The day has arrived. I’m shopping for my wedding dress at Grace Loves Lace in New York City. I’m giddy with excitement, sure that I’m going to find my dress here. I arrive at the store and look around. The space is beautiful but more than that, every single dress is beautiful.
I’m directed to a fitting area in the back. Nina is meeting me here; she should be here any minute. I feel so nervous and I can’t stop sweating. I’m having so much anxiety and I don’t know why. Maybe I’m too hopeful and it won’t work out?
Nina finally arrives – she couldn’t find parking – and when I hug her I immediately start crying. “Are you crying?” I keep hugging her so that she can’t see my face.
“Why are you crying?”
I don’t know! I missed you.
“Should I be crying??”
No! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just emotional.
I really don’t know what’s wrong with me. The last time I saw Nina I was saying goodbye to her. The following day I moved from California to North Carolina. That time, she was all waterworks and I was the one laughing at her. It was a year and a half ago. We’ve talked a number of times since then, but something about seeing her right now just opened up the flood gates for me.
Vanessa is my stylist today. She offers us water or champagne. I’ll just have water. Nina interjects. “I’ll have champagne. She will, too.” The champagne comes, and Nina tells me to chug it. To get rid of my nerves.
They seem to be a little stricter here. Yes, I have an hour but I was only able to choose five styles online. They’re all waiting for me in my dressing room. Vanessa puts me in my No. 1 pick first. The Harri. I have had my eye on this dress for months and can’t believe that I’m finally trying it on. These dresses have this incredibly stretchy material and they’re all lace. Basically, they’re super comfortable and super gorgeous.
I put it on and look in the mirror. Love the material, love the halter style, love the back, love the print. Nina is wonderful, because she has an opinion of how it looks, but she also is reading my reaction and trying to see how I feel in the dress.
“That’s really pretty. I love that.” I think I love it, too.
I realize now that I didn’t love it but I wanted so badly to love it. No doubt about it, a beautiful dress, but for $1800?? Geez, I thought I’d feel like a million bucks in this thing. And the thing I’m thinking is the thing I say to Stephen most times when I try on something that I don’t feel good in – ‘It makes me look frumpy.’ I am definitely obsessed with the criss-cross open back. Obsessed with the material and design. But the overall look and how I feel in it? Not spectacular.
I try on my other four dresses. All beautiful, none that make me feel great. I’m very quick. I try a dress on, I don’t dilly-dally. I know right away. Yes, no, or maybe, but get me out of this dress and let’s try on another. So after I try on the five dresses in about 20 minutes, I hope to try on some more. I saw a few others that look incredible, so I ask Vanessa if I can try on those.
This is when I start to feel a little uncomfortable, like we’ve worn out our welcome. “Well, you only get to try on five, but… which ones were you thinking?”
Here’s the thing that bothers me about this: at this store, their sizes are simple: Small, Medium, Large. I am a Small, but I did try on one dress in Medium. So literally, two of the three sizes they have, I can fit into. It’s not like they don’t have most of these dresses in my size. Why is it such a big deal for me to try on more than five, if I end up walking out of here purchasing an almost $2,0000 dress??
I show Vanessa the dresses I’m thinking about. I ask her the prices. I don’t want to try on a dress that’s over $2,000, and I know that some of these are more than that. She slowly finds out for me, and I almost feel like she’s disinterested in me at this point.
Nina does not give a fuck. While Vanessa is gone, she grabs two dresses and tells me to try them on. They’re just OK. But more than that, the fact that I want to try on more dresses really means that I’m not in love with the Harri. That’s the bottom line. We thank Vanessa and leave.
I have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth after the experience, but the more I think about it, the more I am SO EXCITED about the BHLDN dress from Anthropologie. It’s exactly what I want. I needed this experience to help me realize what I wanted. I want that beautiful, simple, elegant dress that has destination wedding written all over it. I could even wear the top again, with a different bottom. How cool is that?!
I have decided on my wedding dress. Yay!
It feels good to know that I’ve nailed this down. When I return home to Charlotte after Christmas in New York and New Jersey, I email Tierney – the stylist who helped me in November – to place the order.
Instead of emailing me back, she calls me, and I feel like this can’t be good.
I’m right. Fortunately, the top that I want is in stock, but the skirt, in my size, is not. Usually, if it’s not in stock, it’s not for very long, but Tierney apologizes and tells me that, “This never happens, but they won’t have that skirt back until April.”
Of course they won’t.