The whole dress part of my wedding was kind of a catastrophe. I mean, I ended up with a beautiful dress. But man, what a horrible experience.
Once you get engaged (or, at least, once I got engaged) all I could think about was Finding the Perfect Dress. This was heartily reinforced by every single wedding magazine, website, blog and TLC program. So I was under all this pressure to Find the Perfect Dress.
For me, this unicorn of a wedding garment did not exist. Despite over a year and a half of looking at dresses and websites and blogs and watching Say Yes to the Dress religiously… and despite visiting several very well-stocked and beautifully appointed bridal salons (including Kleinfeld’s)… and despite knowing exactly what style of dress was most flattering to me… and despite having my mom and my best friend to help me narrow down my choices…
I could not for the life of me make a freaking decision.
I think my brain was full of too many options. And the idea that maybe The One would be the very next one I tried on. And the immense pressure of wanting to find The Perfect Dress during the single weekend my mom and maid of honor had flown across the country to join me on the Dress Quest. And the fear that I was going to choose something that my husband (who, god love him, can be picky and overly, ahem, honest about what he doesn’t like when it comes to clothes) wouldn’t love.
So all of these factors coalesced into one huge ball of stress and tears and panic.
Over a silly dress.
Yes, I found a dress. That weekend. It was lovely. It had just enough lace – but not too much. It had a train. It had a sweetheart neckline. It had a fitted bodice and a full skirt. Lovely.
But it wasn’t The One. I never experienced that moment of “This is it! This is The One!” Which was disappointing.
Then I had to go back for four fittings. Which wouldn’t be such a big deal. Except that I was in the middle of a Very Stressful Slash Horrifically Busy period at work. Made worse by my looming week-long absence and the upcoming holidays. Plus, there were the holidays to contend with. Plus, I bought a dress in a town five hours away from my home. Smart!
At each fitting, something was a little off. The train didn’t fall right. The cups in the bodice hurt my tender little booblings. The lace was just a teeny bit crooked. The waist needed to be taken in. Gah.
But finally, we got it right.
Then, I went to a big Thanksgiving full of relatives. And caught a horrible cold. And for the two weeks leading up to my wedding, the only things I put into my body were soup, tea, and copious amounts of cold medicine.
So when my mother and I arrived in the adorable little town where I got married… And we went to try on my dress one last time… Of course it DIDN’T FIT.
I nearly had a meltdown right there. Okay, maybe I had a mini meltdown. In front of my mom and the wedding planner and the florist’s baby who was sleeping on the floor of the dressing room.
Then my wedding planner yanked the dress off of me, and – my mother and me in tow – swooped through snow-crusted streets to her tailor’s house. The tailor had me strip down right there in her little foyer and she took in my dress.
And the day of the wedding, it fit perfectly. Except that I think when I was hugging my father’s best friend that maybe one of my boobs popped out. But my wedding planner had duct tape in her bag of magic tricks and voila! Problem solved.
Listen, I didn’t write this post to whine about my dress. Yes, I am still a little bitter that I didn’t have that special “This is The One!” moment. Yes, I still have a little residual stress when I think about trying it on that one last time and discovering that I was SWIMMING in the thing.
But that’s not the point.
You see, the whole time I was looking for The Perfect Dress…
Every dress I tried on…
Every fitting I went to…
I was thinking about one thing. My husband. Would he like it? Would it make his face light up to see me in this gown? Would he carry this image of my in his mind forever?
That’s what I wanted more than anything.
Like any couple who’s been together for a while, I think we sometimes stop really seeing each other. Yes, this has its benefits. Husband still claims that I am cute when I am unshowered and wearing the same t-shirt and sweats I wore yesterday.
But I wanted our wedding day to be different. Momentous. Not just another day in our wonderful, loving relationship. Something amazing. Something that we could both picture forever after as Special.
And more than that, I wanted him to see me differently.
I wanted him to smile when he saw me in that dress. I wanted his jaw to drop. Maybe I was even hoping for some tears.
That’s one reason I fretted so much over that silly dress. Why it couldn’t have too much lace. Why I chose the more traditional gown over the contemporary one with pockets. Why I wanted it to fit perfectly, to highlight my best features.
I didn’t look in the mirror once after I had that gown on. It was probably wrinkled. The bow may not have been as “perfect” as I wanted it to be. And my hair and makeup – well that’s a whole other story.
But it didn’t matter, once I saw him in the chapel a few minutes before the ceremony. His face lit up. No tears, but definitely a “Wow!”
From that second, I stopped worrying. I stopped being anxious. I let myself fill up with excitement and joy and delight that We Were Getting Married!
If you ask him about it – and I do, every once in a while – he says, “It was The Perfect Dress.”