Trying on “THE” Dress (The W(h)iney Bride)

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Last week while I was home  in Chicago I had the much-anticipated task of wedding dress shopping.

For weeks, I had been nervous about these appointments. I didn’t have a clear idea in my head of what I was going to look like on my wedding day, so I went into these appointments blind.

My first appointment was at a boutique in Lincoln Park, Chicago called Weddings 826. The set-up was perfect for our first appointment since it is a huge room filled with bags and bags of dresses that we were able to pull right off the rack.

My mom and sister Hannah (my other sister Nellie was already back at school in Kentucky) came with and served as my panel of judges. We were told we had exactly one hour in the dressing room and so as soon as the timer started the three of us went crazy grabbing dozens and dozens of bagged dresses.

What I hadn’t really thought through was the fact that I had to undress with the dress attendant in the room. (So word to the wise, wear some good underwear.) It was a little awkward just standing there basically in the buff while she took each dress out of the bag — but after the first five dresses, I finally got used to it.

With every dress that I tried on we started to started to get an idea of what looked good and what did not. We quickly determined a few things that were not going to be a part of the winning dress:

A dropped waist:

Feathers:

Straps:

With all of the “no’s,” we were led to the ingredients that did work: strapless, sweetheart neckline, A-line, a long train, slight ruching, and an off-white color.

After three dozen dresses, I finally put on one that worked. It met all of my criteria and looked good. It needed a few additional alterations to make it the dress that I wanted, but I felt great in it. The attendant took my measurements, but I just wasn’t ready to bite the bullet after one round of tryouts, so we left for lunch and decided to sleep on it.

I wasn’t looking forward to Round Two of shopping the very next day. I felt like I had picked the winner and didn’t want to go through the entire ordeal again, but thankfully my mom pushed me to give it one more shot and so off to Volle’s in Lake Zurich we went.

We got to our room and unlike Weddings 826, the attendant picked the dresses for me after I told her what I had liked from the previous day.

The first dress I put on made us all certain that we were in for a tough decision. The dress was perfect. It was everything about the dress from the day before, but more. And it felt like me.  As I told my mom, “If I were a wedding dress, this is what I would look like”.

The attendant forced me out of the dress and into a few more, but after about six others I really wanted to put the first dress back on.

She clipped me in and told me to get comfortable in it. As my sister tried on bridesmaids dresses, I sat in my dress. I could move, dance, twirl — and I didn’t want to stop looking at the mirror. The dress is simple but classic, and is everything I didn’t know I wanted in my wedding dress.

I even got a little teary eyed as I stood on the pedestal looking at myself as a real bride. It was the first time since I’ve been engaged that I was truly overcome with the fact that I will be the one walking down the aisle on June 22, 2013 — and I’ll be doing it in this dress.

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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