My dress saga

Posted on October 23, 2008. Filed under: deciding | Tags: |

A three dress bride?  Ridiculous, but possibly true.

Sigh.  I have no idea what to do about my dress situation, so I’m hoping that you can help me.  Pretty please?  I’ll trade you embarrassing unflattering pictures of myself in return for your help.

{Mr. Cheese, if you’ve read this far, DELETE THIS EMAIL — he gets every one of my posts emailed to him by this service — NOW!  QUICKLY!}

I’ve mentioned before that I’m busty and vertically challenged, so I wasn’t looking forward to dress shopping. I was looking for something unique, comfortable, glamorous and “me” that I could successfully wear while navigating the trail through our backyard.  Uh, huh.  Good luck, right?   I was also a bit uncomfortable about the whole big-white-dress concept because this is my second wedding*.

It took three steps to get through the discomfort.  First, I dropped by a bridal shop all by myself and asked to try a few things on.  Without any pressure or need to be “the public me,” I tried on everything they had in my size.  I didn’t take my camera (sorry!) but the shop owner and I assessed each style.  In the end, I decided that I wanted a bridesmaid’s dress in white or cream — simple, inexpensive, practical, and flattering.

Then, I made an unexpected trip home to New Mexico, and my mom and I made a quick visit to a bridal shop there.  We agreed that a bridesmaid’s dress was the way to go (though she did try to talk me into a more traditional dress).

Third step: I talked my two best girls into joining me back at that first bridal shop, and I roped them into trying on dresses with me.  If you can somehow finagle this, I highly recommend it.  We had a blast trying them on together!

Final step: my best girl and I went to David’s to try on this dress:


… and this is how I looked in it.  (Quick note: the date on my camera was wrong, apparently.)

As you can see by my face, I wasn’t much into it.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good.  Here’s a better picture where I’m not pouting (but not much better!):

Then I tried this one on:


Ohhhhh, yea.  Now we’re talking.  It was glamorous and yet wearable.  The boobage was well-supported and it didn’t seem overwhelming on my body.  Problem: I just didn’t want to spend $500 on a dress.  I know, I know, it’s the only day I’ll get to wear it and all, but FROM MY PERSPECTIVE (and only mine, of course) there were more important things.  {And I’m perfectly okay living vicariously through those of you wearing Monique Lhuillier.  Really.}

We dropped by one last bridal shop and found this bridesmaid’s dress (which I couldn’t take a picture of myself in because of that strange and totally ridiculous no-pictures policy some shops have don’tevengetmestartedonthat):


… and this bridesmaid’s dress:

source: Mori Lee website.
Seriously, if you’re looking for a budget wedding gown, you should at least consider bridesmaid’s dresses.  Each of these was under $150 and in white or cream still made me look like a bride.

{Quick trip down memory lane.  Granted, it’s MY memory lane, but join me anyway….  Initially, J and I were going to get married in October.  Remember? And, in a wacky attempt to make traveling easier on my family (all in the southwest), we thought we’d just have a second reception, sort of, in Las Vegas.  This was before I figured out what this wedding thing is all about — for me, anyway — and my big goal was to inconvenience people as little as possible.  Feel free to point and laugh.}

While I was considering my options, I realized that I wouldn’t have time to get my dress dry cleaned before heading for Vegas.  We’d be tromping around our backyard on Saturday and then hop on a plane Sunday for a renewal of vows on Monday — no time to get a dress dry cleaned.  For practical reasons, then, I needed two dresses.  Also for practical reasons, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.  I’ll talk more about my wedding planning strategy soon, but let’s just say that I could neither afford nor desire a super expensive dress for one day… and now I needed two.

But I still didn’t want to pay 500 bucks for a dress.  Enter eBay!  Within 10 minutes of searching, I found that exact dress in my size for sale by a bride who’d been married a few months before.  Score!  I bought it for $200 plus shipping and it arrived a week later in perfect condition.

Because I wanted to go traditional for our hometown reception, I chose the pickups dress (in black above).

Fast forward to today. We’re having one reception in Knoxville, with backyard and trail to the clearing and all that.  I have two dresses hanging in my closet, one of which I love more than the other… but of course that one’s less practical and safe (ya know, for descending a trail).  I’m also feeling like I chose them both during my rush-through-the-process phase, and what I reeeeaaaalllly wanted was lace.  I also loved how fun the super sassy bombshell bridesmaid dress (the navy blue picture) was, not to mention how bombshell-ish I looked.  And yet, I’ve said all along that I don’t want to place too much importance on my dress.

Help?  What would you do?  Wear the glamorous-but-somewhat-constricting-when-walking dress from David’s?  Wear the much safer, but much less fun more-traditional-bridesmaid’s-dress-with-pickups?  Buy a third (ridiculous, I know) sexy-bombshell-bridesmaid’s-dress and have to suck it in all night? Sell both and start the search anew?  Meaningful and lasting isn’t helping me here!

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  This is a new relationship worthy of the respect and traditions that come with creating a new family through marriage.  Don’t let the fact that you were married before intrude on your wedding day.  Yes, by all means, process and find peace with that fact for your own emotional health before you get married again, but let your decisions about The Day You Will Pledge Yourself To Your Husband Forever be driven by the present.  Wear the dress you would wear if this was your first marriage, this time, at this age as this person that you are today.


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[…] Dress Saga Follow-Up October 24, 2008 Posted by Marisa in deciding. Tags: dress trackback The Dress Saga […]

[…] (in the street!), on a super limited budget, in Tennessee, with our ceremony in a clearing.  I bought my dress off eBay.  Dishes and glasses each cost a dollar.  Our friends and family will be asked to help out by […]

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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