Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sticker Shock

I like to punish myself... because I kept the Saturday appointment with the expensive dress.


BM R happily volunteered to be my extra pair of eyes and an expert opinion (ahem, Miss 27 Dresses). We giddily discussed dresses for the 45 minute drive to the Ardmore salon (just outside of Philly proper). I had no idea what to expect of the town or bridal store, but R felt if it was anything like the bridal store there before, we would be in good hands.

Bijou Bridal - Ardmore

The store was eerily quiet for a Saturday morning in May. We were the only customers and were promptly escorted to a sofa; I was handed a clipboard with questions designed to expedite finding appropriate gowns. I'd been eagerly anticipating this appointment all week and had abstained from beer and other bloaty foods. Hey, these dresses are body-hugging! Have to look good for the dress to look good! All this excitement and nervous energy left me in a bundle of jittery confusion... unable to focus on the the "tough" questions, I skipped them to only return to at the end, a la the SATs.

One of the showrooms

The consultant showed us around the store, maneuvering us past the Cinderella gowns. My lace gown was on display front and center. BM R did a double take when I identified the dress - not what she was thinking of, but it made sense. I pulled 6-7 gowns with either simple embellishments, clever draping or romantic 50's lines. Into the dressing room went a handful of Palomas, the Watters dress from West Virginia and the St. Pucchi lace applique wonder.

No way was I wearing this without a slip!

Lace dress first! I'd been waiting too long to know if it would even look right! It slipped right on and fit very well, given the off-the-rack sample size nature. It was romantic, bold and a little whimsical... and it looked goooood. The train length is very comfortable and wouldn't need to be bustled.

All images by Docuvitae

My approach to the dress was more cerebral than I thought it'd ever be. Where were the tears? But, at least I was able to keep my head on straight. R loved it and we put on the mantilla veil. Big deal here - veils. Didn't care for it higher up on my head; it felt fussy like I was 5 and wearing a curtain. The consultant shifted it to just above my ponytail where it felt and looked much more natural.

The Watters dress made an appearance next. It was a front-runner and seeing two favorites back to back should be helpful.

Watters Austin

Oh, I was torn. Both were beautiful and perfect but in such different ways! The St. Pucchi is a statement gown that would strongly inform my paper suite, flowers and cake while the softly romantic Watters gown allows for more flexibility and full-skirted spinning that makes the little girl in me clap with glee. The Watters gown had a more flattering fit (larger sample than before) so it wore more comfortably and accentuated my upper body beautifully.

Once I was back in the dressing room, I asked how much the St. Pucchi gown was going to hurt. Avert your eyes if you're faint of heart. $5,400... Ouch! I didn't think to ask if that included the veil because, at that price, I was not interested in one. The Watters gown was a mere $2,000 by comparison. The cost difference would pay for another Mexico vacation, which is to say, not a bad honeymoon at all. I can't spend $5k+ on a gown even if I had gobs of money. It's irresponsible! I'll wear the silly thing for half a day. The money should go to something we'll get more extended enjoyment from... like a honeymoon. This is my logical brain speaking. It's still beautiful but its image has been sullied by its price tag. I've put it out of my mind as a possibility, knowing it will never be marked down enough. My only chance was a pre-owned gown that hasn't been altered too much.

The plan was to bring Mom and my sister to see it and other contenders in June, but the best laid plans of mice and men... Stay tuned!

What style of dress were you convinced you'd never like? Did you surprise yourself and pick the total opposite of what you had in mind?

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