I'm really not your typical bride. Or maybe I am, and I just have these preconceived notions about brides.
I don't really care about feeling like a princess or whatever on my wedding day. My hair is probably just going to look like the best version of itself for my wedding, nothing new or done up. And I would rather not have "two hearts become one" printed on our programs. Kyle and I have our own, separate hearts, that make each of our bodies work. So that's that. I mean, obviously we love each other, but I think there are cooler ways for us to express that to our families and friends at our wedding. I don't want to walk down the aisle to the Wedding March or have vases of sand or dance with my dad to "Butterfly Kisses." All of those things are all beautiful and wonderful for the right people, they just aren't right for me. So, yeah, I'd say I'm sort of an antibride.
Well, then I ordered my wedding dress.
I think I said I wasn't going to order it just yet. I think I said I wanted to just try some on and then think it over. That's what I said. Then, something magical happened and I became a bride while standing in front of the mirror at The Rose Tree.
Here's the story.
I was in town staying with my family for the week of Thanksgiving, so we figured that would be a good time to go try on some dresses. No work or school for anyone, so, yeah, perfect. I'm not really sure why I thought this was a good idea, but I decided that David's Bridal would be a good place to start. Nothing against David's Bridal, but this was just not a good experience for me. The night before we had decided to go, I started getting some serious anxiety about the whole thing. I was manically texting Kyle, who was still in Tennessee at the time, and he's all "Chill out, crazy lady." He didn't understand! I was going to have to go try on dresses and come out in them for everyone to see, and then have everyone tell me their thoughts and feelings about how I looked in them. Who the eff wants to do that? Not. Me. But I know it's just part of this whole wedding process, so I had to bite the bullet and move on.
On Monday morning, I chose a comfortable but cute outfit for shopping that was easily removed and put back on in dressing rooms. Little did I know how handy this would be when I was ready to fly out of that dressing room and GTFO of there. My mom drove my sister, brother and I to David's Bridal, and the whole time I'm getting increasingly more nervous. I get there, register, get a consultant and talk to her about what I'm looking for. As I'm talking to her I realize, I have no effing clue what I want. I'm telling her a million different things, and somehow I've become one of those crazy people from Say Yes to the Dress who want everything and nothing at the same time. My mind is whirling, but I see some really beautiful Vera Wang gowns and think "This might not be so bad."
My consultant picks out a few dresses for me and makes sure to tell me that she has to pull dresses that are actually way bigger than I need because of how they are sized and tries to reassure me that she's not trying to offend me, when what she actually did is just make me more nervous and self-conscious. Awesome. I've bought formal dresses before, I know the drill.
So I go into the mirrorless, coat-closet-sized dressing room and begin to put on the undergarments she gave me. A corset and a weird slip thing with some tulle on it. The corset is too big, the slip is too small, and there's gum stuck onto the walls in the dressing room. This is off to a great start.
She put me into 6 dresses in the hour-and-a-half's time I was there. I tried on the Vera Wang one, and as beautiful as it was, it just wasn't right for me. It was too big on the bottom, too much going on for an outdoor wedding, and while it was beautifully made, it was not the most flattering thing for me. Three of the others were ok, and the other two I hated to my very core, but still put on a nice smile and tried to be polite and stand there for a respectful amount of time since it took her 10 minutes to get me into one of the because it had a lace-up back, which I hate.
At one point while the consultant was going back to pull more dresses, I turned to my mom, sister and brother and said, with a few more choice words, that I was ready to go and became more frustrated when my mother informed me that I'd only been there for half an hour. I survived and was so glad to get that corset off and my leggings back on. Flustered and frustrated, we went to Panera for some lunch and regrouping. My family didn't really understand why I was on the verge of breaking out in hives, because the consultant was indeed very nice and it was the first time I'd tried on dresses. The entire thing was just not what I'd expected and I was already feeling defeated and self-consious. Honestly, there is nothing worse than trying on formalwear and bathing suits.
After lunch, we started driving back toward Huntington, and decided to go to The Rose Tree because my friend Jessica was working and there weren't really any customers there to bother us. We arrive, me with a newly sore nail that I have nervously chewed to the quick in the car after the David's Bridal fiasco, and I think to myself "You just need to try some on and see what you like. Just stay calm." Here's the thing about The Rose Tree. They have horror stories of their own. Alteration mishaps, ordering the wrong dress, snobby workers, etc. I've heard them all and even been involved in some, and while I understand that these things happen sometimes, I just really wanted to avoid dealing with any sort of dress shop altogether. I'd order my dress online and that would be that. But the problem with The Rose Tree is that no matter how many bad things you've heard about them, the truth is that they have REALLY great stuff and really know what they're doing. Their lighting is better, they have nicer dresses and the experience of trying on dresses there is just an overall better one. Since Jessica was there helping me, too, it was so much better than David's Bridal. She knows me and knows what the wedding is going to be like, she's been married already and knows what goes into it and how stressful it can be, and she's my friend so there was no fear of hurting her feelings if I hated a dress she picked for me to try. She would just say, "Ok, you don't like it? Next!" Just what I needed.
So here I am, all "Not getting a dress today, dodododah," and she puts me in the first one. Something happened. I know people say you just know when it's the right dress, but I never believed them. I always thought that was a crock for those princess-y brides. Well, people, when you are put into a dress that is flattering and beautiful and you're standing on that little white box with the nice lights hitting your face and making everything sparkle, then you know. It's real. I even had the hugest zit ever on my chin and it was like it just sort of disappeared. Or I just didn't notice it anymore. The weirdest thing was that this dress was not at all what I thought I wanted. I said I didn't want beads, it has beads. I only tried on strapless dresses at David's Bridal, but this one has straps. I thought I wanted lace, but this dress has none. But somehow, when I put this dress on, I went from being a grumpy, stressed out, engaged girl with a gnawed off fingernail, to a bride. I tried on a few other dresses after that one, just to see, and I just kept thinking about the first one. So we put that one back on, and it was like when Flora, Fauna and Merryweather make Aurora's dress in Sleeping Beauty and she goes and dances with the Prince. As princess-y as that is, it is true. It was like it was meant for me. Jessica picked out a jeweled hair comb for me that matched the dress and stuck it in my hair and I just laughed and said "Who am I?" My family was crying. It was the weirdest and best thing ever.
I told Jessica I was going to sleep on it that night before deciding anything, and then I literally had dreams about the dress. So I took that as a good sign. I waited until their Black Friday sale and went to order it with my mom and sister and one of my oldest friends, Zachary. I want to take all of my girlfriends and cousins to see it when it comes in, so that will be wonderful. I've already showed most of them a photo, but I'm anxious for them to see it in person.
Now that the dress is ordered, I feel so much better. I didn't expect to feel so relieved, but I do, and now I feel like Kyle and I can really plan things. It's starting to feel a little more exciting and a little less stressful. I'm still an antibride, just an antibride with a dress.