Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Wedding Gown, Part II

There is a lot of stress about choosing the correct dress. My priorities before trying on anything:
  • comfortable - not necessarily sweatpants comfy, but enough that you feel yourself, and not self-conscious the whole day.
  • budget - I was a wedding budget Nazi - it is one of the things I am the most proud of, so it was really important to me to stick to it. We will say budget was X going into the process.
  • different - I really didn't want something that looked same-old same-old. I also didn't want something totally out there. I wanted classic, but with details people would remember.
Things I knew I DID NOT WANT -
  • lace.
  • a tulle skirt that looked like a tutu
  • pick-ups on the skirt
You would think this left things pretty wide open, but we learned quickly in the first store that I was very discerning - looking at the dresses on the hangers the consultant would say "what about this?" and I could no or yes within seconds. She loved my decisiveness, I think, and when I told her how long we'd been engaged she understood it too.

After trying on the first round of gowns I had discovered:
  • sweetheart necklines look great on me but I wasn't going to feel comfortable in strapless
  • I wanted a long train
  • had to have buttons up the back - no lace-ups
  • had to have beading
  • ideally wanted a v-neck front and a v-back.
We found my dress by accident. It was hanging, and the first thing we saw was the pleating of the train. I thought it was interesting, but was a bit afraid of it too. Too much pleating could be bad. It also didn't have a pricetag on it since it had just arrived in the store. I agreed to try it on. Some photos of what it would have looked like on the hanger:
When I put it on, I instantly loved how it felt - even though it was two sizes too small. The train was just long enough, and when we pulled up the back to see what it would look like bustled, I almost started to cry. I knew it was it, and then I had to ask the price.

Because it had no tag, the consultant had to call the owner to find out where to find the price. She came back with X + 50%. Great. One and a half times my budget. I asked her if she thought they would be able to work out a better price, and she said she thought so, probably at least to X + 35%. Still not great for me.

As I said yesterday, we visited some other salons after this, and at one I saw The Dress and asked what their price would be. They came back with X + 30%. When I returned to the original shop, I tried on The Dress and two others, just to be sure, and there was no question. But budget-wise I was crying on the inside. There was no way I could justify it. No.

When I had the dress on again, we started talking about the price - the consultant could tell I was serious, and called up the owner of the salon to facilitate the negotiations. She started off with the first price she had quoted, and I told her the other shop had offered better, but still not great. After a few back and forths, we settled on X + 6% taxes in, plus they included a loaner crinolin, veil, and headpiece if I so chose.

This made me happy enough, but then 6 months later when it came time for a fitting I checked out the sample while they brought up my gown. The price tag: X x 2. Two times my original budget!!! If it had had a tag the day I tried them on, I wouldn't even have pulled it off the hanger. I'm so glad I did.

But probably the best part about my gown was SB's reaction. When I stepped into the room, and started walking towards him, I could see he had tears in his eyes. And after he shook my grandfathers hand, and we stood waiting for the music to stop, he leaned to me and said "You look so beautiful - I would have paid twice the price." And I knew I had picked a winner.


Anonymous said...

Sniff, I love it! And am enjoying your nablopomo- which I had to google! Jill

Jenn said...

I feel like you should be reminded, however that:

No matter how amazing or expensive the dress is, the woman really makes the dress. And you, ma'am are stunning. :) (I've always thought so :))

Jules said...

awe shucks Jenn! ~blushing~