Friday, August 24, 2012

She Said YES to the Dress!

The Mori Lee dress she THOUGHT she wanted
Have you seen all the bridal shows lately?  Four WeddingsBridezillas??  It's overload, in my opinion. And it really pushes brides today into ideas (and budgets) that are out of their leagues. I watched a Say Yes to the Dress episode where the girl said her budget for the dress was $3000 (!) and the clerk shook her head saying she'd have a hard time finding many choices in that low range.  That's insane! Then we'd turn to a show about receptions and see that the family spent $40,000. Did you know that the average American wedding costs $25,000??  Shocking! How do real people do this? These shows make extravagance seem commonplace and to be expected.   When I got married in 1987, I bought my dress on sale for $99 at JC Penney!  While I knew we wouldn't be recreating those days, there was just no way we'd be anything like the families in these shows.

Lest you think I'm only concerned about budgets and costs, today was only about dresses. Yes, we gave the clerk our price range - and no, she didn't flinch or make tsk-ing noises. She even told me later that she was deliberately pointing Alyssa into directions of lovely dresses that stayed within my range.  She thought it was really cruel when dress consultants show dresses that the bride cannot afford. I'm glad we were on the same page for that!

Today was Wedding Dress Quest - Day 2.

A week ago, we went to Alexia Gavela. It's a cute little house crammed full of wedding dresses. We had called for an appointment a week before, but somehow when we got there, they couldn't find it. No matter, they let us come on in and start looking around.Alyssa had some pictures on her phone of dresses she liked, and the clerk helped us find some similar to them.  

Grandma, Katie and I all sat in the back, while Alyssa came out, modeling the dresses.  They all looked beautiful on her, but nothing really clicked. Afterward, she asked me if I felt like something was just "off" today. I told her that, for some reason, it felt like we were just playing dress-up - not seriously looking for a WEDDING DRESS.  Between modeling and community theatre, dance classes and Girl Scout outings - we've spent a lot of time in dressing rooms. Maybe it was because the house was small and the dressing room area seemed more like a living room... we just weren't feeling it.

We let another week pass and thought about where we might like to shop next. We had been to Alfred Angelo for a bridesmaid dress, and both times we were there, the staff was frantic and stressed. We decided we'd probably skip getting a dress from them... or at least we'd try some other places first. So we decided to try Belle Saison. They didn't require appointments and so the four of us decided to go see what they had.

We were pleasantly surprised at the space! Rows of dresses, all organized by designer. The front desk girl was friendly and competent, offering to get us a bridal consultant and explaining how we should just get started browsing and selecting. They had little bells attached to ribbons, and we were to place them on the hanger of the dresses Alyssa wanted to try on.

Tracie, our consultant, came out to meet us all. She asked what kinds of dresses we were interested in seeing.  Alyssa showed her some pictures and even had a particular Mori Lee dress that she heard wouldn't be available until the end of September.  Tracie told us that designers frequently release pictures of the dresses in the magazines 4-6 months before they even make it to the stores.  So our option was to look for some similar ones, which we did. And Tracie went to look for our little bells we had already hung on dresses - she said it was like hunting for Easter Eggs!

Anyway, here's how our progression of Wedding Dress Choices has gone so far. Alyssa has been madly pinning them on her Pinterest board so we came in with some ideas.

Initially, Alyssa loved this Vera Wang dress that Kate Hudson wore in Bride Wars. We thought she'd like the fitted bodice and then the flaring out at the hips. Unfortunately, when she tried something like it on, the dress was overwhelming.  It was really difficult to move around in and Alyssa said she was drowning in it.

Then she moved to Mermaid Dresses and dresses with Keyhole backs.

But after trying on dresses at Alexia Gevali, we discovered we like the look of satin. Certainly, she liked the feel of it! From Mermaid, we moved to "Fit and Flare" and when we got to Belle Saison, we were back to more lace again.

While Alyssa introduced herself to the consultants at both stores, saying she liked Bling, she tended to actually move away from it when she tried bedazzled dresses on. Evidently, a wedding dress with a lot of bling tends to make people look at the dress, and not the bride.  So we started to look at dresses without bling, but adding some bling on a belt. Or a little bling in the back or on the veil.

 After a couple of hours of trying various styles, Alyssa narrowed it down to two.  We grabbed different veil styles and Katie arranged and rearranged the trains. Everyone gave their opinions.  We didn't really think she'd make the decision that day, but she did! We agreed, it was an absolutely gorgeous choice!

We even did a little re-enactment from one of the shows:

"Is this Your Dress?"
"Yes. This is My Dress."

Woo hoo!!!

Several people have asked if I got teary when .Alyssa come out in her wedding gown. It was a "Wow" moment with her stepping up on the pedestal, lights shining just enough to make everything spectacular, mirrors all around. And even though I seem to be on an emotional roller coaster these days, I didn't really. I did, however, go back to the dressing room after she hung up the dress. It was just Alyssa and me and her wedding dress. I told her that she looked so happy in that dress and it was just beautiful on her. She looked at me with this look of...I don't even know what... gratitude, happiness, love... and then, I did tear up a bit.

I'd love to share the photo, but we're trying to keep it a bit of a surprise. Alyssa ended up choosing a combination of styles: A champagne satin with ivory lace overlay, very antique-looking. And just enough sparkle that will show up in the lights and not jump out at you with "Whoa! that's bejeweled!"

So, there's your introduction to bridal dress styles - probably more information than you wanted to have. But, hey, that's what our lives look like these days!   I'll leave this blank spot here for after the wedding - then I can show you what the dress looks like ;)

[ Alyssa's Wedding Dress Choice ]
[                   to go here                  ]
[                after 4/26/13                ]

1 comment:

Meyser said...

How I love this post! I got married over a year ago, and your post brings up lovely memories. I like to get to read 'the other side', that of the mother.
It inspired me, and I hope to write about my Big Day soon too!