Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Stress About the Dress! Part One of the Outfit Adventures!

Hello all! Let me start by apologizing for my long silence! The iron fist of academia is steadily hammering us down with work! But I have the three C's to help: coffee, Casablanca, and company! Let the games begin! :) I'm taking a necessary break, but to avoid losing momentum, here I am- posting! Something I kept meaning to talk about was dress buying. Well, part of it anyway. One thing that I had a hard time tearing my sights from was the shorter dresses. The quirky, the spunky, the easy to dance in! They all earned a wistful sigh from me as I dutifully looked at A-lines, empire wastes, and mermaid silhouettes. I was looking for the perfect dress, but I was a bit disgruntled to find that none of them were perfect. Like my kind of perfect. When you're an "off the beaten path" kind of girl, you expect to have to search for things that are inherently representative of your style; but nothing was coming close. Still I let me eyes wander to short dresses and vintage frocks of all styles, furtively stealing glances at those adorable hemlines; fantasizing about not having to go through endless dress alterations (I'm 5'0"...its a fact of life! Half of prom season was just getting my dresses fitted), or the myth where it's required to have someone hold your dress while you pee (a phenomenon that I wasn't looking forward to). I wanted something cute, something to dance in, something to show off my legs (both because they're not a bad feature for me to show, and because it helps me look taller). And then a solution so simple was opened to me. I raised the subject to Brenden tentatively, curious of his reaction. A beaming smile unfurled on his face, as he and I discussed the excellence that would be a short dress for our wedding. The hunt was on again! One conversation turned me into an Amazonian of wedding dress shopping. I ran through jungles of Etsy pages and sliced through pages of "vintage wedding dresses" online, half of which oddly resembled ship sails. (Protip: When resorting to Craigslist, if the wedding dress ad has "gorgeous", "classic", or "made for a princess" in the title- RUN! It's most likely from the 80s, which means you can guarantee that the sleeves alone have their own zip code, and lace has most likely infiltrated the bodice as moss on ancient trees!) And still no dress that made me want to make like matrimony and commit. Then Modcloth did it again. I saw their Paper Lanterns Dress, and it caught my eye with a death grip of adorable fashions. It was perfect! The skirt was bouncy but not huge, the sleeves were present without taking over the dress, and the cut down the front (while a tiny scootch more than I expected) was a classy neckline. I loved it so much, I bought it on the spot, and the second it came in and I tried it on, I had no doubts. It fit like it was made for me. The color, while not white, was more of an almond, and it fits with our November wedding theme so well! The biggest thing is taught me is that you have to pick what's right for you, and not to worry about the rest. For any interested, the link to the dress is here :D ! Pictures will follow, and Part Two of this story- The Quest for the Shoes!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Online Experience

The internet is a veritable wilderness and wonderland of all things wedding related. Wedding planning is different than it used to be, and especially since the advent of the internet, it's an entirely new experience. And sure, brides have a number of things they still do, like going to bridal boutiques and trying on dresses with their closest friends and family, or pick out flower arrangements personally with their florists;but these are small pieces of the new exchange.
More than not, I'd say it's an interactive experience. The typical happenings still include dress fittings, bridal showers, picking out venues, etc... but the way we get the information changes. And for some people, like myself, who go off the beaten path for whatever reasons, the online wedding planning experience is the right one by far. But how do you explain it to others who may feel left out or just not understand?
I am the only girl in the family, and after three boys, my mom was ecstatic! For a while, I was just that- a girl. I loved pink, dress up, dolls, the whole shebang. But growing up with boys leaves it's mark, so I was the girl in the princess dress climbing trees and marrying my brothers' action figures with my barbies before they parachutes off the stairs. My parents have always been accepting of me and my choices. But I know it's been a little difficult to get used to the idea that when it comes to some "typical" feminine things, I have an atypical lack of interest. And while it's been widely accepted among my loved ones that I'll take beer over cosmos and hockey over Gilmore Girls, there are some areas where the discrepancies still cause confusion.
Recently, my mum called me and heard that I'd found a dress online for the wedding. I had my reasons for this less popular option. To be honest, most bridal shops overcharge for dresses way too much, even with sales. And it's not really their fault, but the general cost for a wedding dress these days is anywhere between 900-1,124 dollars ( found on wedding stats, for more stats, check it out here :D ), and with a bit of digging, knowledge of what you want, and discernment, you can find a great dress at a reasonable price. Armed with my measurements (a necessary component I've found when online searching for a dress! :]), and a distinctive lackluster view of the current bridal styles, I set to work searching.
The pressure that was lifted was astounding! No sheepish looks while divulging my minuscule budget to sales people. No bossy women at shops trying to push me into a dress I ultimately didn't want (and most likely, couldn't pay for...funny how that works!). No neurotic planning to frantically assemble all females close to me in one place and make the great commute like motley geese to find a dress, with no guarantee I'd leave victorious. It was a decision I felt great about. Until my mum called.
The disappointment seemed evident in her voice, explaining about how she felt left out of the typical mother-daughter experience of dress shopping and planning. I felt like a jerk as soon as she said it, and it took me aback to try to explain to her that it wasn't personal. Sometimes it's hard to explain to people of a different mindset that planning doesn't look one way. Whether they are ultra-traditional or unfamiliar with online wedding dress shopping. I wished I'd taken the time out to cover this detail, so as not to offend. It was exactly what I explained to my mum, saying that I didn't intentionally leave her out. I just bought it online. There were no other people, no dress fittings, none of that. Her not being around was nothing against her, but in overlooking that difference in mindsets, I accidentally hurt my mum's feelings.
The take away from this, in my humble opinion, is that you need to do what's right for you. But sometimes letting other people know where you stand is a good way to avoid hurting the ones you love :)