The Dress

I walked into the boutique and it was your standard wedding dress boutique. Cute with the pink walls and ecru and ivory colored dresses lined the walls. It was cozy, and empty. At the time I showed up, all the lights were off (due to an advisory for the LES to keep their power to a minimum in light of the heat and the shortage of power). I walked in and the lady behind the counter asked for me by name, “Victoria? Great to see you. Have a seat. Her fitting will take only a moment. Her dress is perfect for her already.” I looked around to see who she was talking about and there was a young woman with the matriarchs of her family sitting in a chaise waiting to see her in the “finished product”. She went into a rather large fitting room (seemingly the only one) and disappeared for a moment, all the while holding a pretty extensive conversation with the boutique attendant. She reemerged in what I can only assume was HER dream dress. Very simple ivory silk dress with ivory lace adorning the outside and a dusty rose sash going across her waist. Not a great dress as per my opinion, but she seemed rather pleased. As did the ladies on the chaise. They oooh’d and ahhh’d as she made her way out of the dressing room. “You’re so much tinier than you were when you first tried the dress on.” “Oh my god, you look so pertty… just a vision!” they doted on her. She seemed a little less than excited.

Looking away from her and panning across the boutique, one dress at the end of a rack caught my eye. Simple ivory satin with an embroidered waist and pleated ball room gown skirt. Could it be? I walked over to it and read the paneling, “A lady in New York called about this dress and wanted to see if we had it and batabing… we do… so call her at this number and see if she’ll come in to fit it.” It was my dress. Upon closer examination, it was really MUCH more beautiful than the pictures had led on. The waist was BEADED, not just cloth embroidered. It was really breath taking. But I also noticed the size tag that said “10” on it. “I’m never fitting into this dress,” I thought. I touched the skirt and the heaviness and smoothness of the silk satin touched me back. I got chills. It was amazing. “I wonder if I’m really going to be able to get a feel for what it looks like on me… I’m twice the size of this dress.” With a sigh, I turned back and walked to my chaise, just as the boutique attendant called my name. “We’re ready for you now. I see you found your dress. It’s gorgeous.” I nodded and smiled. This isn’t the first dress I’d be trying on. I’m sure it wouldn’t be the last. And all the reactions were lukewarm. Just a shrug and a curled side of my lip. “I could settle for it if I had to.”

They have brides-to-be out here with this expectation of a “feeling” that I was beginning to think didn’t exist. This overwhelming, all encompassing, tingles everywhere, goosebumpy, swooning kind of feeling when you find “The one” … whether it’s THE wedding hall or THE dress or THE bouquet. Funny thing is… I sure didn’t get a feeling about my Earl at first. But he’s all that matters now. So I never gave creedence to “the feeling”. I walked into the dressing room and Saronya gave me a great overview of what we’d be doing. She’d put a boustiere on me and then pin the dress to the boustiere wherever the dress couldn’t close. Being about my size, she assured me that she’d “tried” on almost every dress in the store and not to be worried. So I tried not to. I stripped down to my skivvies and she came in with the boustiere. She clasped it on behind me and I stood there actually admiring my shape in the mirror. “They do something to these boutique mirrors. They must have them bent just so and giving the impression that everyone is lean and svelte.” Then came the dress. She prepped it by putting both hands through the bottom and gathered the skirt to the top. “We’ll go up and over… you’ll have to push the ‘girls’ down through the bodice.” So I dove up into the dress and she slid it down around my waist. After much mussing and pushing and yanking at stray pieces of crinolin that got caught in the fitting, the dress was on around my bodice and the skirt was straightened to the floor. She zipped as far as she could and pulled and pinned everything else.

I looked in the mirror and mused to myself, “This is really nice….. but don’t get caught up…” I picked up the front of the skirt and walked daintily out of the dressing room. I hated the fact that I was there by myself because I needed one other more rational opinion besides my own. What if i thought it was HORRID… but it was perfect for me? Who would be there to say at that point? No one. Just me. I stepped up on the pedastal and turned to look at myself in the mirror where I stood frozen while Saronya fixed the skirt on the sides and back to give the full effect. I just stared. How perfect… as I felt this warm tingle… make its way from the back of my neck, up around my ears and shoot down to my fingertips. For a second there, I thought I was having a heart attack. I stared more at my own face in the mirror than I did at the dress. I was glowing and wasn’t trying to. I felt like royalty standing there… and even more so when Saronya placed the tiara and veil on my head. Once that was on, I could barely contain my tears. This was it. This was how I was going to look in about 500 days when I finally walk down that aisle to my ever patiently waiting Earl. I doted on the dress and Saronya agreed and noted great pieces about the dress… the flow of the skirt… the cinching quality of the waist beading… the holding power of the strapless bodice, etc… But I just stared. This was my dress.

I gushed on the phone to Maxine and begged her to come with me to try the dress in front of her later that day. She agreed. I placed the same call to Shamyra and Dominic. I BEGGED everyone to be brutally honest with me about the dress. When I re-emerged from the dressing room anew when they were with me, it was to that same chorus of oohs and ahs that the young girl earlier that day had heard from her family. The only difference was that now it was MY family: my matron of honor, my maid of honor and my brother. And it was continuous. “Oh my god, Vicky, you look so beautiful. You are glowing. This is perfect…”

And it is. I finally found it. Funny to think it was the FIRST DRESS I saved to my notebook on the Knot. Hilarious. Why’d I even bother to try the other dresses? Because I had to know what I don’t like.

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