My Perfect Dress


I had no expectations for wedding dress shopping. This was mostly due to the fact that I didn't know what to expect. Was I going to find The Dress in one day? Was I going to know if I found it? Were the ladies going to be nice? Were they going to have any dresses for under $50?

I'm kidding on that last one.

I took my friend Hannah with me, and we drove to Texas to spend Saturday shopping for a pretty white dress. My mom, kind soul that she is, was super helpful and made a few appointments for me at some bridal shops in the area. Bridal shops. It still seems surreal.

Anyway, I went with Hannah and my mom to the first appointment at 12:30 on Saturday at this cute little bridal boutique.  

With butterflies churning in my stomach, we approached a door displaying a sign sternly stating there NO cameras were allowed as well as NO food or drink. I pulled open the door and instantly felt like I'd stepped into a fairytale. I'd never seen anything like it. Rows upon rows of white, off-white, ivory, and champagne dresses hung gracefully on sturdy hangers, waiting for the perfect home. Around the store were girls, sparkly rings on their left hand, smiling excitedly while an assistant asked them questions about their wedding to determine what kind of dress they were looking for.

My sister and dad met us soon after that, and my dad walked in to a bustling store packed wall to wall with white dresses, excited brides-to-be, and tearful mothers.

"This is...I," I said. There really were no words.
Then my mom turned to me and said, "This is way more fun than I thought it would be!" 
Uh, well, Mom, we've only been here for 30 seconds. That's what I thought; I didn't say it, though, because I'm nice. 
"Looks like you're the only guy in here." I glanced at my dad, who was already munching on a handful of cheese and crackers he'd found by the reception desk.
"Geoff! What are you doing?" my mom whispered. 
"What? We're not allowed to eat these?"  

The dress shopping was off to a strangely wonderful start.

I fought my way through a crowd of girls (okay, three) and put my name in. 
"Melissa's gonna help ya. Jest a sec."
After browsing through the dresses for maybe five minutes or so, I heard my name called.
"I'm Melissa," she said in a no-nonsense tone. "So, when's the wedding?"
"May 14," I replied.
"Of this year?"
When I nodded, she frowned.
"Hmm, well, that's means we're in a bit of a time crunch, then. Usually it takes about 4-7 months to order a dress. I'll have to check and see which designers will be available for you on such short notice. Do you have any favorite designers?"
When I shook my head, she sighed.
"Have you been dress shopping before?"
When I shook my head again, she grabbed my hand and pulled me over to a rack of dresses. "Here," she said, motioning to my family, "y'all wait here." Then she turned to me. "I'll pick some dresses out for ya."

What took place for the next two hours was nothing short of insanity. And fun. Lots and lots of fun. My initial reservation about dress shopping and Melissa's frown and having a wedding date less than four months away quickly wore off, leaving only the hopeful expectation of finding the dress. 

And Melissa was the perfect woman for the job. She navigated the hustle and bustle of the dressing room like a pro, weaving in and out of white-dress-wearing girls so that I could stand on the platform (basically a square box) and check myself out in the huge, full-length mirror. 

The first dress I came out in ended up being one of my top two. There were others, however, that I didn't like as much. And if I showed any hint of displeasure, Melissa would grab my hand and, with a "come on, girl," usher me back to the dressing room and hand me another dress. 

While my dad questioned her about prices, my mom, sister, and Hannah stood to the side, asking what I thought and making notes about what I did or didn't like. Surprisingly, my mom was holding it together really well. 

Then, it happened. 

"Try this on," Melissa told me, holding up a dress. "I know ya said it wasn't your style, but don't kill it jest yet."
I slipped it on, and she tightened the clasp and pull the zipper up.
"I don't need clips or anything," she said, stepping back. "It fits ya perfectly."
I smoothed the front, lifted up the hem, and walked out to my family. Stepping onto the platform, I turned and felt the swish of the train settle in behind me.
"Here." Melissa took my hair out of its ponytail and quickly created a messy bun on the side of my neck, just below my ear. Then, grabbing a flower from a shelf behind her, she tucked it in.

Instantly, tears welled up in my mom's eyes. "You look so beautiful."
Apparently the flower had put her over the edge.
"Okay, Mom, hold it together," I said. I turned to my sister and playfully rolled my eyes. 
"Well," my mom said, "what do you think?"
"I think I love it."
"As much as the first dress?"
"Umm...not sure. I'll have to try on the first dress again."

As I walked back to the dressing room, I was convinced I would like the first dress better. I had loved how it looked and felt, and I thought it was the one. But I surprised myself, because as soon as I put that first dress on, I knew. 

"I like the second one better," I said confidently.
"Really? Well since it's fits ya perfectly, maybe I can convince the owner to let y'all buy it off the rack. That way ya won't have to wait to order it, since you're short on time and all." She paused. "I just can't believe it fits ya so well. All it needs it a bit of hemming."

I'll make a long story short by saying that I did go to a few more places on Saturday. I tried on more dresses, and they were all beautiful. But I knew I had already found it. So we drove back to see Melissa that very same day, and she let me try the dress on again "just to be sure." 

"You can't buy it if ya ain't sure," she said, grinning. 
"Oh, I'm sure."

I couldn't believe it. I was wearing my wedding dress. My mom was giddy with excitement, and Hannah and my sister just kept saying, "It's gorgeous."

The whole day was yet another blessing to add to my growing list, and I got to buy the dress off the rack, so no worries about shipping it in time. Plus, they'll clean, press, steam, and fix it up for free before I take it to get the hem altered. Score!

{Sorry, no pictures. I can't spoil the moment my fiance (did I mention it's weird to use that word?) sees me in all my glory.}

But I can tell you that it's beautiful and makes me feel like a princess, which I know sounds cheesy, but whatever.

It's gonna be so great.
Lauren said...

Amanda, I love the way your write. I totally got chills reading this. I'm so excited to see you in your dress!!!