For about the first six months that followed the wedding, I often got asked how married life was treating me – or in one rather eye-roll inducing instance, if I had Matt “trained” yet.
My answer is always “the same”. The only big changes that happened in our relationship were my name change and setting up a joint checking account. Otherwise, we’re both the same people we were before we got married. We still have the same ridiculous conversations. We still binge watch Food Network shows on Netflix.
The thing is, before I met Matt, I always pictured marriage as this serious thing. My perception of it came from watching my mom’s and dad’s marriages. Television didn’t help much, either. Marriage in the media when I was growing up was usually portrayed one of two ways. 1 – Happy, wholesome, perfect families where the focus is mainly on the exploits of the kids (and maybe the parents getting flirty at the end – gross!), or 2 – Bumbling oaf and overbearing wife who don’t actually seem to like each other that much.
Neither of those were really my experience. I was usually preferred to play on my own, so I never really saw much of the interactions my parents had. It could be that I just didn’t see the lighter side of their marriages. Considering my mom’s second marriage ended in divorce, it could be that there wasn’t a playful side.
Regardless of why I felt that way, the reality was that I did. Then Matt and I got married and nothing changed. Don’t get me wrong, we do get serious sometimes. We take our relationship very seriously, and there are times that requires us to be serious. We talk about the boring stuff because it’s the boring stuff that keeps our lives running. After we get how we want to handle the car payment out of the way, we get to talk about the important things. Like what would happen if Baxter and I Freaky Fridayed and if it would be better if my mind went to work in Baxter’s body or if my body went to work with Baxter’s mind.
As for having Matt “trained”? If I hadn’t been so thrown by the question, I would have said he was already housebroken. One of the perks of marrying a guy who has lived on his own for a while is that he does his own laundry and knows how to cook. He also has a higher cleanliness standard than I do, so if anything, I could use some training.
My last post was about the prep work that went in to my dress shopping. This one gets down to the fun stuff.
I got to my appointment with my entourage in tow. My step mom, grandma, sister, sister in law and oldest niece came along to help out. It was a good sized group. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted it any bigger.
When we arrived, they told us to look around while my consultant checked to see which dresses on my favorites list were available. I was so overwhelmed. There were so many racks with so many dresses that were all in the clear bags. I felt really lost and had no idea what I was doing. I have this issue with stores like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, so it wasn’t really that surprising.
Luckily my consultant came back and we got to the business of trying on dresses. It was really surreal when I came out of the dressing room, all I could think of was “Holy crap. I’m in a wedding dress”. It took a while for that to wear off. Seriously. Me – in a wedding dress. It was so surreal.
There was one dress I really wanted to try on. I had read all the reviews and saw the pictures of other brides wearing it. It was so flattering on everybody. I obsessed over it. So, naturally, they didn’t have it in my size. She did pull it 2 sizes bigger so I could get a general idea of it.
It was lovely, but it wasn’t right. It had a train that was longer than I am tall. I just didn’t feel right in it. I tried on another very pretty dress, but I wasn’t in love with it. The top of it was itchy, and I wasn’t feeling the taffeta. There were a few others that just weren’t right. My sister in law and niece really wanted me to try on a ballgown, so I did. It was comical, and I really wish we had gotten picture of it. Giant dress! Tiny head! I looked like a barbie cake.
By that time, it was toward the end of my appointment, and I was no where near making a decision. My consultant told me she’d be happy to see me the next day. I made the appointment and spent the rest of the evening looking at the pictures on my phone.
The next day, I started with one of the ones I liked the previous night, and I still wasn’t sure of it. Meanwhile, the woman next to me had on a gorgeous dress. It had one of the biggest features I was looking for, and another I was hoping for, but wasn’t a deal breaker. I mentioned that to my consultant and she pulled it in my size.
The woman next door didn’t like, but I loved it. The fabric felt lovely (I later learned it was charmeuse). It was really flattering (aside from the 6 inches of fabric they’ll need to remove from the hem), and had just enough embellishment to make it interesting without being overwhelming. I didn’t want to take it off. It was discontinued. It was on sale.
I took it home with me that day.
One thing I learned was that you shouldn’t discount a dress by its picture online. I didn’t think I had seen the dress I bought online. I had passed it up because I didn’t really like it. In person it looked like a completely different dress. I noticed that with some of the others I tried on. I also really want to know who decided it was a good idea to photograph white dresses against a white backdrop.
One of my favorite pieces of advice I got was to go during the week. My first appointment was on a Thursday night and the place was dead. The next day was July 4th, and there were only two of us there that afternoon. It was nice to not feel like I was on display, and I got more attention from my consultant.
One last piece of advice is if the store allows it, try to get as many pictures as you can wearing the dresses. Some stores don’t, or they will only allow pictures of it after you’ve ordered your dress. Get them. It’s not uncommon to question your decision. Wedding dresses are imbued with a lot of meaning, it’s only natural to second guess it. The pictures have helped reassure me that I made the right decision.
As far as the fabric/construction quality concern, I didn’t really notice any issues. Did I mention the charmeuse? So soft and silky. I made everybody touch it.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience. Aside from being overwhelmed at the beginning, I really enjoyed myself. I got a dress that I love, and I can’t wait to marry Matt in it. He can’t wait to see it in 14 months.
Dress shopping is often considered the most exciting part of wedding planning for the bride. TV shows like Say Yes to the Dress and even sitcoms or movies make the experience out to be this wonderful, being treated like a princess event. And sometimes it is. But other times it’s a nightmare, or even just kind of a meh experience.
There are so. many. different ways you can get a wedding dress. Salons/Boutique, of course. Having a dress custom made/sewing your own really appeals to some people. There’s also the option to order online.
Now, I know David’s Bridal has a bad rep. They’re known for inconsistent service and lower quality dresses/materials. But I still decided to start with them. I’m the kind of person who likes to know what I’m getting and having a dress made would stress me out. There’s a lot of gray area around ordering online, because a lot of the retailers are based out of China, or at least source their material/labor from there. A lot of people seem to have good luck with it, so it really depends on what’s important to you.
My reason for starting at David’s and not a different salon is this – It’s one of the few dress retailers I found who actually list their prices on their website. I knew what I was getting with them, and I knew that I could afford their dresses. I did some research online about the location I was going to, and they seemed to have mostly neutral reviews, so I felt fairly comfortable going there. While I definitely didn’t want a low-quality dress, I decided I wanted to judge that for myself.
Beforehand, I thought a lot about what I’d be comfortable spending. It’s obviously a really personal decision based on what you can afford, and taking in account that I’ll (probably) only wear this dress once for about twelve hours. I came up with a number that I’d like to stay around and also a max I’d be willing to spend.
Once I had that number, I stalked browsed David’s website to find styles I liked. This basically boiled down to “oooh, that’s pretty!”, because I had no idea what styles would look good on me. I mostly steered away from ballgowns because I knew they’d overwhelm my 5 foot frame. But otherwise I had no clue.
I also took Matt’s preference in to account. Being as he is one of the least demanding people ever when it comes to what I wear, I wanted to accommodate his request that it show of my back a little bit.
Meanwhile, I also searched for other places I could go locally, in case I didn’t find anything at David’s. I mostly found them through WeddingWire and local bridal magazines (one of the only useful things I’ve found in bridal magazines is their local vendor listings). I researched the designers they carried and discovered there was one I really, really liked. I talked to a few people about where they bought their dresses, and picked one out that had good word of mouth. Fantastic! Backup plan set!