March 31, 2010

Bridesmaid Dresses, Take III

Posted in Fashion at 8:45 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

At first I was frustrated. Scratch that, I AM still frustrated, to be perfectly honest, that I can’t just select an adorable frock for my bridesmaids from my favorite store, Anthropologie. Or perhaps one of the dressier, cute options at my second favorite store, ModCloth.

I mean, that’s what I’d always intended to do, in my caviar dreams of what my wedding would be like. Back in the days when I felt as though I held a magic wand in my sweet little paws. A magic wand that with a flick of the wrist would send make-everything-pretty dust all across Paisley weddingdom.

I merrily selected my bridal party, and then realized: my favorite stores don’t have the right sizes for my best girls!

The nerve! I mean, I’m truly offended.

It really sucks that my best ladies, and many ladies around the world, can’t just walk into any store they please and pick out a cute dress.

The past 10 months (I am not exaggerating) has been an exercise for me in life as an above-size-20 lady.

As junior high students, I remember shopping for an evening gown for a big school dance (I was not attending) with my future MOH. It was a difficult day trying to find something that worked. We only had two malls, and those were even an hour and half drive away. So, we made an entire day of it, my future-MOH, her mom, and me.

We probably made six trips, no joke, driving back and forth between the two malls. The gowns, made for a dress model and not for the myriad body types that are out there in the word, did not work. It took all day until a possible workable dress, a black one with beading, was procured.

I still remember her mother whispering to me just in case, to remind me to be sensitive in all my comments. She didn’t have to worry, I had been made both mute, befuddled, awkward and profusely sympathetic because of the experience. Every time a possible dress was donned, I overflowed with enthusiasm like a Cowboys cheerleader on steroids. More than anything, I wanted that magic wand RIGHT NOW, to wave and make all the dresses become flattering for my best girl.

I only felt empathy for her as I came to this new realization in my uneducated eighth grade mind: off the rack clothes don’t always fit just as-is. Many people struggle. Many people are not 5’9 1/2″ tall size 2s or 4s or 6s. They get things taken in, let out and hemmed. I had no idea.

When it came time to select my bridesmaid dresses, and my initial bubble was burst when I first realized the size limits at most of my favorite stores, my memory dredged up that junior high experience of long ago. I braced myself, and began my search like a soldier going into battle. Despite my best efforts, I came out like Napoleon at Waterloo.

If only I, too, could be banished to an island with a limited wine list as my punishment. Then I would be far, far away from this hell, this utter and complete hell, I find myself in now.

Yes, planning a wedding is hell. There comes a time when every resource has been wrung dry, when every single possible dress has been tried on, purchased and sent back.

Then the reluctant bride stares straight in the face of the place she’d been too high and mighty to acknowledge, exalted as she was on her high throne of supposed “bridal standards.”

David’s Bridal.

Da da dum. If my grandmother even knew what David’s Bridal was, I could see her turning her WASPY nose up in the air and, in her best Miss Jane Brodie, saying: “You, my dear, are the crème de la crème of brides…and the crème de la crème doesn’t do David’s Bridal.”

You know what? Let me just stop right here to say that brand loyalty and loathing are really the hallmarks of human stupidity. We’re willing to pay more for something just because of a stupid name. I’ve fallen for it. The advertising and brainwashing’s worked, damn bridal magazines, Style Me Pretty, and yes, Weddingbee.

David’s Bridal.

It has the sizes. It has lots of stores, so that’s it. With time ticking away, it’s a done deal. I’m sending my ‘maids out into the front lines this time. No more five hour drives to try on dresses for them, no more countless hours researching. I’m picking a color, a fabric and a few styles, and sending them in to choose and try on. They must try on. I’ll have no more send-backs, thankyouverymuch.

OK, one more battle for me: I’m going in today to see the styles in person and set up my account so my ladies can place their orders.

For a hot minute, I contemplated with envy how my MOH could walk into David’s Bridal and pick any style for me, her MOH, and her sisters and other bridesmaids, without needing to worry whether they’d fit properly. Then I realized, for this one experience, she gets to have an easy dress buying experience. She damn well deserves it. With my dress buying experience, I’m getting to see life from the perspective of someone with curves. And for all the hair-pulling frustratingness of it, I’m actually glad to walk in someone else’s shoes for awhile.

Humor me and let me pretend you’re all devout readers of my blog. Then, you’re probably wondering, wasn’t I all set with the cute Aria dresses?

You’re right, I was! Sort of. We were just about to order within the cutoff time at Aria when…

…My mom found a beautiful, affordable dress within the Paisely ‘maids’ tight budgets, and in all the right sizes. She found them online at one of her favorite shopping sites, Northstyle. Here it is:

Gorgeous! That’s my beautiful cousin and bridesmaid modeling it for me. She is so sweet, taking numerous photos the second it arrived and sending them to me.

At $70, it was such a great price. I thought the Battenburg lace and pale gold color looked like something out of Anthropologie:

But then not everybody ordered it by the deadline I set for them. I wanted them to order it in time to potentially send it back and still have time to order the Aria dresses in case these pretty gold dresses didn’t work.

I found out from one bridesmaid 6 days past the deadline I had set that she hadn’t ordered it. Sometime after my deadline, the store had closed temporarily for inventory until mid-April. Meaning, if the dress didn’t work/fit for this bridesmaid, who along with my MOH also has concerns about it fitting correctly, even more time would be wasted and the options would fast be slipping away. Even David’s Bridal has a cut-off ordering date of 8 weeks for a dress to be made and shipped. My wedding is in June here, folks!

My MOH, (who ordered when I asked, good girl!) received it the other day. But she tried it on and “HATED” it. I mean, and I quote, she thought she looked like a “gold Oompa Loompa.”

Of course she would wear it. She’d wear anything for me. But even though I thought it looked great on her, I didn’t want to have to look at her all day on the Big Day thinking about her Oompa Loompa comment (and potentially cracking up, because admit it Paisely, that is really funny).

By the way, if you’re going to say you hate something, but then quickly say you’re going to wear anything the bride wants, why say you hate it at all? Why not let the bride decide whether you’re Oompa Loompa-like? Because really, how can a bride possibly look past that sort of thing and forget it? She can’t!

Therefore, David’s Bridal, here we come.

Based on the experience of the Oompa Loompa dress, Aria might not have worked out, either! I think it’s best in this case for the girls to each try them on in person to ensure they’ll be satisfied.

I’m thinking anything in long navy blue chiffon. Let’s see how contorted that seemingly-simple sentence gets over the course of the next week or so when I come back with a Bridesmaid Dresses, Take IV post.

Hopefully that post will be my last on the subject.

Has anybody else had a harrying experience with bridesmaid dresses as the countdown to your wedding dwindles?

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