Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Adventures in Gowning

Mom and I headed to Charlotte on Sunday and dress shopped til we nearly dropped yesterday evening. I have to say, this has not gotten easier. The problem with shopping for a wedding gown is that they're all gorgeous. It's not as if you put on dress after dress and think, 'Wow. What a hideous dress!' until you finally come across one that you think is beautiful and say, "Finally! A beautiful dress instead of all those horrendous ones! I knew there'd be ONE!" If only it WERE that easy. Instead, for two days straight, my mother and I woke up as early as possible, hit the very first bridal appointment possible and continued from one store to the next until the day was done. My brilliant Mom did think to keep a small portion of time between places to 1-find the next place and 2-grab some Starbucks. Below are a few of the dresses we tried that did not make the final cut:

This dress was from a place called New York Bridal Loft. I forget who designed it, but there were sort of a lot of things I didn't love about it: the straps were weird, the lace wasn't consistent or just what I was thinking of when I thought I'd like lace...and, overall, I just didn't love it. There were a few dresses we tried on at this place. While the location and setup were super cool, the dresses weren't as flattering as I'd hoped.
This dress, however, was made by Cymbeline. I saw it in a magazine soon after Fi and I got engaged and I immediately fell in love with it. This pic really doesn't do it justive. It has this incredible old-lace look to it with really carefully made patters. The train had some beading on it so it was a bit heavier at the bottom. The entire dress was lace over a silk slip with a thin satin sash at the empire waist, a sweetheart neckline...etc. This was my dream dress and while I adored the dress just as much in person as I did when I saw it in the magazine...and although I'm just as in love with it, if not more now, than I was wasn't my dress. I can't pull it off and I didn't love it on me. I know I could go on a serious diet from now until our wedding and I'd be able to pull it off, but that's really not what I want to do. I don't want the next six-seven months of my life to be about fitting into a dress and hoping it's going to look great...etc. I have other things to worry about and dozens of gorgeous dresses that won't require me to starve myself for months so I look fab. So while I adored it, I finally had to put the Cymbeline dress of perfection dream to rest. I am, however, thrilled I got to try it on, again, at the same NYBL location. It turned out, when Mom and I left the NYBL that what I loved most on me was their adorable changing robe with faux fur at the neckline and wrists...white and very sophisticated looking!

From there, we moved on to two more stores. J. Majors and Hayden Olivia. Both pretty wonderful, though Hayden Olivia had a swankier, posher feel to it. A big reason for that is most likely because Heather (the owner) took wonderful care of her sample dresses (she is the sole owner and pays for everything herself so I suppose she values her samples more). Every dress looked perfect, as if it'd just come off the runway. And in one case, I was the very first person to try on one of her samples as it had just come in that day!

The dress to my left was one Mom adored. While it was beautiful, it was super conservative and felt really mature for my age. I suppose this dress taught me that I wanted something a little more fun.

I did, however, find one of the two dresses I've narrowed it down to at Hayden Olivia which is located in uptown Charlotte down the street from where my brother and cousin live. The funny thing about Heather's store is that she's on the second floor and the first floor, right below her, is home to a male grooming store. Needless to say, when we were looking for Heather's store it was rather confusing.

<---- This is Heather's awesome store, named after her daughter, btw, and these are a handful of the spectacular dresses I tried on. I can't believe how amazing they all are! I found out that a few of the samples I tried were actually dresses celebrities wore for their weddings and I suddenly felt rocketed into the realms of superstardom. Weird, right? Somehow, I doubt I'll be wearing one of those dresses, but when else do you get to try on dresses worn by the rich and famous!?!

And this, of course, is a classic photo of mom and I trying to figure out one of the dresses. I can't remember if I was getting in or out, but I am pretty sure it was in. Obviously, it takes a lot of work to get into one of these suckers. I think this is one of many reasons why a person should only get married once.
Lastly, we went to J. Majors which also had a dress I loved. It is one of the dresses in contention. There is a third dark horse, as well, from the very first store we went into called Nitsas. I actually dragged my mother back to that store to retry the dress...and while I still love it and think it's gorgeous and even think it sort of looks good on me (that's a hard sentence for me to type or say aloud, folks!), I wonder if it's not Wedding Dress to Remember dress., that dress is beautiful! as opposed to the other two which were more like, "WOW! Now that's a dress and that bride looks amazing!"
I think another thing the trying on has taught me is this: I'm perfectly comfortable with what I look like, enough so as to not be interested in doing everything possible to fit into this one, specific dress that I saw in a magazine because I'm comfortable with me and I think my wedding dress should look amazing on me as I am and only look even more phenomenal when I get myself into better shape. I don't think it should be that the dress will only look fabulous if I work really really really hard to help it look that way on me. What a disappointment it'd be if, even then, I wasn't thrilled with it!
Also, it taught me that, all clothes look better when they're custom fitted :)
And that I've got more of an idea now as to what type of a bride I am (I had no idea how to answer that when people used to ask. I even took the quizzes and they were completely unhelpful!).
I have tons more pics and stories...etc...about our adventures and more to come since my sisters, mom and I are going to Savannah to check out a few dresses there on Friday, but I'm kind of sick since my niece and nephew and mom...and everyone, really, has a cold. I'm starting to get it and still have the Turkey Trot tomorrow morning with my brother! I've been taking Vitamin C and some weird thing that starts with a "Z" and hopes of staving off the cough, sore throat and congested head. So, now I can't think straight enough to tell you about anything else at the moment, dear friends, but I promise more updates and pics to follow in the days to come.
Tonight, I am thankful for the optimistic outlook I have managed to begin nourishing in myself thanks to Dustin. I was never very patient or optimistic, but Dustin has managed to teach me (through example) how useful and wonderful it is to be both of those things. Also, I'm thankful for my family coming together for this holiday. Lastly, I'm thankful for the family we have in India's safety.
If you're of the praying kind, please do so for the people of Mumbai/Bombay. A year ago at this exact time, my parents and I were about to depart on a plane for Bombay. I'm thankful that is not the case this year, but so sad to see what's happening only one year after our visit.

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