Four years ago I was living outside of Philadelphia with my aunt and uncle for a summer. One highlight of that summer was spending time with my cousins, Rachel and Alissa. It was on one of those cousin visit weekend that I found my wedding dress.
Alissa and I were looking for a Saturday adventure. It was hot. It was rainy. We needed something indoors. How about shopping? Well, we did not need anything, and really did not have money to spend so we figured we should shop for something we would not really buy. Choices were narrowed down to either furniture or wedding dresses…both were things we did not need or could afford. We decided wedding dresses would be way more fun, so we found a little boutique wedding shop where we would go try on dresses.
We made an appointment, and showed up complete with elaborate stories of our wedding plans. The women in the shop showed us the layout…poufy dresses over here, destination dresses here, etcetera. The store was a sample store, where you try on a stock dress (in whatever size it is) and then order the real dress you want in your size. Alissa and I each grabbed a pile of dresses and headed to the rooms.
She went for the dresses with big skirts and lots of princess glamour. They were all pretty but not necessarily the perfect dress (remember, we neither of us was actually getting married so this was ok). I was more drawn to more simple and lacy dresses. I remember seeing an odd dress in the racks. Pretty, but not like anything else in the store. I figured I would give it a try along with a half dozen other beautiful gowns. (yes I am being vague here on purpose about what the dress looked like so it is a surprise).
First of all, trying on sample dresses NOT in your size can be a bit of a downer. Half the dresses I found were size 4-6 (which I am NOT) and I could not come close to zipping them up. The other half were way too big and felt awkward even when clipped at my back and waist. Oh well, this was just for fun anyway. After a few duds, and a few pretty ones, I came to the unique gown. As soon as I started stepping into it I knew this one was different. I loved the weight, the fabric. When I slid it up to my shoulders it even hung right…it was MY size! I started to get really excited and scooted out of the curtained room to find Alissa. When it was finally on I knew I had found a special dress. It felt amazing when I walked, and felt so sexy, unique and vintage all at the same time. I paraded down to the 3 way mirror to take a closer look. Some other moms were there and they said that the dress was beautiful.
I stayed in that dress for the rest of the time we were at the shop. I just did not want to take it off. It needed a little alteration here and there, but basically fit me perfectly and was stunning on. It felt so good. Then I looked at the price tag. Lets just say it was WAY more than I EVER planned on spending on a wedding dress. This was where my thrifty, scheming side started to come into play. I figured since I was not actually getting married anytime soon I would be able to look the dress up online a season later and find it at a discount. Now I just needed to know which dress it was. Of course, stores want to keep you from doing exactly what my plan was, so they don’t have the dresses labled in a way that you can track them down.
I explained to the ladies in the shop that I was from Washington, and would not be buying a dress today, but I wanted to look this one up when I got home. Could they please let me know the model number and designer so I could look for it? They were happy to help me out. However, we hit a snag when this dress could not be found in the catalogue. Then it was also not on the designer’s website. A light bulb went off. Was it discontinued? Some part of my brain recalled a rack on the shop tour that held the discontinued dresses…all of them were $100 as-is. Was my dress discontinued and therefore $100? I asked. The store manager called the owner. She said get to just sell the dress.
I bought MY dress, in MY size for $100 that day. I was so excited, not really believing what happened. Once it was wrapped up and in the car I called my parents from the parking lot and told them I had just bought a wedding dress. I told them the story and my dad said that he would have bought it for that too! It was really fun taking the dress home that night and modeling it, dreaming of wearing it someday at my wedding.
For four years, that dress has been hanging in my old closet in my parents house. Sometimes when I was home I would slip into it, just to feel the fabric and remind myself of how beautiful is, and how perfect it feels. Now, four years later, I am engaged to the most wonderful man in the world, and planning my wedding. This dress is still the perfect dress (not to mention that I already have it!) for a Fort Worden wedding. I cannot wait to wear it when I marry the man of my dreams next August.