Monday, February 18, 2008

As promised: My wedding gown story

The first time I got married, I was hoping to put together a non-white ensemble, preferably in green or purple, in medieval style clothing, because my ex and I had met in an online RPG. His mother, however, really wanted me to wear the floofy white gown, and she offered to purchase it, so we went down to his hometown one weekend to visit bridal shops.

At the first shop, the fiftyish woman who "helped" us looked down her nose at me and sneered, "I don't think we have anything in your size. She sighed and frowned, and made irritated noises while she dug out a couple of extremely ugly dresses. She had me strap on a longline bra that did not fit--I was an H cup, and the bra was a C-cup. When I pointed this out to her, she told me that I would have to make it work, because there wasn't anything larger. After about fifteen minutes of being treated like that, we got out of there.

The next shop was a little friendlier, since the women running the place were plus size themselves, but they kept trying to push me toward an A-line dress "because they are slimming". I don't know where they got that idea, considering that anything hanging straight down from my breasts made me look enormously pregnant. They told me that there wasn't much they could do, on such short notice (we were planning to get married in three months), so I'd have to take what I could get. They strapped me into this gaudy mess of pearls and sequins, left me to admire my mirrored image, and I whispered to Mama Ex that we needed to get the hell out of there before I strangled someone. She agreed.

Our last ditch effort, without which I was planning on a Betazoid wedding, was a large chain bridal store. Now, I believe in supporting small businesses. I understand how frustrating it is for a good small business to have to compete with larger chains for pricing--and that is why the small business MUST make up for it with superior service and knowledge. The small shops failed me, though, with their snobby behavior. How dare I think I was worthy of marrying someone? And how dare a fat girl think she deserves a traditional wedding? We should be slinking through the back door of city hall to apologetically ask a judge to take pity on us and consent to trapping some poor man into wedlock with our disgusting selves.

So we walk into Big Chain Bridal, and we are immediately assigned a consultant. She was a tall, slender Italian woman in her forties. She was brisk but friendly, and I told her that we'd had trouble finding anything in my size elsewhere, and did they have Size __ there? She smiled and took us to a whole AISLE with probably a hundred or more gowns in my size!

She then asked, "Have you considered an A-Line? They are very slim-"

I cut her off by pulling my shirt tight against my body, showing her my curves. "I don't want an A-line; I want something that shows my curves, not hides them."

"Ah, you definitely should not have an A-line! You have a waist and lovely curves!"

I found an absolutely gorgeous gown that I loved. While I was trying it on, with Mama Ex's help (she was awesome; I wish her son had turned out more like her than his dad), the consultant found a longline strapless bra in my size and helped me into it. She was kind, friendly, but businesslike--very matter of fact about what I needed. She guided me through the stuff I would be needing, helped me make appointments for fittings and final pick-up, and, best of all, was congratulatory about my upcoming wedding. No sneering, no meanness, no pushing me toward things I didn't want. And really, was that too much to ask?

For my second wedding, I decided to bypass the whole mess of dress shopping. Brian and I had purchased a beautiful cream-colored gown at Goth in a Box (not the real name), and it fit what we wanted for our wedding very well. It was a simple but lovely wedding, and I was spared a great deal of the condescension of dealing with the wedding industry because of it. The dress was a great deal more comfortable than a traditional gown, too. I wanted to enjoy my wedding instead of being preoccupied with the binding, chafing misery of traditional frippery, and I am glad for the choice I made.


Anonymous said...

For my first marriage we got married at the JoP...I wore pants. LOL

For THIS marriage we actually had a wedding...and your story about what you really wanted made me want to comment. DH and I also met on an MMORPG (EverQuest). While I know DH would not want to go all out RPG for our wedding we still decided to do something a little different.

I had a friend who made Ren Faire clothes and she made my SAPPHIRE BLUE dress. He was dressed in all black almost like a pirate. We got married in the park...and had hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill for the food (no catering for us!). Instead of a priest (his family is ALL catholic) I found a great GIRL Unitarian Minister (who I am still friend's with to this day) and customized our ceremony to meet our wants and needs (he is Athiest and I am Pagan/Buddhist so one of the rules was God could not be mentioned). We also changed right after the ceremony and played volleyball! LOL

Now, this is the funny part...a year later DHs brother got married and they had a ceremony that was different as well...though still a little traditional...and my FIL said right before their wedding "Aren't any of my kids going to have a normal wedding?!"

That cracks me up to this day. HAHA

Hekateris said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I was really hoping to see, y'know, pictures.

My wedding outfit consisted of a black, silver, and gray silk skirt in a floral pattern and a lace shirt with see-through back (to my horror). The skirt, which I had made for me in the US and was then brought over to the UK by my mom two days before the wedding, was too long and too loose in the waist. Some day I plan on making it into something else, because I love the fabric. I hated the shirt but had nothing else suitable for a hot day, and at the time didn't know where the plus size shop was in Aberdeen.

I'll never get married again, but in my imagination, if I were it would either be a beautiful sari or, alternately, some gorgeous salwar kameez, the tunic, trousers, and scarf of Asia. unfortunately I just don't have a figure for dresses, otherwise I'd go Medieval.

Gina said...

sadly, this sounds a lot like my dress experiences: the snotty salespeople, the insistence on an a-line dress (I succumbed and gave in to the small relief of finding a dress in my size that Did Not Suck), the suggestion that I should lose weight for Teh Speshul Daaaay, the 'hold this size 4 dress up to you and imagine' sales was the worst part about getting married.

Rachel said...

I went to five dress shops before I found the dream dress I ended up purchasing. David's Bridal was wonderful - great salespeople, lots of dresses in my size. I went into Wendy's Bridal and was completely ignored for 15 mins before I just left.

I went to a couple of small, locally owned shops, and while they only had one dress - yes, just one - for me to try on, the sales ladies were very nice. The last dress shop had dresses in my size, but not my price range. I did end up finding The Dress on the clearance rack and had it altered to fit.

I never thought I was the wedding dress type. Before we decided to elope, I had a lesbian Buddhist lined up for a very non-traditional wedding. Apparently there are no Buddhists in Michigan's UP nor are there lesbian Buddhists so I had to get a Christian minister who agreed to strike any mention of god from his speech. Stilll, the only traditional part of my wedding turned out to be the dress.

Jen said...

I got married in a hunter green wedding dress not too long ago. My mom wanted me to wear white but I said "Mom, I'm not a virgin and I'm not Queen Victoria, so why bother?" It looked great. My size wasn't too hard to find but it was hard to hear all the other women in the store talk about the diets they were on and all that. I didn't diet before my wedding. I knew I needed to keep myself well fueled or I'd fall over. *shrug*

JeanC said...

I am SOOOOO glad I went with making my own gown (actually my roomamte's sister made it, I buoght the material and pattern). I look awful in white and had no intention of a white wedding dress. Tho if I had seen my Grandma Mabel's dress first I may have changed my mind.

I'd originally planned on a 13th or 14th century gown, but hubby had a wonderful antique tux, so I decided Victorian instead.

Anonymous said...

Aww, this made me think about buying my wedding dress, back in spring of '06. Our original plan was to have a civil ceremony at the courthouse, and then at the last minute my hubby-to-be sprang on me that he didn't want a courthouse wedding, the courthouse being a site of bad association for him (traffic violations and his parents' divorce). So we lined up a non-denominational minister (I knew her already because she was the chaplain at my college), and decided to do the deed outside. He got a suit (paid for by my in-laws), and I needed a dress. I didn't want white, and set out to Big Chain Bridal Store for help. I had seen some pretty bridesmaid dresses I liked on their website, and they had my size. However, our assigned "specialist" basically pointed me to a rack and was no help whatsoever. I was upset, and my mother (who was great in all this...we don't have a good relationship, but she has these occasional moments of mom-ness) called their corporate office to complain. I ended up at Fashion Bug Plus, where I bought a white prom dress at 60% off (it was after prom). We had it altered slightly by a local seamstress and I had my dress! I'm glad that you had a good experience with BCBS...I sure didn't. But the ladies at Fashion Big were awesome!