department stores before I saw what I preferred
The lack of good shapeware, we thought, was totally absurd.

After paying more than I would have liked for my new body shell
We drove through the valley, I was certain to another hell
We arrived to David’s Bridal in 10 minutes flat
And together we were advancing to the store’s welcome mat

There was an ease in my mom’s manner as she stepped into the place
Surrounded by dresses with beading, with rhinestones, with lace
And I’ll admit I was bracing myself for an afternoon of spats
As my mom and I sometimes bicker like a pair of spoiled brats.

While I was glad to have her there, we could sometimes be quite curt
when it came to decisions about fashion, be it dress or pants or skirt.
Finally, time for my appointment, three dresses in my grip;
clerk by my side, into the dressing room I did slip.

And over my head, the first dress came hurling through the air;
out of the dressing room I stood to in my grandeur stare.
But rather, I stepped out, my mom with a look of dread,
this was certainly not the dress in which I would wed

While my favorite of the picks, on me it was nothing short of poor
Rather than bride, I looked more like a decked out petit four
“Next one,” my mom said as I stood up on the stand
Surely the next one would have to be more grande

I tried on two more dresses, each lovely on their own
But they made me look like a dumpy girl, instead of beautiful and full gown
My mom signaled to the stylist, about a dress that had caught her view
With ruched bodice and a waistline that was slightly askew.

The stylist went to grab it from off its handing rod
Meanwhile, I thought the pick was really somewhat odd.
Nothing I would have thought to pick, it really was rather plain
But my mom thought the ruching might be good for my frame

The smile was gone from my lip, was thinking I needed to lose weight
As the stylist climbed under the skirt to make sure it was pulled straight
And then I left the dressing room, and with a thought of “whoa”
The dress really looked good, my mom’s face began to glow

Somewhere from the store, I was brought tiara and belt to shine bright
And really everything just started to feel right
And for the three generations there, we were ready to shout
There was only joy in the bridal shop, I had found my dress no doubt!

Comparing Apples to Broccoli.

I’m fortunate enough to at least have gotten so far as to have booked my venue. Though, as a recently married friend one described to me, I am definitely in the phase of being happy with my venue, yet finding things to question about it. “Maybe I should have chosen option K… or held out for the option I had yet to find….” This is especially true now that I am foraying into the land of the photographer search where I find myself drifting into thoughts of “Ooo, where did that couple get married? That place looks cool!” as I scan through page after page of photos of oh so perfect looking weddings.

I digress..

I’m sure I’ll post more related to photographers later, but for now sticking to sharing some lessons from the venue search. While I was well warned about all the potential variations between venues and need to ask about EVERYTHING that should and could be included, I was still surprised about where my definitions of “should” and “could” seemed very out-of-line with the thinking of the venue.  Not to mention the hidden costs I might have been charged with had I not done my research into a venue.

I had obvious opinions of which I preferred just by looks and general characteristics, but let’s all be honest for the majority of folks it ultimately comes down to cost. And for me trying to compare packages was not even comparing apples to oranges, but more like comparing apples to broccoli. So I developed a spreadsheet to help me to a cross comparison of my venue options including costs and all the features they offered. It was a handy tool for me to keep my quotes organized and to help me get a true sense of costs (you’ll see in the bottom, I’ve also included tip calculators based on venue costs).

I’m no longer in need of this, but thought others out in wedding planning land might find it handy. So please, use it, modify it, share suggestions on what to do with it! And please, shoot me a message if you have any questions or suggestions on how to improve it for any others that come along!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Y7EDq0HIArx_2VoCc1w_o6qRUXidYa3oBOMNjkg0N2w/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons as a wedding guest

A nod to A Practical Wedding and Elizabeth Clayton for this blog post on how to have a fun wedding.Ms. Clayton boils down her advice to these tips:

  1. Make sure people know what to expect.
  2. Feed people. Feed them on time.
  3. Get people emotionally invested

While it this may all seem pretty obvious, most weddings I’ve been to recently have violated at least one of these tips, and in each case it definitely was a bit… irksome to me as a guest.

I’ll leave it to you to read the original blog for the full set of advice on each (I highly recommend), but adding my two cents to each:

  1. With wedding websites so easy to make, this really shouldn’t be that hard. Remember, just because most venues are Google-able doesn’t mean your guests are going to be able to figure out the ins and outs of the place like you will know. I, for one, particularly appreciate recommendations on appropriate footwear for a venue. Lord knows I ruin enough of my heels through my uncanny ability to find every crack and grate in the sidewalks I navigate each day. If you can spare me one more pair by recommending that flats may be a good option because by rustic wedding, you truly mean rustic, my heels and I appreciate being spared the mud and dirt.
  2. I learned this is especially important when you have a buffet, as it’s easy to identify the first few tables to head on down, but after that people get so caught up in chatter or, ya know, become mildly delusional with hunger that they forget to pay attention to when their table is called…if, their table gets called. PLEASE make sure your MC does remember to call ALL the tables. (Yes, experience has told me that apparently I do need to remind people of this). Also make sure that there is some clarity that guests should refrain from going to get seconds until all the tables have been called, lest you run out of food from people getting seconds before some have even gotten the opportunity to eat.
  3. Unless you’re planning a fairly small and intimate event, it’s likely you have multiple people from multiple circles of your life present at the wedding: family you actually talk you, family you really don’t but invited because they are family, college friends, work friends, friends you knew since you were five, friends you didn’t start bonding with until last year and their significant others they live with but you barely know…. Point being, it’s easy to get caught up in the now and what make you happy now and that you want to have fun NOW, but there is probably a long journey that brought you as a person and the two of you as a couple to where you are today, and the people in the room with you represent those various touch points. Try and find ways to honor your entire journey and thus the whole of people in the room. This can be as simple as having your receiving line or going around from table to table during your reception to try and make sure you “touch” everyone, somehow acknowledge their presence and thank them for being a part of what brought you to where you are today.

 

 

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Hello all and welcome to my blog. I thought this would be a good way to track some musings, gather links of good ideas, and maybe vent a little bit as I join the ranks of the over 2 million couples that get married in the U.S. each year. (A bit humbling isn’t it? As much as a wedding is “your special day,” you’re really not that special)

My fiancé and I have been engaged for over two years now, so wedding planning has been somewhere on my radar for a while. Unfortunately, we fall into the bucket of many 20 something’s these days of more student loan debt than can totally be supported by the insufficient number of jobs out there for what all the debt bought us. So, it has taken us until now to get to the point of feeling… let’s say, OK enough about actually pulling this off financially.

Anyway, yesterday marked the official one year countdown until our wedding . I’ll see where the next year takes me and hopefully my ramblings offer you some good tips, or at least knowledge that someone out there sympathizes with you and the terror excitement that is wedding planning.