Saturday the MOH and I were super excited to go to my appointment with the dress maker. She's a custom-corset maker who also creates bridal ensembles in SF. Before the appointment we wandered around her store, which is stuffed with ready-made corsets, custom little top hats and fascinators with feathers and lace and other fun frilly things, beautiful jewelry, gauntlets (both of us almost caved and got a pair of overpriced gauntlets, but we resisted), spats, skirts, coats, sweet little lace umbrellas, fans, you name it. It's like goth heaven!
The owner, Autumn, who had on the cutest skirt, took us upstairs and looked through my inspiration photos, reading all the comments I'd written on the page very carefully and listening intently to what I said about each. She was very engaged and present in the conversation. She had kind of a quiet demeanor but as she spoke you could feel the passion and knowledge she brings to her work. She told me at one point that we have a similar aesthetic and also that she liked my sense of humor, both of which I felt flattered about. I feel like a fangirl with a crush on my seamstress!
After looking through everything, she offered her opinion that I should go floor-length with the skirt, which will lengthen me, but that we could show flashes of leg through lace insets. This was based on one of my inspiration photos, if you'll remember:
I adore this dress. Although I'd change a few details, such as straps (I want some), the tightness around the tummy, and the train (too long and cumbersome for me). Also the color, although I adore that she chose pale pink.
So, we designed something similar based on this dress (mermaid shape with lace insets in the skirt), but in a beautiful red silk satin and with a slightly looser mermaid skirt so that I'll be able to sit. The satin is heavy enough that it won't wrinkle, which you may recall I was worried about. We also picked out the black lace, which has a gorgeous s-shaped curve in it, and talked about also bringing the lace into the bodice to make the dress feel like one piece. Finally, I told her I wanted straps, a modesty panel in the back (no flesh peeking out between the laces in the back), and that I also wanted modesty in the front--no Dangerous-Liasons style cleavage "in front of God and the family" as the MOH put it. We selected a corset style that had more seams in the bust area, so it would allow for the curve of the breast rather than shoving it all out of the top. We also opted to go with no busks (those clasps that appear in the front of corsets), which increases the difficulty of the dress (a lot heavier lacing duties for someone!) but which also, in my opinion, offers a cleaner line and makes the ensemble look more like a dress.
Autumn talked about having red beads hand-sewn on the black lace, but we decided that those were out of my price range. However, now that I've been mulling it over, I'm reconsidering. Beading would add another $500-1500 to my budget. I think I could live with an additional $500 ($1500, not so much). Another option is to do the beading myself, or have a friend do it for free. I wouldn't trust myself to do it, but I may have a friend who can. I haven't decided, but I have time to figure it out.
As we looked through her portfolios I saw at least three women I know in her photos, and we determined that she's done dresses for a couple of other women I know, and is currently doing a dress for a friend of mine who's also getting married this year. It was hilarious. Clearly she comes highly recommended!
She asked if I plan to lose weight before the wedding, and I wasn't sure how to answer this. My answer is, yes, I'd like to, but I'm not on any crazy diet or aggressive weight loss plan...just good old exercise, and trying to eat better. We decided we'd take my measurements in two months. If I do lose some weight, the corset allows for a little bit of weight loss...Hopefully it will be clearer in two months if I've lost weight. I feel like maybe I've lost a couple of pounds (the jeans are fitting better), but nothing radical.
Since I had officially placed the order I put down a deposit of $800. I used my Discover card, which came back DECLINED. I was so embarrassed. Nothing like setting up a good relationship or giving a good first impression! I have plenty of room on that card, and not only that, I have excellent credit. I mean, not to brag, but I have EXCELLENT credit. So I put the deposit on another card, which, after I experienced a brief panicked moment of paranoia, went through just fine.
After the appointment the MOH and I went to eat lunch and I noticed I'd gotten a voicemail on my cell phone from Discover's fraud department. I called back and my phone apparently was fading in and out, or at least that's what the bitchy customer service representative was saying. I'm sorry, if you are in customer service, even if someone's cell phone is frustrating you, it won't kill you to be polite. Just saying.
So I put the phone back in my purse after hanging up on her and we spent the rest of the day shopping for makeup and bras, which was a lot of fun. We were spending some pay from a recent gig, so it was a great way to have some guilt-free spending. We both went to the Chanel counter and got Vamp lipstick, which they are making again!!! Vamp is that gorgeous deep, deep red lipstick (they call it rouge noir, or red-black). The MOH and I had been digging the dregs of Vamp out of our old lipstick tubes, and saving it for special occasions, but now we have brand new tubes!
Anyway, once I was home I called Discover back from my landline. It turns out they declined the card because of their security standards (meaning, the purchase was out of the ordinary for me). I asked the guy, "I'm getting married this year, and it's likely that I'll have a number of large purchases like this. Can I keep this from happening again?" The man, who was very nice, apologized for my embarrassment (which I mentioned pointedly) and said that no, there was nothing I could do, but in the future I could always have the vendor call and verify the charge over the phone.
I'm sorry, but that's a huge pain in the ass, and I'm very seriously considering canceling my Discover card. It's nice they're so concerned with my account's safety, but if I can't use the card, it's useless to me. What if I had been stranded and trying to pay a tow truck driver with that card? WTF? Isn't that what credit is for, the little (or big) unexpected things in life that pop up? So yeah, not a huge fan of the Discover company. Maybe I'll look into a Capitol One card...the whole reason I got Discover was the rewards program.
I'd like to clarify that although I'm using the card, it doesn't mean I'll carry a balance. It's just a way to delay payment until I can move the money from our wedding fund over to my checking. Also, it's good to pay vendors with a credit card...you can contest it if something happens. Not that I'm expecting anything to happen, but you never know!
Embarrassing credit card incident aside, it was a lovely Saturday afternoon, and I couldn't be more excited to see my dress take shape!