Fine. I confess...
Wedding dress shopping was the pits.
I think there are a lot of things that go into that statement, so let me explain.
1- I'm not super girly. I don't enjoy being treated like a princess or being fawned over. It's just not me.
2- Wedding dresses are expensive and I'm cheap. It is painful to spend that much money on something I will wear for one(-ish, if we do a trash the dress) day.
3- I get very disappointed very easily. To get super excited about THE dress would only lead to disappointment, so I didn't allow myself to get really excited.
To say I went into dress shopping with a critical eye is an understatement. Let's just be honest. wedding dresses can cost whatever you want them to (I'd give an average, but I won't bother). I will go out on a limb and say that the higher end dresses are made to make a woman look the most gorgeous. That is the POINT of a wedding dress. Let's be clear though, if I'm paying more than $500 for a dress, it better make me look fan-fucking-tastic. It shouldn't be a question. So to hear, "Oh that dress is so beautiful on you!" doesn't do anything for me. Of course it does, it costs a house payment. It should look good on anyone.
Let's recap though, shall we?
FRIDAYI worked from home on Friday morning. Of course, I flexed my hours and had already warned my bosses that I'd be done by noon. Phil had slept downstairs (again) on Thurs night and woke me up before the alarm with his whining to go out. The medication they gave him at the vet made him drink a lot of water (which I was warned about), so perks. Since I was already up and had work to do, I just started on it. Gettin' those hours in early!
Teh German left for work and Phil and Meri hung out with me. Eventually Teh Running Bestie woke up (she had flown in on Thurs night) and came downstairs to hang out with us. By lunch time we had a game plan. We'd eat leftovers for lunch, then go check out a bridal shop that I didn't have on the schedule for everyone, then go by urgent care since Teh Running Bestie wasn't feeling well, then we'd go back home and wait on Teh Mom and Teh German to arrive.
I planned an impromptu visit to a bridal shop because I was a little bit (ha) stressed out about going into my first appointment with the gang blind. I didn't know how they were going to react, so I needed to do a test run myself so I wouldn't be completely overwhelmed with everything at once. This was a good decision.
We headed to Condon's Bridal and picked through the rack and I tried on a few dresses. We all knew that I was just browsing, that I had 3 appointments coming up for dress shopping and that I probably wasn't going to buy anything, if I happened to find anything I liked that'd be ok. I explained to the lady that I just need to have the experience and she was ok with that.
|first wedding dress I ever tried on.|
|All veils make me go into first communion pose.|
This could be because I never got first communion pics and I harbor a deep bitterness.
As expected, nothing really jumped out at me. But that was perfectly ok. Teh Running Bestie did notice one of those wrap dresses and she was a good sport while I mummified her. We also saw someone else come in and try on the mauve (imo) dress and Teh Running Bestie was a good sport and tried it on. She would have bought it since it was $20, except that it had "SAMPLE" embroidered into the shoulder and we were afraid that even with removing the stitching there would still be holes. Cute though.
After dress shopping, we stopped by Total Wine and picked up some items that had been on the list since we were nearby. On our way home, we stopped by urgent care for Teh Running Bestie since she was feeling poorly. Fun announcement: I'm the Yelp Duchess of the urgent care place from my trip in Dec and now this past trip. No big deal.
After Teh Running Bestie got some shots in her butt, we headed home for naps. Teh Mom and Teh German arrived around the same time. Teh Mom's first thing she did after arriving and saying hello was to prune my Haunted Mansion flower graveyard. Roux's Humom is going to be pumped. After the beasts were fed dinner, we headed to Spero for dinner, yep the same place we went to for my birthday.
While delicious, we had gotten a late start on dinner plus their usual slowness. This meant that we arrived at the Stingrays game about 5 minutes into the first period. Not so bad, but oh well. Teh German really likes being there before the game starts, but he was ok with being late for the delicious noms.
|Bread flight, minus the tallow biscuit (it was eaten first)|
|I had the sweet potatoes and the most perfect scotch egg and I shared the lamb barbacoa sandwich with Teh Mom|
We won the game, which was extra awesome since losing usually puts Teh German in a funk. We headed home after the game and Teh WJL had arrived when we were 5 minutes away from home. We all stayed up for a little bit hanging out, and then we had finally wound down enough for bedtime.
SATURDAYSaturday was the big day. We had a slow start but then we were out of the house by 1030 to be at Mex 1 for lunch at 11 when they opened. Teh German joined us for lunch on Suzi, but parted from us when we headed to the dress session.
|as always: carnitas torta with street corn (light seasoning)|
We finished eating and paid and walked next door to Bridals by Jodi for my first dress session.
|The lace on this dress was SUPER soft and I kept rubbing all over myself.|
|That butt ruching.. mmm mm.|
I found one top contender after trying on no less than 20 dresses. The only dress I said no to was one Teh Running Bestie had picked out because it was $2500. Hard no.
While Teh Mom is paying for my dress, I have set a $1000 budget for my dress. This doesn't include alterations. I know that I could spent our entire wedding budget on a dress, but I refuse to do so because I also know that there are perfectly good dresses that are in my budget.
Having exhausted my options, we left. While we sat in the parking lot, I called DeBorah's Bridal to see if I could come in early. Side story: Teh Sister had dress shopped at DeBorah's and the lady recognized me when we arrived. I had originally scheduled an appointment for 3, but it was only 1:45 and I had no idea what to do to burn time. They said it was ok to come in early and we were there before 2.
Where I had been able to peruse the dresses at other stores, that was not the case at DeBorah's. My ladies were given a shower ring to attach to a single dress they wanted me to try on. All the while, I was brought into the dressing room to discuss my preferences. Apparently, this is very Say Yes to the Dress-esque, but since I don't watch TV, I had no idea. I did like the lady that was working with me, so that was a positive.
After trying on 6ish dresses, we took a break so I could pee, then we were back at it. Teh Mom, Teh Running Bestie, and Teh WJL said that the dresses they were picking weren't being brought to my dressing room to be tried on. I pointed out that I hadn't even gotten to look at the dresses at all. So when I was on my way back from the bathroom, I told them I was going to look around. I think both DeBorah and my assistant knew better than to say no. I had been a good sport and had tried on everything they brought me, but I get a say.
I picked out a few dresses, DeBorah added some dresses, and my assistant picked some dresses. I'm not sure if any of those were picks that my ladies had made.. I found 3 dresses that I really liked. 2 of them I liked because I heard, "This dress makes you look soooo skinny!" Someone spoke to my vanity, I loved them.
My assistant was wonderful. There were dressed that came into the room that I looked at and said no and she said, "Alright, on to the next one." I was very pleased with that. There were dresses that my ladies didn't even see because I wasn't pleased so we took them off and put the next one on.
|Using back pillows was genius for making dresses that were too large fit.|
More shops should employ this over clipping/pinning the dress.
About my favorites:
#3: Everyone gasped when I walked out of the fitting room in this one. Like, audible, simultaneous gasp. AND THEN, someone said, "You look sooooo skinny." The real problem was, I didn't love it. I didn't love the lace pattern, I didn't love the straplessness. I just didn't love it. I love how I looked in it. Finally, it was over budget.
#2: This was our surprise dress. I will opt for a high waist 98% of the time and I fussed and fussed about thinking it wasn't going to look good, blah blah blah. I was wrong, my assistant was right (she picked this one), and a drop waist can look good on me. This was another "you look sooo skinny" dress and I liked that. Also, it was super light and very much different from what I had been looking at. It was $50 over budget AND would require some serious alterations work because it was slightly too small.
#1: This was the dress that called to me when I started to look in the racks before I was pulled into my own Say Yes to the Dress episode. It had the lace, but was different and I liked it. I wasn't sure about the bubble bottom, but I liked the way it looked on my midsection. I also didn't mind the flower, but everyone else hated it. I really liked this dress and DeBorah was willing to cut a deal and include some alterations for us, but even still, it would have come out at $1750 and that really killed my vibe.
A little after 4, probably 15-25 dresses later, I gave up. I took the card with the #1 dress info on it and we set out for home. Originally, I had planned to cook dinner in the crockpot, but no one really seemed keen on the idea, so I hadn't done it. Shortly after we got home, it was decided we would go to Willie Jewell's for dinner, which was fine for me.
We all loaded up in Yurtle since she was already out of the garage and headed out. Dinner was scrumptious, as expected. Since it was super busy, we headed out soon after we finished to free up a table. When we got home, it was time for stretchy pants and laziness for the rest of the night.
SUNDAYSunday was the 2nd big reason that the ladies had descended on Charleston, the Charleston Wedding Show. Teh Mom and I had went to this with Teh Sister in 2015 and when I acquired enough free tickets for 6 of us to go, it was a date. I threw in the dress shopping after they said they were coming for the show.
Our first stop was to tour the venue. Christy, our coordinator, had set up an appointment for us to go visit. Unfortunately, there was an event already going on (a wedding), so we weren't able to go into the bridal/groom suites, but everyone did peep in. Everyone was in awe. Even Teh German hadn't seen the inside of the venue, so I was especially concerned about his opinions. He loved it. While the coordinator and I discussed ceremony locations and reception layout, everyone got to have a look around.
When we were done at Alhambra, we headed to Holy City Brewery for brunch. Teh Running Bestie needed some chicken and waffles, even if she couldn't taste them. I suggested splitting meals, knowing we would be getting samples at the wedding show.
|I approved of this photo for social media.|
My faces were on point all weekend, this is just an example.
Once brunch was consumed, we gathered our things and headed to the coliseum for the wedding show. Teh German decided (after much pleading on my part) to come with us. YAY! This worked out way better for me than I had anticipated. Since I was one of the first 400 brides, I got a veil and a sash and a bag of goodies.
Unlike the year that we went with Teh Sister, we were given SOOO many bags to put stuff in. We had actually brought in one of my bags because I had anticipated getting so many handouts with nowhere to put them. I was wrong. We ended up with no less than 5 reusable bags, plus the one we had brought in.
My main goal in attending the wedding show was to sign up to win free shit and get free samples and visit every photobooth. We did hit up 2 photobooths, we used almost an entire sheet of labels signing up for free shit, and I did have some delicious bbq and mac and cheese from Sticky Fingers.. but mostly, I was overwhelmed and there were too many people and had Teh German not been there, I probably would have just left. I might have been nice enough to my people to tell them I was leaving the show floor.
I don't know what the difference was between this time and the time before. Probably because this time I was the bride and last time I wasn't. It's a completely different mindset.
It took us about an hour to walk through the entire floor. Disappointingly, most vendors weren't doing their drawings until the end of the day and you had to be present to win. I knew that I wasn't going to last that long AND that if we left, I probably wouldn't be coming back. There's only so much to do at an event like that when you have almost all the big decisions made.
After Teh Mom decided to wander back to us from her bathroom trip, we headed home. Teh Running Bestie napped, Teh Mom and Teh WJL went to Lowe's, and Teh German and I headed over to Teh PT Neighbor's house to pick up some wedding stuffs they were donating to our cause. While we were chatting, I invited them over later to have a dog nail dremeling party. When we got home, I also laid down for a quick nap.
When I woke up, there were flowers planted in my flower graveyard. Teh PT Neighbors came over shortly after and I worked on dog nails. Max was exempt after he freaked out, Meri was the absolute worst, and Phil and Marcie were just resigned. After nails were done, the beasts expended their energy, then recharged.
|Max is not pictured because he was whoring himself for pets.|
After a while, we all headed inside and I started making dinner while we all socialized. Teh WJL ran back out to the store to pick up things she refused to tell me. While waiting on dinner to cook, I sorted through all the stuff that I had been given at the show. 99% garbage. We did get a gift certificate for free wedding bands (no real catch, just pay $25 for processing per ring) and a gift cert for some sign type of thing. Eventually, Teh Running Bestie woke up and soon after, it was time to eat. Teh PT Neighbors headed home and we sat down to dinner.
We had cheesecake for dessert that Teh WJL had picked up. After dinner was cleaned up, we just relaxed for the rest of the evening.
MONDAYI had scheduled an appointment for 1030 at David's Bridal, our last dress try-on session. We were there around 1020 and I had intended to just go in and browse until our appointment time, but they don't open until 1030, which is weird. Of course, we were right on time for our appointment. I was pumped because there weren't a lot of people in there, which I assumed would be better service. Teh Mom hadn't been pleased with Teh Sister's David's Bridal session, which she reminded me about while we were sitting waiting on our assistant.
I was patient for the first 15 minutes while our helper worked with another bride who was looking for shoes? I wasn't really sure what she was doing, but we saw her carry her dress in with her. I was given a book to look through. The tabs to mark pages weren't pointed out to me, so we started a text message list of page numbers. I had been done with the book for about 5 minutes before the helper came and said she'd be with us soon. Uhh ok. 5 more minute passed and now we are 15 minutes past the start of my appointment time and there is not a single dress for me to try on, nor have I taken my clothes off. Queue the frustration. I decided to start perusing the racks. About this same time, I was told that she had started pulling dresses for me. I figured that the helper was going to help me in and out of dresses, so I kept perusing. When there were about 5 dresses on the rack, we finally figured out she wasn't going to help me and Teh WJL came in the closet with me to help me get in/out of dresses.
|I'm forever stuck in 2003 and I love a split overlay. Unfortunately, this waist did not work for me.|
|I saw another bride wearing this dress and tried it on. I liked it, but it was meh.|
The lace jacket looked like it had been pulled from a glamor shots studio.
|#1 pick, but I had issues with the waist and the $1350 price tag.|
I probably tried on 10-20 dresses at David's Bridal. Nothing worked. In fact, I didn't even have a number one when I left the store I was so disgruntled. The service was shit, none of the dresses were what I wanted, I was just over it. In addition, the dressing room was smaller than my cubicle at work and 2 people were in it with usually 2 huge dresses. Oh yeah, and there was no fucking mirror in my closet. #RAGE
I even had a mild meltdown in the dressing room. Frustration tears for the most part and disappointment that I hadn't found anything. It was good when the group made the decision to leave. I worried that maybe I was a little hungry, but I didn't think so. We agreed on Sesame for lunch, which was as delightful as I had anticipated. After lunch, we headed back home.
Teh Mom and Teh WJL headed back to NC. Teh Running Bestie went upstairs to take a nap. I worked on laundry and printed out the front side of our save the dates for the Germans. I had just pulled the stack out of the printer when Teh German came home.
He had a look on his face, which I couldn't tell if it was because he smelled something (Phil's breath), because he had went to Crossfit, or because something was wrong. I knew it was the last option when he picked up the stack of save the dates and flipped through them and sat them back down on my desk with a sigh. Then he sighed heavily again when he took a seat in the office.
Concerned, I asked what was going on and he explained that Papa G had sent him an email that essentially said a lot of shit that wasn't true. I was infuriated. There was yelling. Lots of yelling. Yelling that roused Teh Running Bestie. I had Teh German forward the email to me so I could reply to Papa G. Short story: Papa G wanted to send out an email to our German guests because our save the dates weren't fast enough for him.
I know that I'm a lot nicer in text than I am in person, so I sent him a strongly worded email that said do NOT send your email. Having observed some human behavior and knowing myself, I know that when people understand the situation they are less likely to get riled up. So, that's what I did. I explained to him that we had agreed to do exactly as he had asked, we didn't debate it, we just agreed to it. But nothing is instantaneous (unless of course he wanted electronic save the dates/invites, HA (ok I didn't put this in my email)). I explained that I had created the save the dates from scratch and they needed to be printed but my ladies had been in town for wedding dress shopping. Essentially, there are a lot of things going on right now and sometimes I have to prioritize. I did make sure to add the line that said, "While my job is flexible, we cannot drop everything and work on wedding things."
While I had been overwhelmed at the wedding show, Teh German was overwhelmed with this email. I'm really glad that our weaknesses complement each other's strengths so well. He was there for me when people were blocking my way on Sunday and I was there to deal with his dad on Monday. I read my email out loud to Teh German and Teh Running Bestie and with no protests, I clicked send. Since Germany is 6 hours behind, Papa G was already in bed, so we had to impatiently wait on his response. Teh German was not positive. I knew that I had this one in the bag.
After the drama was handled, we all settled on the couch for quiet time. Teh German watched videos while Teh Running Bestie and I read from our Kindles. The room was very 2017. Eventually, my mind started wandering to wedding dresses and I scrolled through the photos that had been taken.
It's very difficult for me to see things in person, which I've mentioned before, so it was easier for me to see myself in the photographs vs in the mirror. I decided to check out my #1 dress on the David's Bridal website to see a better picture. 8 minutes till they closed, I called David's Bridal to ask if the helper had written down the number of the dress I had liked the most. Luckily, she had since I was unsuccessful finding it on the website. After the lady gave me the code, I found it and noticed that the dress was on sale for $499! But only size 4 and 8 were available online. I called the lady right back and asked how long the sale was going for, if it was possible to come in on Tuesday to try just that dress on, and if it was possible to order my correct size. She explained the sale was through 2/21 and I could come back in. Since the sale was through the 21st, that meant that I could just order the dress when I went back in the store. Done.
After the spurt of excitement and having potentially made a decision, it was time to go to bed, so we prepped dog food and took care of our chores and headed upstairs.
TUESDAYSince I knew, Teh Running Bestie wasn't feeling well, I went into work like normal. Before I got out of the bed, I checked my email though. I had received an email back from Papa G saying that he will calm down and be patient. Teh German was surprised, but happy. During the morning, Teh German texted me and said that Papa G had apologized to Teh German, which is rare. I was very glad to hear this because I could tell that Teh German had been upset by his dad's email.
Before lunch, I headed home. I was sad to see her suitcase first thing when I walked in the door. While I ate lunch, we planned to head back to David's Bridal. We'd move the sash on the waist down and see if that solved my waist issues.
Teh Running Bestie was smart and loaded her bags in the car, just in case. We headed to David's and it took 20 minutes for a different helper to bring out undergarments (which had been part of my problem the day before) and pull the dress. I put on the undergarments while she pulled the dress and I was still waiting on her. By undergarments I mean a corset bra thing and some spanx... difficult undergarments...
She finally showed up with the dress and Teh Running Bestie helped me into it. The different undergarments really helped. Then the real test happened. We found a sash and put it around my waist to see if it helped my waist problem. It did! I finally said yes to a dress. I made a wish and rang the bell and everything. After changing into my clothes, we headed up front to order the dress. My helper had to be replaced with the check in lady, who was nice. Slowly, it came out that they had to get an override for a 22 week wait time. Then we learned that the wait time wasn't applicable since the dress was no longer in production. I could buy the floor model though.
It was not even an option for me. Because of the lace and beading on the dress, the dress was super torn up. Even with repairs, I didn't think that dress would look good. So we were back to square one. Honestly, I wasn't really upset about it. It just was.
Glad that Teh Running Bestie had brought her bags with us, we headed back to Bridals by Jodi for my 2nd #1 choice. I wanted to try it on again and try it with a colored sash. Since it wasn't a holiday, neither David's Bridal nor Jodi's was busy, which was nice. Jodi's had a lot faster service and I was in the dress within a few minutes. We tested the dress with different sashes and at different waist placements. I tried on a few other dresses, but none compared to the one I had come in to try. So I said yes to the dress, for the 2nd time.
They took my measurements and I put 2 other dresses back on to test out the size to see what size they should order. While the dress wasn't as cheap as the David's Bridal dress (I do love a good bargain), it was still under budget and they gave me a 10% first-time visitor discount since they don't offer a military discount. Total, I paid $835. I'll take it.
They explained that it should arrive during the summer, probably July-ish. Both Teh Running Bestie and I were relieved that the dress had been taken care of. We were also worried because the ordering and trying on the last 2 dresses pushed past 1:30, which was originally when Teh Running Bestie had wanted to be at the airport.
I feel like I bounced out of the store. One more task checked off the wedding to-do list! We jumped in the car and headed to the airport. We made it a little after 2 and since her flight didn't leave until 3:30, I wasn't worried. We said our sad goodbyes and I headed to Teh German's work to share the good news.
He was excited for me. I had told him the night before that dress shopping would have been much easier if I was able to do it with him and he agreed. I also said that I knew WHY he couldn't have helped, but it still stands, it would have been easier with him. We talked about Papa G and Teh German shared the message with me that he had sent back explaining that poor communication had played a part in everyone's frustration. I was just relieved that everything had calmed down and I didn't have to yell anymore.
I explained to Teh German later that sometimes, people just need to bellow and when someone challenges them, they sit back down. I felt like this was one of those instances. I bellow a lot. When I'm challenged, I sit down and shut up, unless it's something I am very adamant about. I had been nice at first, but when someone hurts someone in my pack, my heckles get raised. ;)
I left Teh German's work and headed home to finish up my work day. I still had plenty of tasks to complete (yay for tasks!). When Teh German came home early, it felt weird, but was nice. We ate dinner early and then we headed into the office to print out save the dates. Of course, I had some printer issues to start with and some troubleshooting was required. Teh German was the problem solver though when he reminded me to check the printer's network. It wasn't connected to the network at all, but a router reset helped and we were able to get down to business (to defeat the Huns).
Since it was a learning process, I was less inclined to teach Teh German how/what I was doing to print off the cards. I did manage to figure out an expedited way to get the addresses into Photoshop without having to type everything in (which I started to do and messed up one card, got frustrated and went back to the copy/paste drawing board).
I had a question about one name, which I messaged Papa G about. I was able to get all the save the dates printed except for one (with the name issue). Teh German had sat in my office with me, encouraging me as required, proofreading when necessary, and perusing social media. After the task was complete, it was time for night chores and bedtime.
________________________________________________It was an interesting weekend for sure. Teh Mom spent a lot of time doing her own thing when she wasn't with the group and we all suspected something was going on, but she wouldn't talk about it. Teh WJL and Teh Running Bestie were super excited, and I might have been a bit overwhelmed by this. I tried to be humble about it being "my day" but I just didn't love it being "my day." Really, I wanted to have fun, but it didn't feel that way at all. I am glad that everyone was able to meet and come together though!
I was able to print out the last save the date this morning since Papa G messaged me during the night with the name I needed. I'll be mailing out the save the dates probably tomorrow since I have a late meeting today and I need to go to the gym (I ate like shit all weekend and I really want to finish my book).
FYI, wedding posts are scheduled through the end of March, for those of you who are into that kind of thing. I may shift the day around on them though because I'm kinda missing my Friday brain dump posts.
I'm just resurfacing from a busy weekend, so I haven't had a chance to open my Feedly to see what kind of madness is there. I also still have intentions to go through the Show Us Your Books linkup.. buttt I always have good intentions about that.
This weekend is Teh German's birthday and we're having a gathering to celebrate. Otherwise, it's going to be a quiet weekend where I get to catch my breath from all the wedding activities. Then we march right into invitation design. F.M.L......
Happy middle-of-the-week, Gentle Readers!