Back to being dressed to the nines, since a wedding dress was a must for our event, sweet Brad had been keeping a keen eye open for dress options. Back in December he shared a link to a wedding dress website. I’ll be honest, the first inclination I had was, “Is it smart to be ordering a $200 wedding dress online?” I eventually resigned to the fact that even if it looked like a $200 wedding dress, who cares … nobody else would really be seeing it anyhow.
I sifted through a list of upwards of 1,000 dresses and selected a few to show Brad. How should I know if I want trumpet or a-line, white or champagne, lace or silk, sleeves or open back?! Can’t someone just make these decisions for me? I left it to Brad to decide which ones he liked since he would be the only person seeing me in the dress anyhow. We shortlisted a few dresses and decided to sit on it and focus on life and more enjoyable things.
A few weeks ago Brad happened to come across an ad for a wedding dress sale and encouraged me to consider having us go to check it out. The idea of trying on wedding dresses seemed kind of cool and immediately visions of “Say Yes To The Dress” popped into mind. Most people would hear the record scratch at the thought of their fiancé shopping for a wedding dress with them. As for me, his opinion is the only one that matters (what’s the point of wearing something he’s not keen on?!) and besides, he’s the one who will have to figure out how to get it off. *cue the whistle *
So off we went wading through dresses in this large showroom. The only thing we knew to look for was my size, apart from that we were just keeping our eyes open to the options. I got the sense that people tend to bring in many dresses to the fitting room but at this place we were limited to 5 and I wondered if girls would be throwing tantrums about not being allowed to bring their 20 picks in. After looking through the first rack I became a bit discouraged since I couldn’t find anything of interest. I thought that there would be a good chance I’d leave that place without a dress but was cool with it since I was really just there to enjoy the process. While sifting, I saw a girl walk out in a dress to show her eager family who were sitting in the waiting area. That dress caught my eye too and I was secretly hoping that she didn’t like it so that I could try it on. She seemed to be taking forever to come back out so back to the search Brad and I went.
I found a dress that seemed particularly interesting and decided to hold onto it to give it a whirl. Then, I figured it’d be kind of silly to only bring one dress to the fitting room with me so Brad and I picked out another that was of some interest and one more just because. There I went with 3 dresses in tow wondering if it’d be all a disaster in waiting. As the assistant was helping me step into the first dress, it suddenly donned on me that I was going to be a bride. Really?! Up until that point I felt so detached from everything that I hadn’t really made the emotional connection that getting a wedding dress for your wedding means that you are a bride. Mind. Blown.
I had randomly picked 1 of the 3, not feeling too attached to any of them. As the assistant began to do up the buttons along the back, I heard her commenting how it was such a perfect fit. *cue the eye roll * Clearly, a salesperson trying to make a sale. Another assistant eyed me from across the room and also commented on how well it fit. Seems that it’s typical for brides to have a few alterations to their dress so maybe it was a surprise, after all, that the very first wedding dress I stepped into fit so well.
Then another bride to be was in the process of getting zipped up but stopped to turn around and gush about how beautiful I looked. The comment must have caught the ears of the other girls in the room who were getting fitted because they also turned around and joined in the commentary. Really? Maybe the assistant was being truthful? I bashfully made my way to the mirror. There I was looking at myself in a bridal gown for the very first time, all the background chatter seemed to fade away. “Wow, that’s me in the mirror! Wearing a wedding dress!” I was so overwhelmed with the process and the comments it felt like I had only been standing in front of the mirror for a few seconds before being whisked away to show Brad outside. “Wait! I forgot to check if I was beautiful!!” Ah, I just let go and decided that Brad would let me know how I looked.
As I walked the hall to the showroom, passersby would whisper, “So beautiful!”. I was beginning to believe that maybe this dress really did look great on me. Then I stepped out into the main room, my grand entrance, and blushed. Brad’s reaction was … well … he should start playing poker. Though, I do think he was more concerned about how I felt and what I thought.
As I stepped closer to Brad, I passed a girl encircled by her family as she showed off her wedding dress pick. Suddenly, their attention turned to me and the bride shouted out, “You look so beautiful in that dress!”. I think someone in the family even turned their camera towards me and snapped a picture. Other people in the showroom waiting for their “brides” to come out egged me on, telling me that the dress was ‘the one’. Brad snapped a few quick pics of me and off to the fitting room I went for dress number 2.
The dresses that Brad and I pulled were $800-$900, way beyond the $200 dresses that we primed ourselves for, and I began wondering if this all was a big mistake. On dress number 2 went and again the girls in the room chatted it up about how great I looked. Up at the mirror, I silently thought that the dress looked good but not as good as the first one. No matter, I was still very interested in hearing what Brad had to say about it.
The reaction (from everyone) this time was more subtle. The first dress was still heavy on my mind. Okay, I figured we’d give dress 3 a try so that we had something to compare 1 and 2 to. Dress 3 was nice but wouldn’t cooperate – I couldn’t get it past my badonkadonk, so clearly it wasn’t fitting properly. I still walked out to the showroom with it anyway.
Brad quickly suggested that we look through the racks again to see if anything else was added. I couldn’t get dress 1 off my mind but how could I possibly tell him that I really wanted it when I knew how much it was? I felt so torn, stuck between a dress that I fell in love with and respecting the man who’d selflessly made so many sacrifices for me over the years. Knowing he’d be the one paying for it, I didn’t have the heart to just out and tell him that I really wanted the first dress.
Playing it cool, I mentioned that I wanted to try the first dress on again, in hopes that after seeing me in it again he’d be won over. The assistant and I upped our game. We whipped that dress back on, wrapped a jewelled belt around my waist, and slid on a beautiful 8 foot mantilla veil. We stepped out into the showroom and the assistant immediately placed a tiara on top of my head to finish off the look. Out came a full length mirror for Brad and I to peer into.
I finally had the chance to process it all and when I looked in the mirror with veil and all, I saw something beautiful staring back at me. “So, what do you think?” Brad whispered to me. I lowered my head in my hands and began to sob. “I really feel so wonderful in this dress but I know it’s way out of our budget,” I confessed.
Without any hesitation, Brad shrugged his shoulders and said, “Okay, then let’s get it.” My response was to repeatedly ask him if he was sure. I know this guy, when he’s sure he’s definitely sure. But overcome with emotion, I felt that it was all too good to be true.
I managed to utter to the assistant that we’ll be taking the dress, belt, and veil. A loud celebration erupted from the fitting room and then in the showroom more clapping and cheering. The cashier rang a bell as she shouted out, “He said yes to the dress!”. I giggled to myself like I just won the lottery.
Before swiping his card, Brad asked me about the tiara. On top of such a big win, I didn’t have the appetite to ask for the tiara but after he insisted twice, even reasoning that we wouldn’t be able find one elsewhere for such a great price, I humbly accepted the offer. What a thoughtful, kind, selfless, and loving person. And I get to marry him.
I know by now I’ve hyped up this outfit so much that you may have a great curiosity about what it looks like. With the rush of emotions I felt on that day, I’m not even sure I remember what I looked like. I guess we’re all going to have to wait until I get pictures back from the big day.
Until then, for any of you “brides to be” soon or in the future, I sincerely hope that your experience with dress shopping turns out to be as wonderful as mine. And may you also be showered with the same love, assurance, and support that I witnessed. For those of you in Toronto, consider checking out this awesome concept shared by my friend Gyty thebridesproject.com. And finally, ladies savour each moment – it’s not every day that you get to try on wedding dresses!
P.S. – The dress we picked has buttons running down most of the back. Brad, you’re welcome!