My soon-to-be-daughter-in-law invited me to come along as she went to pick out her wedding dress this past weekend (along with her mother and three of her bridesmaids). I did…and boy, have things changed!
When I went shopping many years ago, there weren’t many places to go! The major department stores–and I do mean major stores–had bridal departments, but you had to go “downtown” to find them. That meant “getting dressed”–hose, skirt and blouse, gloves….the whole shebang. Once we got there, there was a very nice saleslady who more-or-less shepherded you through the process of trying on the dresses and letting you see how you looked in the three-sided mirror.
This time…we went to a store that does nothing but specialize in wedding gowns/prom and bridesmaid dresses/mother-of-the-bride and -groom dresses. An appointment had been made–a specific time set aside for this bride. When we walked in, it was wall-to-wall whiteness and ivory….rack after rack of dresses hung in protective bags. And mirrors! Every wall surface was mirrored! Niki had selected five favorite dresses online, so the saleslady (although that’s too mundane a term…she was more like a private concierge) found those on the racks while the rest of us looked through the various styles to see if there was something else for Niki to try on.
When several had been selected, we were led over to the “show-room” area, where Niki and her helper went into the changing room while the rest of us arranged ourselves on the chairs located around the edge of the “runway” platform (also mirrored everywhere). Eventually she came out in the first dress….nice, but not quite right. Too much frou-frou at the bottom–almost hiding her. So back to the dressing room, this time to try on the dress that was her most favorite of the ones she had listed. We chatted while waiting for her to get out of the first one and into this one…and then she came out, absolutely beaming. The dress looked beautiful on her! She had brought the veil she is going to wear–her mother’s (updated), and so that went on as well. Perfect!
She decided to try on another one–and then one her mother wanted her to try, since it was a different style. Eventually here she came…a lovely dress, and it looked nice on her, but it wasn’t “IT.”
Time to try on the second one again…and yes, this was definitely IT. It could be ordered in the ivory color and size needed.
Next it was time to look for bridesmaid dresses. The three girls who were there were all different body types, so it was a good opportunity to find a style that fit for all of them. They found three dresses in sizes for each…and voila! The first one was perfect! One of them was in the color Niki wanted, so they could see how the color worked as well as the style.
Total time for picking them out? 2-1/2 hours! Certainly much easier than some of the stories the girls were talking about.
At this point, it was time for Mom to discuss payment options with the store…and the girls to get dressed back in their jeans and tops. Nothing more for me to do, so I headed on home…glad I had been part of the experience but just marveling at how much more of a focus there is on this today than there was when I got married.