Happy Tuesday all my blog besties! Where have the days gone? Where has my mind gone? What a whirlwind! I have so many thoughts, so much to still sort out and process in my mind and as happy and loved as I feel, I’m emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. It’s the proverbial calm after the storm and I’m busy picking up pieces and making sense of the past few days.
I’m DYING for some wedding pictures to share with everyone and it’s totally bizarre not having pictures at the ready. Normally I am snapping away all the time so it’s odd to not have photos of such a special and important event. Patience, Ali. :)
So I owe you wedding recaps and I STILL owe you engagement pictures. Terrible, I know! Thanks for your patience as well guys. I left off last week showing you the first half of wedding dresses I considered and rejected and I thought I’d finish that off today. It’s totally amazing looking back now at all these options and some I think are down-right terrible, but it’s the process you go through…
We left off with the dress I ordered – a lovely and simple gown that fit all the criteria.
It wasn’t necessarily a wow dress on me, but considering everything I’d tried on up to that point, it was definitely the winner (and I was SO done trying on dresses). So I waited for my dress to arrive and kept glancing back at the picture of my beautiful strapless dress. This is where I got really mentally down on myself – hating that I was overweight and uncomfortable in the gown and wishing I’d taken better pains to lose weight earlier so I could wear it…
Most of you know the rest by now – the months ticked by and various stress elements got to me. I gained back half of the weight that I’d lost before trying on dresses and when my dress arrived, it didn’t fit. Not even close.
Back to the drawing board and now with just 4 months before the wedding and not enough time to order anything. We were left with off-the-rack options.
I took a deep breath and after many conversations with friends, we realized my heart was on my pretty strapless dress. All of this drama was a sign; that was the dress I was in love with and needed to get. I spent two days calling every single bridal store in the state of Wisconsin to find the dress in the size I needed. No dice. After scouring the web, we found a place that could order it and have it arrive in time. Eureka!!! We decided to try it on in the store one final time before placing the order…
This is where I probably hit an all-time wedding dress low. I had gained just enough weight back where the dress didn’t look cute an adorable anymore. My hair loss made my hair look limp and lifeless and overall, I looked tired and NOT cute. I won’t lie, it was a devastating moment and I had no idea if I’d even find anything at that point. So I resigned to loosen my criteria and try stuff outside my comfort zone to give myself more options.
Dress #8: The Underwear Dress
When you’re pressed for time and completely stressed out, you start pulling anything and everything off the rack that’s in your size and try and make it work. You close one eye, you tell yourself it’s not AS BAD as you think, and you grimace and try to keep a smile plastered on your face when you realize there is absolutely nothing that looks very good…
The dress I affectionately call the underwear dress had BOTH the corset back and was strapless. We added a belt but still, I thought it looked like some poofy lingerie-type thing. Ugh, ugh.
Dress #9: The Bunchy Form-Fitting Dress
I’m not sure what made the sales lady think this was a good pick for an obviously self-conscious, demoralized shopper. This dress hugged everywhere (and not in a good way) and had this weird bunch of material below the tummy that we couldn’t smooth out no matter how we tried. Triple yuck!
Dress #10: The New Front-Runner
Finally we pulled a dress that (again) on paper had all the stuff I was looking for. Ironically, it was also a few sizes too big. You can see the sales lady in the back of the photo trying to tug the dress around my waist so it actually looks better. I wasn’t nuts about the large bands of rouching or the fact that the skirt didn’t flare out like a true “A” line, but it was the best options we had and I left the store to muddle it over. The previous dress I had purchased was also too big and I was a bit concerned about how it would lay and fit after all the alterations…
Dress 11: The Loaner
My dear friend and matron of honor also offered up her first wedding dress as another possible option. Oddly enough, the hemline looked pretty good and aside from a few minor alterations at the bust line, it looked like it would do in a pinch. Not my favorite, not the most flattering around my shoulders, but part of the mental concession I was battling with in my head.
That night I went back onto the bridal store’s website to look for some more images of the new front-runner dress. They don’t tell you the designer so I was left scouring through page after page of dresses trying to find it. Suddenly, I saw MY dress – the style that somehow I’d always envisioned but never saw in a store or was able to articulate. It was “perfect”. I called the store first thing the next morning with my heart in my throat – and was told they didn’t carry it but they could order it and it would arrive 2 months after my wedding. Whomp whomp.
Feeling a bit discouraged, I printed out the picture and tried a new bridal store the following morning. I didn’t tell her I was in a time crunch, I didn’t tell her I needed it off the rack AND in my size, I just showed her a picture of my dress and asked her to show me the closest thing she had to it in stock. She smiled at me, walked down a row of dresses, pulled a dress down, flipped it around, and it was THE SAME DRESS. IN MY EXACT SIZE.
I figured I tried almost 70 dresses since I started looking in August of last year. It was one of the most miserable experiences I’ve ever gone through. A lot of people told me it was “meant to be” to find that dress but honestly, I could have done without all of the mental warring and drama. The second I put it on, I knew it was what I wanted. I didn’t have to compromise. I just stood in the changing room of the store all by myself and felt good. :-)
And I can’t wait to show it to all of you!!!
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