The Stress of the Dress: Part One

When I think about shopping for my wedding dress, I cry.

Not in an “Oh my god, when I find the perfect dress, I’m going to look so beautiful and the entire wedding will be complete,” single tear glistening on my cheek kind of way.

Oh, no. I cry. Perhaps sob might actually be a little bit more appropriate.


This was not at all how I expected it to be. I really thought that dress shopping would be, if not easy, sort of fun.

I picture the photo shoot scene from Sex and the City. Okay, well maybe not me dancing around in Caroline Herrera or gazing longingly out the window in Vera Wang. But, you know, more along the lines of me gliding out of the dressing room towards my sisters and friends, who are holding glasses of champagne and doing that thing where you clap your hands like a hummingbird in glee because the dress is so pretty.

You know the thing.

I will admit that I am partially to blame for this stress and overwhelm. I did this to myself.

I blame the boutiques!

See, because all of my bridesmaids live out-of-state, whenever I am in the same town as one of them, I like to try and do something wedding-y. Both for the fact that I want to remember this process with those who I am super excited to have by my side the day of the wedding…and for the fact that I want to do bride-y things (hmmmm….can I add “y” to any word and make it an adjective? Only time will tell…)

So, during a recent trip to Chicago, I asked one of my bridesmaids if we could go dress shopping. Not to buy anything (that’s what I said. But of course I was secretly hoping that I would find the perfect dress, right in my budget, fall in love with it and just have to buy it right there on the spot!) She eagerly agreed and made us an appointment at a boutique owned by her friend.

Boutique = expensive.

(Just in case you weren’t aware of that, I wanted to point it out.)

Boutique also typically means that they only have one sample size. And it’s usually kind-of-on-the-small-side.

Apparently, in the show Say Yes to the Dress, (which I actually can honestly say that I have never watched, although I’m thinking about starting now to get some pointers) you are never supposed to try on a dress that you cannot afford. This makes sense to me. When I used to have my real estate license, I would tell people never to visit a condo that they could not afford. It would only make all of the ones that they could afford seem, well . . . cheap.

I’m not sure why I didn’t heed this sage advice. Perhaps it was the champagne (at least that part of my dress dream was present).

It probably didn’t help that I had just left the construction of my condo, where I had mentally calculated how many thousands of dollars I was going to have to spend on countertops and appliances. I went in to that dress appointment in mental-debt. And when I mentioned my budget to my stylist, I could almost hear her internal monologue say, “Okay, I have three dresses that you can afford.”

And they were all too small to try on….

(to be continued…)


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