In just 18 short days I will be married.
That’s not a word I necessarily thought I’d ever use to refer to myself again. I’ve taken the ride on marriage train once before. My partner has also had his own previous experience with said train. Neither of us felt particularly motivated to jump back on any sort of quickly moving vehicle. Rather we’ve taken a very slow and steady walk hand in hand towards this ceremony of matrimony. And now I need to find a dress.
This is not to say that I have put off getting a dress until eighteen days before my wedding– because I have not. Back in January (WAY ahead of schedule if operating under my usual parameters) I procured a wedding dress for myself. It was a 60’s knee length silk brocade* (more on this later) with a matching knee length jacket. (think Trinity from the Matrix, but in white silk brocade*). It was a YES from the moment I stepped out of the dressing room. The only slight problem with it was, it was white, not the blue that I had envisioned myself getting married in.
I bought it anyway. It was too close to perfect not to– and it was on sale. My rationale was, either I get married in white, or I have my best friend (a seamstress, artist, designer and all around bad-ass who lives in Asheville, NC) dye it. No big deal. It’s silk*, it’ll dye fine. I took a few days and hemmed and hawed over whether to dye or not to dye and ultimately realized that yes, undoubtedly the dress needed to be dyed to fulfill my vision. I sent it to North Carolina along with a love letter to my lady. A few days after she received it alarm bells rang loud and clear when she sent me a text with a picture of a few swatches she had dyed which barely registered any pigment.
She explained that there were a few reasons the fabric could not have taken the dye– maybe it was a blend, perhaps there was some sort of chemical on the fabric– she had solutions lined up, not to worry, everything was going to be fine. I proceeded with picking out the dye colors and she ordered the dye along with the solution she needed to wash the dress in. She also ordered a blue dye that was specially made to dye polyester, “just in case” my beautiful silk brocade* was actually, not.
The dyes took their sweet time but finally arrived. Shortly thereafter my best friend found herself stirring over a boiling blue-watered pot for over an hour, laboring in love as only a best friend can, because, you guessed it, my silk brocade* was actually a classic 1960’s polyester. She used the one blue dye available for polyester and boiled my dress and jacket in it. Then she pressed them, attempting to shape them back to their former glory. She sent me a picture of the blue, (I will say the dye job is beautifully even). She sounded stressed when I talked to her on the phone that night. In retrospect, I’m certain the dress must have been at least a small factor in that.
Yesterday morning I found the dress at my door, complete with a love note from my lady. The hour of boiling really took its toll. There are probably very few things that can withstand boiling water for an hour without having some very tangible alterations occur. My lovely silk brocade* wedding dress is no exception. The fabric is drastically different– thinner, the “brocade” has faded into the background, and the one shade of blue dye available for the dying of polyester eerily resembles the bright blue of the mats in my Pilates studio.
So, after talking to my best friend on the phone this morning– and getting her blessing to leave behind this labor of love, I find myself in the market for a wedding dress. This is not exactly where I thought I’d be eighteen days from my wedding– but I’m actually pretty excited about it. I no longer have any clear vision for my dress, I just know that I’ll know it when I see it (and that moment will be magical). And I am perfectly clear about that fact that whatever color it is the day that I buy it will also be the color it is the day I get married in it.
I don’t necessarily have a metaphor for what this dress is in the process of my wedding countdown– but I do know that I appreciate when the universe throws what might be considered adversity at me. It always feels like an opportunity to dig down a little deeper. A younger version of me would have “made due” with a dress that I didn’t love and didn’t feel good in because of the labor of love put forward by my best friend. I would have felt “obligated” to wear it because of her sacrifices. Now I understand that her labor of love was the gift, not the dress. The process and the story are the important things, not the product that came forth. My best friend doesn’t want me to wear a dress that is anything other than absolutely perfect on my wedding day.
And now I get to find a new DRESS!! Tastes like lemonade to me.