Monday, October 11, 2010

Dress Shopping: A Balancing Act.

I found a dress. Actually, not only did I find one dress. I found three. Don't worry, I only bought one. I am sure it is the right one, maybe. It was when I bought it. My friends think its right too. Now my brain is playing tricks on me. Making me second guess myself. After weeks of "Say Yes to the Dress" I should have seen this coming. It happened like every third episode. It’s not like a pair of jeans though. You can have enough. You get one and that’s it. My problem is that I fell in love with three and had to choose. I made the right choice, I did, but I expected to fall in love with just ONE dress, not three. A few things broke the tie for me. 1. The dress I chose made my mother cry. She pointed this out to me at least 5 times. 2. The dress I chose did not weigh more then I did. The other’s did and although I loved them for the five minutes I wore them. I don’t t hink I would loved them after 8 hours, or even 1 hour. 3. The dress I chose made me smile. We took picture of each and as EVERYONE pointed out I look happy in this dress, even though it was one of the last of the day and I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

It was a long day, and I could not have done it without
Stephanie she was vital, but Christy was just as important. Christy is the type of person that will tell you the truth, if you ask her opinion, even if she knows its not what you want to hear. She was good at not only telling me she didn’t like a dress, but also exactly what she didn’t like without making it about me. I did have to make the choice without my sisters though. My twin got sick at the last minute and my big sister had a commitment that she could not break. Mom was there. She liked a lot of things I didn't and wasn't a fan of things I liked. Though we did agree at the end.

The first place we went to was a boutique in Ann Arbor called Mimi’s. I was pleasantly surprised by this place. It was accessible, (although not if you are looking for wedding party attire because that is all upstairs) the staff was friendly, and they had a wide range in price. I actually found one of my top three at this store. This store had a lot of beautiful dresses with full skirts and longer trains.

I went into dress shopping thinking that I wanted an all over lace dress, but quickly realized that because they didn’t typically have a structure to them and I am not model thin, that they didn’t really work for my body type. We rejected several others that I had pre-selectedwithout even taking a picture because the fit was so terrible. Then we started to hit on a style that works for me. A fitted dress with ruching which lengthened my torso and gave me that tiny waist that everyone strives for.

I recommend this style for anyone with a disproportionately short torso and/or concerns about their stomach area. I have both and this style made me look and feel awesome. I loved the way the first dress made me look, and so did my Mom. But the element she loved, the

straps, were a no for me. Because I move my shoulders so much when walking, straps always fall off unless I make them really tight and that isn't so comfortable.

We began trying on lots of dresses in this style. They looked great but they did not have the WOW factor.Then we found one that might be the one. I really loved this dress, but it was at the top of my budget and we still had more appointments so we left it there thinking we would come back for it, but 3 dresses into the next appointment. It was forgotten.

Our next appointment was a David’s Bridal and I pleasantly surprised by both their service and selection. The handicap accessible dressing room was around the corner so we ended up moving so we didn’t have to walk as far in dress that was not hemmed. I am 5 feet 1 inch so everything was super long. We discovered that the small rooms made it easier because I had less chance of falling when a wall was always in reach. The fitting room was a science that Stephy and I had down by the second store. Mostly, what would happen is I would sit in a chair and Stephy would put my feet in the dress and then I would stand and hang on to a wall. She would then pull the dress on. We must have tried on 15 dresses at least. She was sweating by the end of it, but never complained or made me feel bad for wanting to try on some dresses twice.

My consultant was helpful but was not in the way and I found two dresses there I loved at this store. This is also where I learned that just because the dress is beautiful doesn’t mean it makes you look beautiful. This dress was my favorite on the hanger, on me it was one of the first to go.

The size selection at David’s was not as great. They had mostly bigger sizes available to try on, because of the poor fit, many of them were rejected pretty fast.

It was interesting to try and walk out in dresses that were so big, One was so huge that It actually fell right off my body even when zipped. Stephy had to hold both the top up, so I would flash the gallery and the bottom up so I wouldn't trip myself. Then she had to hold the dress tight while we debated. We didn't like it. Later, we tried the 8 which we thought might be small, but actually fit. However, we still didn't like the dress. That reminds me. Wedding dresses run SMALL. Most of the dresses I tried on were a 10, which is about 3 to 4 sizes bigger than normal for me. The dress I ordered ended up being an 8. I would never recommend ordering a dress without know exactly how THAT dress will fit first.

This dress was my second contender for the dress. I actually still love this dress. It had the all over lace that I wanted with the structure I needed and the sash added a pop of my favorite color. Ultimately though, it was impractical; It weighed a lot and the long dramatic train was more for a church wedding then the casual one we are having. It would have been a lot to bustle and I still needed to be able to sit comfortably. I didn’t think

about it until later, but the train may have been able to be shortened in the alterations process. Still that would not have changed the weight much and the beading under my arms would have started to hurt after a while as well. If my disability had not been a factor this would have been the dress. Even though, I did have to make a few compromises on my choice because of my disability. I don't feel like I had to settle or get a dress I didn't want, in fact, only a couple of my choices we based on my disability. I went into this thinking that it would be a HUGE factor and it wasn't.

All brides have to compromise on their dress a little, either because of their body type, budget or other factors. I think it is important to remember that. Your disability is just one additional factor you have to take into account. You can't just choose a dress you love. You have to choose the one that works for you and your wedding, but you don't have to settle. You can love the dress that works too. It was a hard choice to make, but I think if I had chosen any dress except the one I chose I would regret it.

Unfortunately, I cannot show you THE dress. This blog is public and I don’t want Tom to see it so you’ll have to wait. I promise that it’s beautiful. It takes in everything I wanted and needed without compromise.

Now, that we have the dress we have got an even bigger task ahead. Shoes. Prayers might be helpful.


  1. Oh My... U look beautiful!!! I love the second and third one's... I can't really see the last one as well... Your going to be an amazing bride!!! YAY.... :)

  2. Aw.. This post make my cry, and I was there! lol. Talk about a delayed reaction. Love you deary.

  3. I love them all! I'm sure you picked the right one, don't stress about it.