Michelle and I went wedding dress shopping on Wednesday. It is very, very helpful to have a soon-to-be-stepdaughter who loves all things "wedding," including all the shopping and planning involved. Especially when you are a bride-to-be who really isn't a big shopper. It was kind of like having my own wedding planner and personal shopper all rolled into one.
Before the day had even begun, Michelle had mapped out exactly which stores we'd go to and when, based on their opening hours and locations. The first one on our itinerary was supposed to open at 9:30, so I was supposed to pick her up at 9:00. I picked her up at 9:30 (ahem), and we went for coffee and oatmeal at Starbucks, and then got to the first store at about 10:00...to find out they weren't opening until 11:00. Hmmmmm...for a hesitant shopper, this was not a good sign. However, Michelle quickly readjusted, and we went to the second shop on the list which was supposed to open at 10:00, and it was conveniently right across the street.
When we got there, the sign said "closed," and there was yellow hazard tape across it. There were two workmen inspecting the glass in the door, which was completely shattered, though hadn't fallen from the door frame. After quieting our "Can you believe it?" laughter, Michelle and I approached them to ask if the store was going to open, and the owner, just inside, spotted us, and let us in. She showed us a very large, almost perfectly round rock (small boulder, really) that she had found in the parking lot when she arrived that morning. Someone had apparently used it to try to break the glass in the door, but thankfully, was unsuccessful. But other than warning us to keep our shoes on, as she wasn't sure she'd succeeded at removing all the glass on the floor, she invited us to look around. It was a small, private shop that she'd actually begun in her basement years ago, and she had beautiful dresses. Because the shop was so small, though, there was only a small selection of sizes, so the few that I tried on didn't really dazzle me. I would have loved to work with the owner, as she was exceptionally down-to-earth and nice, but we likely would have had to have her order some dresses for me to try, and I wanted to look other places before doing that.
By this time, the first shop had opened, so we went over there. It was "David's Bridal," so it was HUGE, and there were many, many dresses, in many, many sizes. Thank goodness for Michelle, as I would have been completely overwhelmed without her. We filled out paperwork for an appointment, and looked around at the vast displays of dresses while we waited for our sales associate. Having explored for awhile at the first shop, I was better able to describe some of the characteristics I was looking for when the associate did find us, and she began showing us dresses. She could bring three at a time to the dressing room, and we fairly quickly got into a routine of Michelle helping me into one; my prancing about in front of zillions of mirrors; Michelle taking photos of each so we could rank them and remember them; and trying again.
This is what I saw each time Michelle helped me into a dress:
And this is what Michelle saw:
I had been fairly nervous the night before and morning of, as I was worried that nothing would "fit" me. I was fairly certain I could find something in my size -- and I realize there are alterations -- but I was worried that I wouldn't feel like I was ME in any wedding dresses. I realize many women can remember fantasizing about their perfect wedding, including the wedding dress, as little girls, but I must be missing that gene...I don't ever remember dreaming about a certain type of wedding or dress. I've always loved going to the weddings of others, and have admired what I've seen...but just never thought much about it for me.
So, I was pleasantly surprised that wedding dress shopping was FUN. Of course, Michelle really helped make it that way, and for that -- and for her! -- I am very thankful.
And I found my wedding dress. At that second store. I really did. When I announced that "This is the one!," all of the sales staff stopped helping other customers, and gathered around. They handed me a bell, and directed me to close my eyes and make a wish. Then I was supposed to ring the bell, and for each ring, Bob and I would have 10 years of good luck. Superstitious, silly, and lovely, all at once. Michelle quickly got out her phone, switched it to video, and captured the entire process...my befuddlement as to what to wish for, as I already have everything I could want; my finally deciding, wishing, and then ringing, first awkwardly and then with elated vigor; and my embarrassment and giddy gratefulness at the wild applause that ensued.
Of course, I can't show you the video...or pictures of me in THE dress. Initially, that night, I was so excited that I'd actually found and bought my wedding dress that I planned on doing a blog entry with all the pictures of me in the OTHER dresses...the ones that didn't win. I also planned on showing those to Bob. But bless his loving, romantic heart, he refused to look at them, as he wants to be COMPLETELY surprised the day of our wedding, having never seen me in ANY wedding dress. And he only wants to see me in the one I picked.
I love the dress. And I told Michelle that what I really hope is that seeing me in it brings warm, loving tears to Bob's eyes.
I do imagine the way he might look at me that day, as I walk to him, wearing it.
Now, that's something to dream about.