Three weeks after we got engaged I went with my future mother-in-law to a small, local dress shop near my home town to try on wedding dresses. Before going, I went through a small stack of bridal magazines and tore out a variety of pictures of dress styles I liked. I knew I liked gowns that would cinch in at my natural waistline, that were simple, with ruching. I wasn't sure about glitter, crystals, and other embellishments, and figured that when I found my dress I would know.
Before going to the dress shop, I talked with a few girlfriends about the dress shopping experience. It was for sure something I was excited for, but I didn't quite understand the emotions surrounding The Dress. Now, don't misunderstand me: I love weddings. I love wedding dresses. I am just not a big clothes person so to me it was just another dress, albeit a very lovely white one. The friends I talked with were adament that if I didn't cry when I put on my dress, that it wasn't the right dress. I didn't know what to make of that - sure, I can be an emotional person, but I am not one to cry in those situations. I shrugged and said I would do my best to find the dress that I loved, that I couldn't see walking out of the store without, and left it there.
Of course those words were in the back of my mind that day at the dress shop. I showed The Boy's mom the pictures of the dresses I liked, and we started digging through the sample racks, trying to find dresses with ruching, with slight embellishments, in various tints and shades of white and ivory. After I had four or five dresses picked out, I went into the changing room and started wriggling my way into the first dress. It was a ballgown, with assymetrical ruching and small crystals scattered along the folds in the gown. It was gorgeous. I looked at The Boy's mother and said "this could be it, but I want to try on more gowns before deciding."
The second dress I slipped into, I knew wasn't the one. I loved how it hung on my body, and I loved the embellishments, but I felt like the very warm ivory color of the dress was bringing out a lot of the olive tones in my skin, and I looked very yellow. I told the bridal consultant that I loved the embellishment on the dress, but I preferred the white ruched dress, and before I knew it, she found another dress for me to try that mixed both dresses together.
On the hanger, the dress was gorgeous, and I found myself grinning as I lifted it off the hanger and stepped into it. It was white, long and flowing, cinched at the waist and with a lace-up back. It was everything I wanted in the dress. I was all grins as I looked in the mirror as the bridal consultant helped me lace up the dress in the fitting room, before I stepped out, grinning ear-to-ear to look in the big mirror and show The Boy's mom.
"I think this is it." I said, giggling. It was perfect, everything I could possibly want and more, and best of all, it was a sample and on sale - and it fit perfectly (save for being just a touch too long). "I feel like a bride," I said, and grinned more. I walked around in it while the consultant looked for accessories to doll me up with my gown - yes, it was mine. The moment I realized that it was mine and that I got to keep it my eyes welled up and I started to cry happy tears, something I didn't think would happen during my dress shopping experience.
Reluctantly, I slipped out of the dress and back into my normal street clothes to go get a bite to eat. I was walking on cloud nine as I paid for the dress. Later, I asked some friends if they had cried when they found theirs, and they told me that they hadn't, much like I hadn't cried at finding my dress but knowing I got to keep it. That my dress was mine. They both said they got giddy and giggly, like I had, and it made me feel better about not crying when I found it - when I found the one.
Now, less than six months out from my wedding, I am eagerly awaiting the day I get to go back to the dress shop, but this time to the seamstress. I can't wait to slip the dress back on again, and I absolutely cannot wait until the day I put it on with my mom, surrounded by my bridesmaids. I love my wedding dress, and cannot wait until my wedding day.
*Picture shared is of a friend's gown and her wedding, which I photographed in September and is used with her permission