wearing our wedding boots outside for the first time

Ladies and Gentlemen… It gives me great pleasure to announce to you that: I found my wedding dress!!

And I LOVE it!!

I picked my daughter up from school today and our mission was clear: FIND THE DRESS; (no pressure, of course). We stopped by home before setting out, to fuel up properly before our expedition. When we got home we found a package waiting, a dress I ordered on Amazon Tuesday morning in the midst of my mini I-need-a-wedding-dress panic because it looked potentially okay and– I needed a wedding dress. It was a definite no– but got us primed for our dress-seeking journey. I’ve been itching to go to this new vintage dress shop a few blocks from our house since it opened several months ago– there’s always something that draws my eye as I walk past it. The last two days, since I’ve been in the dress market it’s been calling to me day and night. We set out on our mission both of us wearing our wedding boots outside for the first time.

We walked into the store and gave the woman our parameters; knee(ish) length, size 6 to 8,  (the only color directive was NOT WHITE– no need to go through that again). I told her we were getting married in the forest and the boots were a part of the package. We went through and chose several different dresses– nine in total, she put them into the dressing room for me. My wedding dress was the second one I tried and I fell in love with it immediately. It fit me LIKE A GLOVE (a very tight glove). It has a rust-colored cummerbund that I’m not wearing in the picture because it too is glove-like. But again I cannot stress enough how much I LOVE this dress!!

I tried on every dress that we had taken into the dressing room– the last one I tried was a several-inches-above-the-knee, not-vintage silver piece of awesomeness. The shop owner called it a disco dress when I walked out with it on. I loved it as well and realized that my like-a-glove wedding dress would not necessarily be a gettin’ down and dancin’ dress. I made up my mind at that point that I would buy both dresses, one for the ceremony, one for the reception. YES.

I was all set and ready to make it happen and buy my beautiful dress(es) when my practical 11 year old maid of honor stepped in. (She does not get that practicality from me or her father– that is all her step-father– my husband-to-be). She asked if they would hold the dresses and told me that we really needed to go to the second shop on the list, the one where we found the original dress. I grudgingly agreed with her and we left the shop with me saying “see you soon!”

We walked back to our house and grabbed the car, the second shop being a bit more of a hike from our house. As we were driving I started thinking out loud about how incredibly different my daughter and I are. I also wondered out loud why we had left my dress(es) in that shop? “That’s my dress,” I distinctly remember saying to her several times. We drove to the other shop– she asked me if I could be open to other dresses– I told her I would try but… “that’s my dress.” We parked and got out of the car, walking the half block to the original scene of the dress buying crime…

It was CLOSED. The shop was dark. My heart leapt in celebration. “I’m coming for you!!” I shouted to my dress(es). My daughter annoyed, said, “I KNEW it was gonna be closed and then it would be a sign that it was your dress.” We walked back to the car and drove back to my dress(es). We were only away from them for about ten minutes. (Ten minutes too many in my world)– but they were there patiently waiting for us when we returned. I bought them happily and found out that the little silver number was on sale. SCORE. The numbers in the total price of the dresses added up to nine. (That’s my favorite number. It’s magical and I’m a little weird about it.) Seemed like kismet to me. And that’s my second dress story. I would say very few people get to successfully go wedding dress shopping with their maid of honor twice for the same wedding. But I have that privilege.

16 days from now I’m getting married.

And I know exactly what I’ll be wearing to do the marrying… and the dancing afterwards.

And that is a massive relief.

 

It was a YES from the moment I stepped out of the dressing room

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.

*polyester