On July 30, I went to the Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement, with two friends, Jessie and Maggie. I did not go to the crazy running/throwing elbows/stealing dresses out of the hands of other women portion of the day, but after going to work in the morning, I took the afternoon off and headed over to Friendship Heights. I probably tried on close to two dozen dresses. Lots of them were exactly the type of dress that I'd had in mind: sleeved and lacy. All of those looked awful. Many were accompanied by beading of the variety that made Jessie remark that they looked like they'd been Bedazzled by a kindergartener. In short, it seemed that the only sleeved dresses they had were quite dated, and had likely been making periodic appearances at these sales since their heyday in the early '90s. Someone picked up a dress that looked nothing like what I'd been picturing myself wearing. It was strapless, beaded (though tastefully), and a color close to champagne. But it was beautiful, and when I tried it on (it fit almost perfectly), it was incredibly flattering, and strangers stopped to tell me how great it looked. And since the price was right ($249), I bought it. At a sale like the Running of the Brides, there's no thinking about it and coming back for it another day. It was now or never, take it or leave it, and I could not leave behind a dress that was so pretty and looked so good.
I'm not sure I would have taken such a dramatic step away from the image I'd had of myself had the dress been more expensive, but at $250, I felt like it was too good to pass up, and it wasn't a huge sum of money if, in fact, I ended up returning to the dress I'd imagined. (This from a girl who regularly carries groceries home in the palms of her bare hands to avoid paying DC's $.05 plastic bag tax, which just goes to show you how much weddings skew your perceptions.)
Almost immediately, I began to have the niggling feeling that I was talking myself into this dress. Part of me was disappointed that I'd "caved" to the prevailing trend of the strapless dress, a feeling I couldn't shake, no matter how many times I firmly told myself that not doing something just because everyone else is doing it is just as silly as doing something just because everyone else is. My mom said things like "If you love it, then I love it," which is not exactly a glowing endorsement. And then there was the feeling that I would not have ever shared with anyone, had I not eventually gotten a different dress: the feeling that, when walking down the aisle, I'd be overwhelmingly disappointed in what I was wearing.
But . . . it was just so pretty! There was no denying that it was a gorgeous dress. There was no good reason not to wear it, and the good reasons to wear it were not limited to its pragmatic attributes - like the fact that I already owned it. No, my (admittedly limited) aesthetic sense continued to tell me that it was a beautiful dress, and that I, or any other girl, would be lucky to be married in it. (Which is undoubtedly true.) My sentimental side, though, just kept saying, "But . . ." And "but" was all it took for me to decide to try on some more dresses this weekend, which you will soon read about in another post.
And after the break, I'll post pictures of me in the first dress. I'm hiding it behind a page break because I haven't the foggiest idea whether or not it's ok for Ben to see a picture of me in a wedding dress that is not the dress I'm wearing to my wedding.
The second picture is specifically of the train, because the train as definitely one of my favorite parts of the dress. Even now, when I look at these pictures, I wonder who in her right mind would decide against this dress. It is so pretty. Maybe I'm not in my right mind, because I'm entirely confident in my choice to go with the second dress.