Here’s what I wanted: a wedding dress that reflected my essence, style, and personality. I wanted something lightweight that I could move in; something elegant, but simple; something that didn’t show too much skin and was age-appropriate; something not obnoxiously priced, claustrophobically tight, or overwhelmingly poofy. And of course, something white since I’m still a virgin (cough, cough).
Here’s what I found: giant, strapless ball gowns with enormous trains, excessive embellishments, lace for days, and layers upon layers of tulle and fabric at least three feet deep for a gazillion dollars. Or, skin tight mermaid/trumpet dresses that bound my thighs together.
I’m not 25, nor am I Kate Middleton, and yet everything out there seems like it’s made for fairy princesses or slutty Disney characters. The hunt for the perfect dress I could tell was going to be a test of endurance and stamina, but I was up for it.
After all, I’ve only been training for this event for what? The last 50 years?! Hell, I was ready.
From bridal salons to department stores, I was presented with the heaviest sets of drapery – oops, I mean wedding dresses – I’ve ever seen. Before I even stepped into them I knew it was going to be trouble since I needed help stepping into them in the first place. I like to call them “high-maintenance” dresses: they’re a lot of drama, too much work, and they need their own personal assistant.
Dress after dress, I felt like Carol Burnett when she descended down the stairs as Scarlett O’Hara in a make-shift gown made out of heavy drapes and a curtain rod.
Don’t get me wrong, not all the bridal gowns are like window dressing. There were plenty that were just my speed, but were they were either hidden in the back, on the sales racks, or on order.
Challenging as it has been, I have to admit I’ve loved every minute of this time-honored tradition called wedding dress shopping. On several occasions, I brought along my mom, my aunt, and several sets of friends to ooh and ahh, and shed a few tears too. My mother plotzed when she saw me with a veil on for the first time.
I’ve tried on dresses by Alfred Angelo, Maggie Sottero, Vera Wang, Jenny Packham, Monique Lhuillier, just to name a few. I’ve been to IBEX, Lily Bridal, Panache Bridal, Saks, David’s Bridal, and Badgley Mischka, which I love for anything, not just wedding dresses. But my personal favorite was Brides by Liza in Beverly Hills. Maybe because of the selection, maybe because they put up with me.
Brides by Liza not only has gorgeous dresses, they have great service and amazing patience. The sales girl who helped me must’ve pulled out every dress in the joint. Step in, zip up, step out, step in, button up, step out, step in, lace up, step out…it was exhausting. I wouldn’t be surprised if the poor thing took to her bed with a bottle of vodka after we were done.
From downtown L.A. to the San Fernando Valley, I’ve been fitted, cinched, tucked, belted, clipped and accessorized – and all of it has been a joy.
A joy, except for the times when sales people at two different bridal salons asked one of my girlfriends if she was my mother. My mother???!!! WTF!? She’s younger than me you idiot! And speaking of my mother, how about the time when a sales lady kept telling her “You must have been so beautiful when you were young.” When you were young?! Groan.
FYI all bridal salons reading this blog: you’re in the make-everyone-feel beautiful business, from girlfriends-of-the-bride to mothers-of-the-bride, it doesn’t matter. Compliments are always welcomed, but quit while you’re ahead and don’t assume anything!
So here I am, 27 dresses later. And after 27 dresses, I can happily report that I think I found “the one.” I can’t show it to you, but I can tell you this:
It’s everything I wanted, but without the drapery.