Phew, well, that's over with.
Yesterday the MOH and I ventured out to the city of the dead--that's Colma, in case you were wondering--to visit David's Bridal, the cheapest of the cheap bridal shops.
We walked in the door and were barked at by the greeter, a tiny (yet pushy) Russian woman with a huge wedding ring set on her hand. The MOH was later joking that the store must have sets of wedding rings for all the employees to wear, since EVERYONE was sporting huge rocks. The greeter gave me some paperwork to fill out. They asked for a lot of info, including Mr. T's name and email address, which I did not fill in. The store was pretty quiet, so that I didn't end up having to share a consultant, as they'd told me on the phone.
The greeter asked me if I'd seen any dresses on their website that I was interested in. Already failing in my task of impersonating a bride that would want to wear a white David's Bridal gown to her wedding, I baldly said, "No," but I did follow it up with, "but I have some pictures of dresses I like..." and I did. Early on, when I first got engaged, I inherited about 20 wedding magazines from a friend and started ripping out pictures of dresses I liked, not because of the color (obviously) but instead because I liked the skirt or the bodice or the beading or what have you. I hadn't looked at the photos in months, but my assessment was that I did a good job! The dresses were lovely; probably all of them were $10,000 couture dresses, however.
Still, I gamely showed the pictures to our bridal consultant, who seemed distracted as we walked to the dressing room, which was in a very long corridor of other mirrored dressing rooms...sorta Twilight Zone-ish. The consultant disappeared for a long time and came back with a slip and a longline strapless bra/bustier, explaining that they didn't have the bustier in my ribcage size, but this was the next size up. I had the MOH help me into the bustier, and it wasn't good. I was falling out of the top. At the time I was thinking it was ridiculous to expect a well-endowed girl to want to wear strapless, because I have never in my life tried on a supportive strapless bra. The consultant went off to try and find a smaller bra, and as I stood there holding my boobs in, wearing the oversized bustier and hideous thick white girdle slip underneath the flourescent lighting, I had a moment of despair. It all felt very fake and wrong and depressing. However, thankfully the MOH was there to joke with me, and soon the consultant came back with a bra that still was not my size, but did fit slightly better (thank goodness there were no men in the store, though, is all I'm saying).
After that we started the dress parade. The first was an a-line strapless gown that I dubbed "the mummy" because of the horizontal ribbons running the length of the dress. We liked the a-line on my body. In photos, however, I look short in the dress. I'm not sure if it's the silhouette or the striping that caused that.
Next was a full-on strapless Cinderella ball gown, with a beaded bodice and fluffy layers of beaded tulle and crinolines--by far the most elaborate thing I tried. Out of curiosity, I asked the price, and it was only $1100, which let me know that (no surprise) these dresses must be made in China by women who are paid pennies per day. I surprised myself by actually liking this one on me. I didn't expect that. It made my top look smaller. However, after seeing the photos we took, my codancer (who called it a "shixa dress", which cracked me up) frankly told me she thought it made my bottom half look wider and that it also made me look shorter.
Next was a strapless mermaid style dress with a lace overlay and beading. I wasn't sure about this silhouette, as you may recall. I do have an hourglass figure, but I wasn't sure if mermaid would say, "I have curves," or instead, "I have saddlebags." This dress wasn't too tight around my legs and we found it very flattering. The consultant even brought the dress in around my knees so it would flare out even more at the bottom, and the MOH and I both liked that look a lot.
The next dress was an empire waist dress, the only dress with straps. I figured empire waist would make me look pregnant, plus I don't do well with what I term "pre-defined breast areas". However, it actually looked nice on top and didn't make me look as though I were expecting. The straps were kinda twisted and Grecian looking, which I liked, and the overall style of the dress was a little Marilyn-Monroe/old school Hollywood glamour, which was nice (although not so much for me, I think). We liked this one more once the consultant showed us what it would look like in a mermaid skirt.
Finally, I tried on a (strapless, of course) dress with a corset back. The skirt was pretty bad--poofy, with pickups, which I hate, although the MOH kinda liked them. I think it makes the dress look like a crumpled piece of paper. The corset did wonderful things for my waist, though.
The consultant offered to put me in a veil at one point, which made me blurt out, "NO! I mean, no thanks." So instead I tried on a tiara. I love tiaras! So that was kinda awesome. I also had these cute little black heels on, because I wanted to bring a pair of my own heels rather than wear the DB ones (who knows how many people have tried on the store heels?). So when I was waiting between dresses, my look was pretty great--bustier, thick ugly slip with a huge slit up the back, black heels, tiara, tattoos. I was joking that I'd already found my look for the wedding, nevermind the dresses!
I decided that wedding gowns have a LOT of structure versus any other gown you'd try on in a store. I mean, crappy bra or not, once I was in these gowns, the girls weren't going anywhere. It was bizarre to see myself in a strapless gown. I have never worn anything strapless! Mr. T asked how I was feeling trying on white dresses, and for me, that part was pretty matter of fact (okay, this skirt shape is good, next), but the strapless thing was really strange. Anyway, the gowns have layers and layers of fabric and crinoline and boning and beading and the things can practically stand up on their own. It really is a two-person operation to get these things over your head. And the train was also odd...I found myself taking little mincing steps, unlike my typical "keep up with long-legged Mr. T" walk, so I wouldn't trip myself.
We ended up liking the consultant, who was very nice and didn't mind pulling dress after dress for us, and I started to feel guilty about all the work she was doing for someone who was never going to buy a dress. While she was picking out more dresses the MOH and I decided we'd say that we were going to wait till my mom came into town and go shopping with her, which is essentially what we told our consultant at the end. She was really sweet and didn't push the issue (unlike the greeter, who pressed, "When will we see you in here again?"), and I know it's silly to feel weird about it since who buys a dress in the first store they go in, regardless, but I did feel weird.
I'm glad that's over! Now to call the corset maker! Phew!