Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Priorities In Order? Check.

How did it go, you ask?

I wouldn't say that it was the worst two days of my life, but it definitely ranks in the Top 10. I felt that this administration was significantly harder than the summer administration. In particular-- and maybe it's just me, since I can't really quantify why I feel this way-- I thought the MBE was very, very different in tone, in question structure, and in content than last time. Fallout from the whole "PMBR is stealing our questions" thing?

But who cares? I found my wedding dress!

I swear to you, I didn't intend to actually buy anything. Hulio and I had planned to try on dresses to see which style(s) suit me best, and then I wanted to buy it online, either via Craigslist (Oh Motherlode of All Things Good and Often Cheap), or direct from the Chinese sweatshops that supply gowns to retailers here in the U.S., thanks to the magic of eBay. So I didn't even make any special monetary arrangements or take along my checkbook when we headed out on Friday morning.

But let me back up.

I took the bar on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday morning, I got up early, did my dishes, ate breakfast, packed my suitcase, gathered my dirty laundry, cleaned my bedroom and bathroom, changed the cat's litter and washed her food and water bowls, loaded the suitcase and laundry (God, I love free washing machines!) into the car, drove over to Ash's, where I picked up the materials for my Save the Dates, my invitations, and my laptop, plus my library books, drove over to the library to return those books and pick up the stuff that I had on hold there. I was on the road by 2 p.m., and I drove almost straight through, in a hurry to get to My Hometown in time to surprise my grandmother at their Thursday night fellowship group. She's had two knee replacements in the past year or so, and they recently found a massive infection in her newest knee, so she was hauled in for not-quite-an-emergency-but-you-really-don't-want-to-wait surgery, and now she's in the midst of a very intense course of antibiotics. Once the infection gets stomped by drugs, she has to go back for another knee. You can imagine how happy this makes her, especially since she's in her 80's, so this is not exactly minor surgery for her. The last two hours of the drive involved a driving rainstorm with gusting wind, and you can imagine how happy that made me.

Nonetheless, I was up bright and early Friday morning to meet Hulio for a daylong trek to look for The Perfect Dress. We hit my favorite place for breakfast first, and I gorged on a crepe with turkey, mushrooms, and avocado, doused in Hollandaise. Mmmmm... mushrooms... hollandaise... I simply don't understand people who skip breakfast. How could you miss out on a meal with so many delicious possibilities? And then we were off to the store where her sister had bought a wedding dress years earlier. We wanted to start there for several reasons, including it's location in the local "wedding district", the fact that it's a locally owned business, and the insane number of gowns on the premises. It seemed like a good strategic decision.

I was a little apprehensive about this part of the wedding planning, having learned a lot about the industry and its deceptive practices in my research, and having heard many, many stories by other women I know who were treated unbelievably badly by the staff at wedding shops. The practices are nearly unbelievable in their nastiness and dishonesty, with the attitude seeming to be "Repeat customers? We don't need no steenking repeat customers!". But I know that not every business is run that way, and I heard some wonderful stories (though, it is worth noting, not nearly as many as the bad stories) about kind salespeople and lovely dresses at decent prices as well. I hoped for goodness and didn't stress it too much, because, hey! I wasn't going to buy a dress yet, anyway!

We were assigned to a saleswoman and she led us back through the racks-- the rows and rows and rows of racks!-- of dresses, asking about the wedding date and location and my budget. I told her that I didn't want to spend much more than $400-- a ridiculously low amount of money for a wedding dress. She didn't bat an eye. Instead, she said, "Well, then let's start with this rack here", and showed us to a rack of discontinued samples that were being sold at clearance. Excellent! Poised at the head of the very long row of plastic sheathed dresses, she asked me what kind of dress I had in mind, and I, never having been the kind of girl who dreamed about her wedding and planned the exact details years before she got engaged, answered "Not strapless." I thought about it for a moment and added "And no huge train." "Okay!" she answered, and we all dove into the racks.

I could not believe how heavy the dresses were. I mean, I sort of knew that they are basically a huge mound of fabric held together with a few tons of beads and sequins and such, but it didn't really sink in until I was feeling the ache in my arms before we were half way down the first rack.
Wow, are there some ugly dresses out there. Hulio and I have a pact: no butt bows, ever. And it is our sworn duty as best friends to smack the other across the face, ridicule her in front of others, even rip the nasty thing off if necessary. Therefore, there was lots of superfluous giggling whenever we saw a butt bow. Several times, we got all excited about a fabric or a detail only to have the image shattered when we pulled the dress from the rack only to find that it had some other fatal flaw. Still, in short order we'd pulled about six dresses from the rack and handed them over to our saleswoman. By that time, my arms were tired and the dresses were starting to look a little alike, so the executive decision was made to try on what we had and take it from there.

Back in the dressing room, the saleswoman complimented my breasts (Me: "Hehehe. Thanks! They're natural!" No, not really. I mean, yes, they really are natural, but I didn't say that. I just laughed and mumbled something non-commital.), and helped me put on the first dress... and I couldn't get it off fast enough. It was, ummmm, a little slinkier than I'd planned to wear for my church wedding. After that, though, we found something we liked about every dress, but none was perfect. If only I could have the fabric from #2 and the neckline from #3 and the skirt from #4... I stepped into the last of the batch and Hulio helped the saleswoman muscle the bodice closed and I turned on the pedestal toward the mirror, and suddenly I was a bride.

I looked at Hulio and said "I am so getting married!" and she said "Yes, you are!" and I started to cry and then the saleswoman brought out a veil and headpiece to try on and holy cow y'all, I am going to get married in just a few months! And I'm going to wear this gorgeous dress! As Hulio put it, it's exactly like me, exactly the sort of thing I would wear. The outside is organza with tiny little beaded flowers all down the bodice and into the skirt. There is a row of buttons down the back and a modest train with more tiny flowers all cascading along the folds.

The best part is, it fit. Almost perfectly. The straps-- it has spaghetti straps, if you didn't guess by the lead-in to this sentence-- will need to be shortened by about 1 cm, and I'll probably need a small dart under each armpit. Oh, and one of the little eyehooks is missing. And because it was the discontinued sample, it was $199. Plus sales tax. Original price $1075. I am the Queen of Wedding Bargains.

Hulio helped me start another wedding bargain I've been itching to work on: my Save the Date cards. I bought every package of dark blue cards from the Target clearance section, and scoured the internet for the perfect stamp. The result:
Well, apparently Blogger (Motto: "We put the 'free' in 'are you freaking kidding me?!'") doesn't want you guys to see any of this, so you will just have to trust me for now: they are sweet.

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4 Comments:

At 10:36 PM , Blogger luneray said...

See, something went right! Awesome!

Can't wait to see you on the Big Day. :)

 
At 11:06 PM , Blogger Sonja said...

First: I'm with you on the butt bow 100%. *shudder*
Second: YESSSSS! Congratulations on finding The Dress. And the price? Wow. Just... wow.

 
At 7:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray for you!

Your cupcake date

 
At 6:58 PM , Blogger pacatrue said...

$199 for a killer wedding dress? Damn.... You go.

And to echo Ethel from one post up, I don't think organza really exists. It's just in bridal magazines.

 

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