Now, The Dress has been a fairly big concern of mine for the past, say, 9 months. A week after Tyler proposed, I was already looking at dresses, as my best friend was in town and I wanted to share that experience with her.
It was a nightmare; a complete disaster. I think I had this glorified idea of what shopping for The Dress would be like. I had dreams of lace and tulle, satin and champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries and my body magically transforming into a size 2.
It wasn't really like that... the first place I went was putting me in dresses that were literally plus sizes. I may be chubby, but I am NOT a plus size. Once the dress was on (and falling off), they would take these massive metal clothes pins and literally tie me into it.
The dresses had yards and yards of material ruched around the middle, and it was not a pretty site. I grew more and more discouraged after each one, until finally I gave up, defeated and feeling pretty bad about myself.
That night, I asked Tyler if he wanted to elope. I was hoping that eloping might help me to avoid the whole dress issue.
So the search continued, although I waited another several months before even venturing into another shop. I received some great advice from my wise geisha friend Jennie, who told me that I should look for dresses that were similar to those that I had in my closet - styles that I know already looked good on me. That helped me to narrow my field of choices down a little further, and finally, while in California, I went shopping for a 4th time, but this time with my mom. And I found The Dress. Actually finding The Dress was a great feeling - it almost made the whole process worthwhile.
However... when I found The Dress, I was at the peak of my chubbiness, being on the tail end of a long vacation filled with eating, eating, and not exercising. I was about 10 pounds heavier than I am now, and I knew that I would lose some of the weight before the wedding.
So I was concerned when I was advised to order a dress that was 4 sizes larger than the one that I was trying on, which was only a little teeny bit too small. The kind ladies at The Dress shop informed me that The Dress that I was wearing was very stretched out, and that I should definitely go 4 sizes larger.
I went 3 sizes larger, and had a feeling I would regret it. I also knew that The Dress would be way too long, and so I inquired about having it made shorter - which was an added charge of $50. I was advised to not do that until I knew what shoes I was wearing, which of course I didn't know or have with me.
So I obliged and ordered The Dress as it was, figuring that I would get it altered later if I needed to.
The Dress arrived a few weeks ago, and I tried it on once for about 5 minutes, during which I became very hot and sweaty, and had a severe amount of back fat hanging out. Yet it was also sort of too big in other spots. 'How can this be', I thought. 'It's too big yet too small at the same time!'
I put The Dress away and decided to take it to some professionals to get their opinion.
So yesterday I took The Dress to a bridal shop, which I knew would cost more than a general alterations shop, but I also thought that they might do a better job. (Plus, I really like those big mirrors and the platforms that you get to stand on and twirl around.) And the seamstress was a miracle worker! She fixed the back fat problem (it was only a matter of how we were putting it on, and I can't say more for giving away details of The Dress!), and gave me (gulp) quotes for hemming and the other minor alterations that I needed. It was a lot, (a LOT. About a third of the price of the dress.) but I felt confident in her and decided to go for it. I also knew that I didn't have a whole lot more time to play around with, with the wedding being in 3 weeks. I left my dress and a deposit in her capable hands, with an appointment in another two weeks to 'visit' The Dress and see how it fits.
I guess The Dress is sort of like a puppy that you're adopting. You can go and visit it and even play with it (ie, try it on and twirl around), but you can't take it home until it's had all it's shots (ie stiches).
I've learned much through this process, and I feel that now I have some wisdom to share to any future brides out there. Buy your shoes first, don't buy your dress out of town, and don't buy your dress after you've been stuffing your face for 2 weeks. Ask in advance how much alterations will cost, and factor that into your budget. Or, better yet, try on dresses to find a style that you like, then search for a used on online! Tada, you just knocked off at least half the price of The Dress.
They do say that wisdom comes in retrospect..... I just never knew it would have such a hefty price tag.