“So, do you feel like a bride?” my consultant asked in her glowing salesperson voice.
I was standing on a pedestal in the middle of the David’s Bridal, shifting uncomfortably in a cinched-in, tulle explosion of a gown that I hated. I couldn’t breathe, I hadn’t even had time to see myself in the mirror before being herded in front of the store full of customers, and now a perky lady was pinning veils and tiaras to my head.
I stole a quick glance at my mother, hoping that she would see the screaming panic in my eyes.
“Uh,” I replied.
When I set out with Mom that morning, I had been feeling optimistic. Happy, even. I was going to go try on my wedding dress, for crying out loud. I already had some ideas in mind, and I couldn’t wait to browse my way leisurely through the store and pick out The Perfect Dress. It would be simple and elegant and on sale. It would have a pretty pink sash tied around the middle. I would fall in love with it right there.
But that was before the actual shopping experience. Before being forced out of my clothes and into an ill-fitting bustier. Before cringing half-naked in a claustrophobic, mirrorless dressing room while I waited for my consultant to bring me more hideous things to try on.
The first thing that I had told her was that I absolutely wanted a simple style. I’m having an outdoor garden wedding at the end of May, and I wanted to be light and comfortable for the occasion. Besides, I’m not taken to frills and extravagance, which anyone at the store could have guessed by my outfit of jeans, a T-shirt, and plaid sneakers. I explained all of this to her, and I made it clear that I didn’t want a train, didn’t want to be weighed down in billowy tulle, didn’t want a tiara because I am not actually a queen, and didn’t want a veil in my face. Simple, simple, simple.
So of course the very first thing that she picked out for me (and then actually dressed me in, thank you very much) had nothing in common with my wishes except that it was, in fact, a white dress. Even worse, it had an intricate lace-up system in the back, so by the time she had done the whole thing up, I was unable to move any of my upper body at all. Looking in the mirror, I felt nothing even resembling bridehood.
I looked like a cupcake princess.
When the other women on the floor oohed and aahed over me in my voluminous state, I glared back.
Finally, my mother intervened, and somehow she got our consultant to pull some better options. Only slightly better, though. Five or six dresses later, I was still vehement in my protest against tulle, and I was exhausted and sweaty and still couldn’t breathe, thanks to my borrowed undergarments. When I was unable to take it anymore, we returned home dress-less.
I tried to moan about the ordeal to my fiancé (who was appropriately sympathetic), but I stopped myself. After all, I did choose to have a traditional-ish wedding, and dresses and poofy fabrics sort of come with the territory. I realized I should be happy that all the rest of my wedding planning, from the catering menus to the flower arrangements, had actually been a lot of fun.
Besides, I ended up finding my perfect dress later on davidsbridal.com. The dress was hundreds of dollars cheaper than anything I had tried on in the store, it was shipped directly to my house (where I got to try it on in my own underwear and in the privacy of my bathroom), and I didn’t have to deal with consultants and pedestals. It even has a pretty pink sash.
Best of all, it does not make me look like a baked good of any kind.