Mom’s Letter: The Wedding Dress

Mom’s Letter: The Wedding Dress

Dear Amber,

I think we make a pretty good team. You allowed me (much to my delight) to be your personal wedding planner and I allowed you to be the boss (you know how I LOVE to be in charge – hahaha). I knew from first hand experience that there are certain details that the bride must decide, and one of those details is the getting the dress. I also knew from first hand experience how much you abhor shopping. I’ve faced difficult challenges before, so I was ready to tackle this one.

I fancied myself as your stylist, or personal shopper (I have been pretty good at picking out clothes for you in the past). So with that in mind, your Aunt and I had scoured two other bridal shops looking at hundreds of dresses to find that perfect one. Nothing. There were two dresses that were a maybe, but something just wasn’t right and they weren’t screaming “AMBER.”

So, I called ahead to David’s Bridal and went into detail about what we would need from them to make this trip successful (meaning you not collapsing into a heap and being hauled off to the ER) AND in that regard we succeeded. I requested to come in and “pull” appropriate dresses so that when you arrived (like celebrities do) all you would have to do was try them on and decide, making it a quick one-hour shopping excursion, worst case would be two hours. They said no, but told me I could scour their website and put dresses into a “folder” so that when we got there, the dresses would be waiting on you with your own personal consultant. Sounded good to me, so off to the internet I searched.

You and I talked at length about your preferences and we looked online, did as they instructed, and put choices into a “folder”.  I called David’s Bridal AGAIN (they knew me by name now) and CONFIRMED that the dresses would be waiting for us when we got there for our appointment.  You were dreading this shopping trip so I kept repeating that it COULD be a good, fun experience because I could run interference and do away with all the “yuck” that goes along with shopping. HA, little did I know!!!!

I arrived at the store before you and discovered that they weren’t ready for you! I about came unglued, but took a deep breath and explained that unless they pulled those five choices, you would turn around and LEAVE, NEVER to return. That was my first sign this experience was headed downhill. When you entered, I pasted a smile on my face so you would not sense my growing frustration.

During the trying on of the dresses, I knew that if we didn’t get photos to remind us of THE dress, you wouldn’t remember what it looked like or how it fit you. I was pushing it a bit with you but felt photos would be very important for later.

And, well, you told the rest of that experience pretty well. I tried to monitor your fatigue without nagging (pretty impossible), gave you water and snacks, encouraged you to take more HC, and spoke very sternly with the employees (out of your hearing range). That was the day we really honed in on the phrase “I’m fading.” We had discussed it before, but THAT day, we hammered it into both of our brains. You didn’t reveal to me how bad you were otherwise I would have driven you home, immediately, no questions asked. I’m not sure you knew how bad you were feeling! Since you are a grown adult I didn’t have the authority to override your decision to drive yourself home and help out. I HATE that feeling of helplessness! I knew you were fading, but unless you asked for help, my options were very limited.

When I got home, I was so angry and frustrated with David’s Bridal that I had to do some calming techniques to just simmer down. Poor Dad. He heard me rant and rant about that experience. It took me days to get over it.

Wedding dress shopping was – fun? – yet exhausting. We were very proactive for this event. You took extra HC, brought water, and I had snacks. We collectively covered all the bases. Most of the time those steps work just fine. Other times, well, not so much.

It was very difficult to convince you to get the dress fitted, but THIS TIME my reconnaissance paid off in leaps and bounds. I knew we could NOT go back to David’s Bridal for alterations and was so happy to find Debra’s “The White Gown Showroom” and alterations shop. THAT’s how wedding dress shopping and fittings SHOULD be!

We learned many things from that experience:

  1. Verbalize how you are doing.
  2. Even the best preparation can’t prepare one for everything.
  3. Big Box Bridal Store had nice dresses at good prices IF one is willing to put up with the overwhelming NOISE and overworked sales associates.
  4. I LOVE being your stylist & personal shopper.
  5. We still make a great team.
  6. Most importantly, cortisol plays a HUGE part of everyday life experiences.

This is something we now know and are continuing to learn more about.

I love you more than life itself, and am so very proud of you.

In response to The Wedding Dress.