The most surprising day of my life finally occurred! Wedding dress shopping with my oldest daughter. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would have gone the way it did.
Being an active ‘tom boy’ she was never really into wearing dresses. A week before she was beginning kindergarten she fell head over heels in love with the ugliest dress I had ever seen, and INSISTED she wear it on the first day of school. It was cheap fabric, screaming turquoise and red, with white eyelet on the hem, from K-mart. No amount of bribing could persuade her from wearing that dress. I put my feelings and judgement aside reasoning that, “Hey, she has to be happy and feel good with what she’s wearing”. I could suggest other options, but the final decision was hers. So… Off to school she goes, happy as can be… while I looked on and cringed.
I waited at the end of my driveway for the huge lumbering school bus to drop my little angel back home. I had prepared a special ‘after school snack’ just for her. I watched as she carefully climbed down the bus steps, one step at a time, holding on to the hand rail, with a smile on her face. I smiled back. I waved to the bus driver as she pulled away and reached to grab my daughter’s hand. She looked up at me and said plain and clear, “You don’t have to wait for me at the end of the driveway, just give me a key and I’ll let myself in… Oh… and I’m never wearing a dress again”. All of this from a five year old!
Needless to say she held true to word and hardly ever wore a dress again. For church and Easter, and family weddings… Yes, but not for anything else. Semi-formals finally required some dress shopping, but prom time came and I made her the dress. Over the years I have helped her shop now and then for a dress for an occasion or two, but her idea of dress shopping is… “Mom, I need a dress. Can you come shopping with me please?” We go to one store, she walks in, pushes a few dresses aside on the rack, pulls one out and says, “This will look good on me.” She then goes to the dressing room, tries it on, comes out to show me… Of course it looks fabulous on her… she pays for it and we are done. The whole process lasted an hour… If that. Shopping for her wedding dress was not that much different.
My daughter is a planner. From the moment she was engaged, she already had a wedding planner up and running. She had been watching ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ for over a year and had a good idea that she wanted two dresses… a formal one for the ceremony and a tea length for the reception. Scouting the Internet she found both dresses, printed a picture of each and placed them in her planner. She continued to stalk the sites watching for a price change. Last week she noticed her tea length dress was taken off the site. Uh-Oh… That means the dress has been discontinued and you can only purchase what is left on the store racks. PANIC MODE!
“Mom, are you busy tomorrow? Do you want to go shopping for my wedding dress at 2:00 tomorrow? I already made an appointment.” Ah… YES!! She called her sister to join us.
So, here we are… The three of us… sitting in David’s Bridal Salon waiting impatiently for our consultant to haul us in some dresses for my daughter too try on. Obviously understaffed, we had to share our consultant with another bride… who was commanding more than her share of attention. However, some dresses eventually arrived and the craziness began.
First up was a white formal number with beading and a full train. As pretty as it was, I wasn’t thrilled. Next came the dress we actually came here for… the tea length dress for the reception. Just as predicted it looked great on her. A simple white strapless number with rouching, nipped at the waist with a touch of bling. Adorable! Big smile! The bride is happy! Now, on to the formal dress.
The few dresses the consultant had dropped off to try on were not stunning. We were beginning to get bored. Two hours into this appointment and we only saw three dresses. My other daughter and I decided to step up the process and hit the racks ourselves… having no idea where to begin our search, much to the displeasure of the staff.
“Ack! Look at this adorable dress!”, my younger daughter exclaimed as she held up the most perfect reception dress I had ever seen. She poked her head in between the top of the dress and the hanger so it looked like she was wearing it. “Beautiful”, I replied, “Bring it back for her to try on.” This dress was NOTHING like the dress she already decided to purchase… Nope NOTHING like it at all. As MOB (Mother of the Bride) I was as giddy as a young bride myself knowing THIS was the perfect dress.
We continued looking through the racks and pulling dresses until a few disgruntled staff members came our way to shoo us back to our seats. Apparently THEY are the only ones allowed to touch the dresses. Oops! Our appointment swiftly kicked into high gear. Hee, hee. All of a sudden our consultant was much more attentive.
Although we thought the reception dress had already been decided on… The soon to be bride’s eyes lit up when she caught sight of the dress her sister was bringing to her. She eagerly tried it on. She LOVED it! Her sister LOVED it! I LOVED it! Woo! Hoo! AND… it was on sale for 99 buckaroos! Could this have worked out any better?
Okay… Now we seriously have to look for the formal dress. My daughter knew what she was looking for, but nothing was really hitting the spot. From elegant to over the top crazy, they all looked good on her… but just were not THE ONE. Not that it mattered much, we still had plenty of time before the wedding… it’s not until June, and besides we didn’t come out today with the intent of purchasing the formal dress. Today was just ‘try on’ day.
As she stood looking at her reflection in the mirror, we asked her what was wrong with the current formal dress she had on. It was everything she asked for… strapless, rouching, formal, long train, a bit of bling. So… Why not this dress? “I don’t feel like a Princess”, she pouted.
Ahhhh… how could have I forgotten that? The wedding is to be held in the Wedding Chapel in Disney World. Of course she wants to be a Princess… but with class. It’s her special day, and she SHOULD feel like a princess. “So,” I turned to the consultant, “What can you suggest that will make her feel like a Princess?” Her blank stare quickly changed as a smile came across her face. “How do you feel about a BALL GOWN?”, she asked. My daughter lit up like the Crysler Building!
The consultant rushed off and quickly returned hauling this HUGE mass of dress behind her. As she passed me I glanced at the dress… My heart leapt! I instantly knew… even while it was still on the hanger covered in the plastic garment bag… THIS was going to be her dress. Eventhough it wasnt anything at all what my daughter dreamed her dress would look like… I still knew in my heart that it was the perfect choice. I was wiggling in my seat in anticipation of seeing her in this dress. I was not disappointed.
The door to the dressing room opened slowly as my oldest child floated… yes, floated out into the room. Now THIS was a dress that made her feel like a Princess! The look on her face said it all… THIS would be the dress she wore to marry her sailor on June 3rd. No doubt about it… This was it! And no, I didn’t cry. I was way too excited and happy to cry. That doesn’t mean I won’t blubber at the wedding, but for today I am just so happy.
While reading this story I hope you notice I revealed NOTHING about the actual dresses. I will not spoil the surprise. You will either have to come to Disney for the wedding, or wait for the posting of pictures. Let me just say… I honestly thought when this daughter married she would be barefoot on the beach, wearing a short, casual dress. How pleasantly surprised I am!
Oh… And one more thing I would like to mention. My frugal, practical, researching daughter was able to purchase TWO wedding dresses and remain UNDER budget! She makes her mother so proud!