The woes (and rewards) of wedding dress shopping

in Cherimie Crane/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane

 

 

After months of dragging my Flintstone-flat feet and eloquently expressing every single excuse — some real, some not so real — I went wedding dress shopping.

For some girls this day is something planned, organized, and anticipated in ways only girls who dream of weddings can understand. I am not that girl. I spend my days drudging through construction sites, debating square footage  ad nauseam, all the while my biggest concern usually involves sub contractors and summer storms. My dreams are more in line with a career as a new star in Swamp People rather than being the center of attention, in the center of a church, wrapped tightly in the center of a dress best described as nothing short of material mayhem.

My reasons for not attempting this majestic feat were more of a personal nature. I just didn’t want to do it. I used work, weather, and world events as completely rational justifications for avoiding anything that resembled a bridal shop. My fears were quite real, matter of fact so real they crept gently into my slumber on numerous occasions sending me into a screaming fit. I am not afraid of snakes, but for the love of all things sacred,  please don’t send me into a bridal shop. Put me to work, make me clean windows, anything but measure me and shove me into something that is better served as a winter duvet. Call after call, voicemail after gently aggressive voicemail, my ever-so-patient girlfriends urged me politely to fit a fitting into my schedule. After months of mysteriously short term illnesses, several creatively appointed appointments, and avoiding anyone who will be attending my wedding, I surrendered.

Anxiety is a peculiar ailment, coming on with no particular warning and body slamming the unsuspecting bride-to-be with gale force. Most brides carefully curb their diets, faithfully hydrate and steer clear of vices that react poorly to those functions most necessary to beauty. I ate three packs of Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, downed a Diet Coke, a Mountain Dew, two packs of some cracker cheese substitute, and a slightly outdated sleeve of cashews. This is not a diet of champions, nor is it a good idea to inhale such sultry salty treats precisely 34 minutes before being shoe-horned into satin. Good ideas seem only to come to me in written form, actions are more of a challenge. I digress.

It was nothing short of mortifying. Dress after beaded, pearled, ruffle laden dress, I waddled towards the three sided mirror that I couldn’t help but notice reminded me of the fun house at our state fair back home. It wasn’t quite as fun. No matter how hard that poor bridal consultant slash social worker slash esteem builder slash slayer of dreams, tried, each dress had some feature that emphasized my obvious inexperience in pageantry. Not too mention, they were so darn uncomfortable. It became quite clear to me why weddings are meant as a one time event. Why would anyone want to wear this stuff twice?

Feeling about as salt-infused, caffeine dried, and carb-loaded as a gal can feel, I tried on one more duvet. I am fairly certain the clouds parted, the trumpets sounded, and the angels said yipppeee, because that is what Southern angels say. Thank you Lord above and ground below, it didn’t require the assistance of a small army, it didn’t ravage me of my dignity, nor did it resemble a four-tiered cake. Without rhinestones, without net, without odd beads that resemble fishing lures, it was no longer without a bride. I looked in the state fair-style mirror and, for the first time, I was all right with me. It wasn’t an overly dramatic moment, I didn’t feel any need to burst in to song or dance, but I did feel the need to purchase it immediately to avoid anymore mishaps with mesh.

Not every woman dreams of dresses, wishes for white knights, or plans the picture perfect pairing of ceremony meets sanctuary. Every woman does dream of comfort, acceptance, and contentment. All of which may very well be bologna, so we shoe horn ourselves into satin with the hopes that we can at least manage two out of three.