Simultaneously More And Less Traumatic Than I'd Thought It Would Be

I'm not actually sure if an update on my wedding dress shopping trip is something you necessarily care about, but since the rest of my weekend consisted of:

  1. Eating Thai food
  2. Eating German food
  3. Going to Target
  4. Looking at churches
  5. And reorganizing the very tall book shelf that randomly crashed to the floor while I was watching The Hills this afternoon, scattering a lifetime of DVDs and CDs all over the apartment's basically the only real thing I have to talk about at the moment. Unless you would like to hear about how glad I am that I'm not the sort of person who alphabetizes her DVDs and CDs. Because boy, if I were, clean-up would have taken a WHOLE lot longer than it did. Instead, we just stuffed them back on the shelves willy-nilly, Jerry Seinfeld cozying up to Eddie Izzard, and Wilco pressed up against Joni Mitchell. (Hmm, now these are things I'd like to see in real life).

So wedding dress shopping was kind of a trip. The whole time I was there, I had this very surreal sensation that I had stepped into an episode of Say Yes To The Dress and that Elise was going to round the corner any minute and try and pressure me into an eight thousand dollar Monique Lhuiller. Instead there was no Elise, there was just my consultant Sharon. And Sharon and I? We were like this. I mean, we had to be, really, because by the end of my appointment, that woman had seen more of my booty than....well, more than I've ever seen of it, I guess.

Here is the thing, you see, and I'm not quite sure how to say this delicately---without scaring other brides-to-be and embarrassing my father---but I guess I just didn't realize that trying on wedding dresses would involve so much STANDING AROUND IN YOUR UNDERWEAR. Was it like this for you? Because it was like this for me. Sharon would come in to the changing room with a dress, command me to disrobe, and then stand behind me to help me into it. Then we'd shuffle out to the mirrors, I'd gaze at myself for a few minutes and try to imagine myself drinking champagne and eating mini quiches and making binding legal vows in it, and then we'd shuffle back into the dressing room, I'd take it off, and then I'd stand shivering in the corner in my skivvies until she came back in with the next one. And then we'd start the whole thing all over again.

Have you ever tried making polite conversation while you're in your undies and the person you're talking to is fully dressed? It is.....not exactly my favorite sort of situation. We Brits---notorious prudes that we are---are not used to appearing half-naked in front of strangers we've only met fifteen minutes earlier, you see. I was telling my sister about it this morning, and she said, with horror, "wow, you'd think if they were going to see you in your underwear, they'd at least give you some champagne first." And I said "Exactly! I should have said 'Sharon, honestly, you could at least buy me dinner! What kind of girl do you take me for?'"

Anyway, awkward partial nudity aside, wedding dress shopping was actually way more fun than I thought it was going to be. I tried on seven dresses, and of those seven, I liked four of them---honestly, the other three were so hideous that my friend just shook her head silently as I walked out of the changing room---and the shocker there was that three of those four I liked were strapless.

Now, you have to understand, I walked in there with a big old NO STRAPLESS! sign pasted to my forehead, and when Sharon asked what I was looking for, I said NO STRAPLESS, NO STRAPLESS, NO STRAPLESS. It's not like I have anything against strapless dresses, of course, and I fully agree that your strapless dress looked fantastic on you. It's just that I was pretty convinced---thanks to my proportions, and the fact that I do not have any other strapless dresses in my closet---that a strapless dress was going to look like ass on me.

But in the end, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the way they worked out, and I am now officially Giving Strapless A Chance, not least because I later tried on a v-neck dress I thought I'd love, and I sort of just looked like I was wearing a tennis outfit.  If you have absolutely any interest at all in this sort of thing, here is a picture of the dress that ended up being my friend's favorite on me (imagine it in ivory.) My favorite---which also happened to be the most expensive one, I MEAN OF COURSE IT DID---had bands of lace interspersed with bands of what looked like dotted swiss. And then I got home and googled it and guess what, I totally found it on ebay for half price!

I didn't buy it, obviously, because ha! Are you kidding me? Pass up the opportunity to try on more wedding dresses and have a few more awkward semi-nekkid encounters with bridal consultants? Never! I mean, then what the hell would I blog about, you know?

Dec 07, 2008

when my gfs and i went bra fitting - it was kind of the same story. standing around, waiting for bras. and then she would *help us into them*. which was majorly majorly awkward!!

i love both dresses. HOT. the first one is super fashionista and bold!

Camels & Chocolate
Dec 07, 2008

Ha, I was going to email you and see how it went, but I figured you were so over talking about it...guess not! ;-)

I love that dress, for what it's worth, and I'm pretty convinced it looked smashing on you. If you need a panel, and Sharon just ain't doing it for you, you know where to find us.

Anne & May
Dec 08, 2008

BUY THE ONE ON EBAY RIGHT THIS INSTANT! It's never been worn and I know an amazing seamstress that can make it fit like a glove.

I sure wish someone would have told me this before I went shopping for a wedding dress. There was this awkward moment where the sales lady had to force herself into the dressing room because I didn't know she was going to come in.

Dec 08, 2008

Ooooh, I love the dress that you like. The one your friend likes is fine, but the one you like is so pretty! It makes me want to get married again so I can wear something just like it!

In fact I told Husband the other day that I wanted to get remarried several times in the future so I could wear a bunch of different wedding dresses. He looked startled, which made ME startled until I realized what I had said.

"To you! To you! Remarried to you!" I had to squeak out. Oops.

Dec 08, 2008

Lol, Chloe! I feel the same and attempt to communicate this to my husband (whom my mother spent a few months after my wedding introducing as 'Nina's First Husband'.

The first time I went for a bra fitting I thought she would maybe fiddle around with a tape measure and discretely pass me some bras to try on. I didn't realise it would invovle standing around topless, making small talk with a clothed stranger while she basically felt me up in the name of superior fit. And cradled my boobs to demonstrate the amazing support and lift they were receiving. It was very Trinny and Susannah.

BUT I think I am bascially a big HO because I actually didn't mind that much, and also the bra she sold to me is still by far the nicest and best fitting bra I own.

Dec 08, 2008

I was also fairly anti-strapless (fellow well endowed friend), and lo! My dress was strapless. The dress I bought? Was something I tried on AS A JOKE. Which is to say, never say never! Love the dresses!

Dec 08, 2008

Mmm.....did you eat Suppenkuche? Jesus I miss California.

Both dresses are fantastic and you are going to look amazing in anything. I hated wedding dress shopping (for about a bazillion reasons) but then all of a sudden you try on your dress and you're like "holy crap, this is my dress". Hopefully it doesn't cost nine thousand dollars. Just sayin.

Also, the prudish Brit thing? I mean, I know it's true, or at least heavily rumored as such. My question is, how come then, every time I head off to warm tropical locations in far off foreign places there are all the Brits, running around topless and here I am, still in my J. Crew halter top?

Tara Swords
Dec 08, 2008

I love lots of La Sposa dresses! You would look lovely in that one.

I worked at a bridal shop in college. I got pretty good at figuring out when people were uncomfortable hanging out in their skivvies and also got pretty good at making them feel less weird about it. And honestly, even when we're looking at you, we're not seeing anything in particular. I swear. I could spend an hour in a dressing room with someone, getting her into and out of twenty dresses, and not retain any details about her bare bod. So don't sweat it!

Dec 08, 2008

So pretty! I have my first bridal appointment a few days after Christmas (I want my Mom there to hold my hand and that was when they'd be in town) and had planned on being completely anti-strapless. Now maybe I'll give them a shot!

Dec 08, 2008

I am convinced that whatever it is you decide you DO NOT WANT in a wedding dress - you are likely to end up with. I was all "No drop waist, OMG, no drop waist! I have no natural waist! It will make me look like a sausage!" and then my consultant forced me to try on this damned drop-waist dress... and what do you know, I looked like I had just magically lost 20 pounds and acquired an hourglass figure. SOLD!

I also felt more than a little awkward about all the time spent standing around in my skivvies... but, for what it's worth, at the bridal shop where I ended up buying my dress, they do NOT send a consultant in with you - they just put the dress in the room and let you go to town. And christ on a cracker, those suckers are TOUGH to manage when you're a one-woman show! I had visions of being choked to death by a mess of chiffon and taffeta that I couldn't quite get back over my head. Scary.

(And for the record - LOVE both dresses. LOVE.)

Dec 08, 2008

If you think that was bad, imagine no dressing room...just a bunch of random women standing around trying on dresses with their consultant. It was, ummmm, awkward. And I, too, said no strapless dresses (I was in love with this cap sleeve Vera Wang dress that I never could have afforded), but I ended up with, of course, a strapless dress. Both dresses are lovely!

Dec 08, 2008

I actually said, "YOWZA!" when I saw that first dress! The 2nd one is really pretty too, but the first one is a big WOW! Can't wait to hear more about your next dress excursion!
House of Jules

Dec 08, 2008

I didn't think I wanted a strapless wedding gown, and my best friend was adamnt that she would never. wear. strapless. No way, no how. And guess what? We both ended up with strapless wedding gowns. It turns out that they can look fantastic on just about everyone!

Dec 08, 2008

I don't think I'd like shopping in a store where someone else picks what I try on.

How do you know your dream dress doesn't get skipped over by an attendant trying to make a bigger commission by having you try on something more expensive?

- M

Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 08, 2008

Marcheline, my consultant didn't pick out any of my dresses -- I was free to wander the racks and point to the ones I liked the look of, and she pulled them down for me.

Dec 08, 2008

Keep the wedding updates coming! I, for one, love reading them. :)

When I tried on dresses, I first wandered around the store and pointed to a few gowns that I liked (and, naturally, handed the attendant the ripped-out magazine pages with photos of dresses I LOVED.) She then delivered each to my fitting room and helped me try them on. (Sidenote: I'd neglected to wear a bra at all...that was awkward.) Anyway, I ended up loving the strapless dresses she suggested and not loving all the dresses I'd gone there to try on in the first place. Who knew?

Dec 08, 2008

While my first wedding dress excursion was quite traumatic (ahem, David's Bridal, ahem), my second was awesome. I went to a small (but expensive) boutique where I found the dress of my dreams. I jotted down the brand and style, and then my mom went to work looking for it elsewhere online. And we found it! Through some discount dress site, for about $300 less than at the store. I was wary to order it from the site, thinking somehow it wouldn't be as good as the one at the boutique, but it was perfect. I wholly recommend doing this kind of research before "saying yes to the dress."

Also, I'm curious, since it's been four years since I went wedding dress shopping - did you have to try on dresses that were a size or two larger than you normally wear? Because back then, that seemed to be the standard, which I found to be incredibly insulting. Why not make wedding dresses a size or two SMALLER than you normally wear, just to make the bride feel special, even if that feeling is totally false?

Dec 08, 2008

Oh my god, your experience sounds almost exactly like mine, except my friend was in the fitting room with me and she was someone who hadn't seen me in my underwear prior to that day. I also was DEAD SET against strapless for all the same reasons you said but I fell in love with an ivory strapless. My first reaction was "no one will expect me in this." My friend convinced me to buy it.

I can't wait to hear more stories of dress shopping! Mine was the second dress I tried on and it was over too fast.

Dec 08, 2008

I was also fairly anti-strapless, but I loved my strapless wedding gown. I bought it off of Ebay without even trying it on in a store first! But it was perfect, I couldn't get it out of my head, and I found in my gown-trying adventures that my body was just made to look amazing in wedding dresses. Go figure.

Those dresses are beautiful, and I know you'll find one that's not only gorgeous, but perfect. Good luck, and happy standing around in your undies, er... hunting.

Dec 08, 2008

I, too, had the "no strapless" mantra and then, of course, ended up in a strapless. Something about the way wedding dresses are made with so much more substance and undergirding, they don't seem to cause any of the armpit boob and constant need for tugging up that regular strapless dresses cause.

Dec 08, 2008

I had the exact same experience with wedding dress trying-on (in fact, I didn't even want a "real" wedding dress; my mom insisted on taking me dress shopping). I was pretty opposed to the idea of a strapless dress. Until I tried a few on, and they all looked really good on me. Who knew? The one I ended up with had everything I was looking for (cheap, lots of color that I got to choose, lace-up back) and I had the option of these tiny spaghetti straps, but it looked better without them.

The down side to the dress shopping experience is that once you buy one, the shop has no reason to treat you nicely. My sister and I both had bad experiences with the alterations racket (my sister's story is one of nightmarish proportions), so my advice would be either to buy off the internet and find your own seamstress to alter the dress, or buy it from a shop and tell them you'll take it home once it comes in. You'll have to be responsible for the care of the dress once you take it (don't hang it where a cat will climb it, etc.) but that way you can take it to whomever you want to do any necessary alterations. I planned my wedding from 3 states away and was only going to be in CA a week beforehand so my dress had to stay at the shop and I was subjected to the mercy of the in-house alterations lady.

Dec 08, 2008

I love both of those and know you would look fabulous in either!

Dec 08, 2008

I'm a wedding photographer, and I will say to you what all of us wedding photographers say to each other and that is "please, no more strapless." They are beautiful dresses, but here's a few problems that tend to be encountered. First, they often aren't flattering. You are gorgeous and petite and I'm sure you won't have that problem, but for a lot of women they expose hidden problem areas. Second, a good portions of brides we see wearing strapless spend most of their wedding day hitching their dress up and paranoid that it's slipping down. Dress hitching doesn't make for good candid shots, and why spend your wedding day stressing out over whether or not your dress is staying up. And lastly, there's good reason for hitching, because most of us have caught at least one nipple shot in our day (usually during bouquet throwing, or while getting down at the reception). So keep that in mind while hunting, I'm sure you will find the perfect dress :D Good luck!

Dec 08, 2008

Wow, both of those dresses are gorgeous! I can picture either one on you. Very classy and elegant, just like you.

Glad I gave you the underwear warning, heehee. I just wish someone had warned me when I went wedding dress shopping! I was not expecting it at all and I was so embarrassed to have this tiny little "perfect" girl in the dressing room with me standing behind me while my big butt in tiny unders was stuck in her face (not literally, but I am tall). So, yeah. Poor girl. Poor me!

But back to your dress! I can't wait to see the final product! And please do keep us informed as the planning goes along. I love to read about flowers, dresses, cakes, and all that stuff.

Dec 08, 2008

I can relate to all our your posts lately as a fellow bride-to-be.
YES! The nakedness! I was in a room with my mother, sister and 2 bridesmaids and MY bridal consultant, Olga, in my undies for far too long.
And (hopefully its not just me), it is so hot getting in and out of those dresses! I was totally sweating. Sweaty and naked - not words I thought would describe wedding dress shopping. Good luck!

Dec 08, 2008

That first dress is exquisite.

Dec 08, 2008

I love the first one as well.. its just timeless and looks so vintage and old Hollywood like... but at the end its you that is going to wear it and like everyone said before me... its like buying a house.. you know when you try it on and realized OMG, THIS.IS.THE.DRESS!

My best friend is a fashion designer in NYC and I'm sooo tapping him to make my dress, when my time comes to walk down the aisle, (next year) but I'm sooo going to go shopping to get the ideas of what I want and the first dress gave me ideas!

Dec 08, 2008

Also, I'm curious, since it's been four years since I went wedding dress shopping - did you have to try on dresses that were a size or two larger than you normally wear? Because back then, that seemed to be the standard, which I found to be incredibly insulting. Why not make wedding dresses a size or two SMALLER than you normally wear, just to make the bride feel special, even if that feeling is totally false?

I was told this is because the bridal industry sticks to vintage sizing -- where today's size 8 is actually 1950s size 14 or whatever.

But whatever, I'm totally of the mindset that if it bothers you, cut out the tag!! I know, easier said than done if you can't find anything in your size in the first place, but if you can and it bothers you...I actually had a cardigan from a store that just sized everything differently than other stores. So the size number on the tag was my normal number + 4. Since it was a cardigan, I would take it off occasionally while at work/school and leave it on my chair -- where people could TOTALLY see that number (if they cared, which obviously no one ever does but you). Despite knowing that it was silly, that number on the tag bothered me so much that one day, I grabbed a pair of scissor and snipped off that number. It's been happily ever after ever since.

Dec 09, 2008

Love the dress. I agree with you about just standing there in your underwear. However, have you ever gone for a proper bra fitting? Then you stand there topless. Makes the wedding dress fitting somehow seem modest.

the sassy kathy
Dec 09, 2008

hehe - you make me laugh. glad it was a relative success! (minus the awkward naked time)

Dec 09, 2008

Those dresses are both stunning. The first one is pure glamour (and I'm sure it makes your already tiny waist look absolutely miniscule with that ruching) and the second one is simply breathtaking.

I, too, thought "no strapless" and then somehow ended up purchasing a strapless dress. I almost had it converted to a halter, just on principle.

As for being naked - when I tried on dresses it was not only the bridal consultant in the room but also my grandmother, sister, mother and best friends. Oddly enough - despite all the awkwardness of being partially nude in front of a stranger, family and friends alike - I miss the dress appointments (and the mimosa-filled brunches that followed) the most now that the wedding is over.

Best of luck with the rest of the dress search. I can't wait to see what you choose!

Dec 09, 2008

Holy cow, Holly - that IS swank! I picked out all my dresses, too, but had to haul them to the dressing room myself. Luckily, the magic dress was #7. I tried on a few afterwards, just in case, but it was #7 by a long shot.

More dress pics! More dress pics! Tried on any more lately?

- M

Dec 09, 2008

I, being a bigger girl, spent entirely TOO Much time in my undies 1/2 exposed to random strangers while trying on dresses. UGH.

My only caution: Please be careful if you are thinking of purchasing your dress (at a reduced/cheaper price) online. Especially Ebay. Many places that sell online aren't authorized to sell particular brands and are getting them from sketchy sources. Ebay has alot of knock off dress listings claiming to be the real thing. Don't get me wrong.. you can score awesome deals via Ebay or online.. but just be cautions. Please!!!!

Dec 09, 2008

I wanted straps and sleeves...I ended up with a super high neck that acted like straps and no sleeves. Because apparently wanting to be sleeved on your wedding dress is tantamount to treason. The look of horror on the salesperson's face when I mentioned sleeves was priceless.

Dec 09, 2008

I absolutely love the one your friend picked out. It's gorgeous.

Jennifer R
Dec 09, 2008

First of all.... EDDIE IZZARD!!!!!

OMG someone else who likes him!!!

YAY!!!!! I think I love you! (Kidding!)
He is my alltime favorite

Anywho, I remember trying on dresses... I didn't want color on my dress. Guess what I got? A dress with baby blue crystals on it. And mine was diamond white (more like ivory) instead of white. But I am so white I am almost see through so bright white didn't look good on me. Can't wait to see what you get when all is said and done.

Dec 09, 2008

I love the dress that is your favorite. Go with what you love, and don't worry about strapless slipping down, as mentioned in the wedding photographer's comment. If your dress is altered properly, you won't have to worry about a thing. I wore strapless and had no slippage issues at all.

Good luck with your decision--you'll find something perfect, I'm sure!

Dec 10, 2008

Oh man, you are making me want to have another wedding so badly...
I would pick the one your friend likes for ME. Good lord that's gorgeous, and so modern yet old Hollywood glam at the same time. However, I think your fave (which is also stunning) is more you. I say this of course having never met you and knowing little about you other than the part of your personality you choose to present on the internet : ) But yes. It's more you.