Cinderella has a Dress for the Ball (i.e. Wedding)

Looks like Cinderella, but not wearing the perfect dress.
Looks like Cinderella, but not wearing the perfect dress.

Last week, I mentioned my first experience with wedding dress shopping in more than 15 years (I was a matron-of-honor once and hope never to be dishonored that way again).

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, my future daughter had her fourth opportunity to scour through a bridal store. This was my second outing, and I hoped it would prove to be “the day” we found her dress.

Her spirits skyrocketed. She had visited the website of the bridal boutique where we had a 12:30 appointment. In loving color (which can be difficult to notice when the dress is white), they displayed a dress by her preferred manufacturer. It looked like it had the two elements she wanted paired to perfection.

The shop was a converted house. Little hallways were stuffed with dresses: wedding gowns, bridal party attire and prom frou-frou.

At the back of the house was a well-lit sitting area overlooking the back parking lot. A trifecta of mirrors and a raised platform provided an ideal setting for a bride to showcase her choices.

Alas, that space was for royalty. We were tucked into a room behind the mirrored wall. Sure, it was a fair-sized room – 14 by 14 – but one wall was lined with chairs. Can anyone say claustrophobia?

But I don’t suffer from such fears. I took in the two full-length mirrors; those would offer a double-sided view of dresses. Yes, the room became the changing station and model runway.

Needless to say, the company website falsely advertised.

“It shows the entire collection,” the saleswoman said, “but that doesn’t mean we carry all of those gowns.”

Of course it doesn’t.

Could we at least put that in small print somewhere? That way, when my hopeful daughter called to make an appointment, she would know to ask if the dress she CAME TO TRY ON was on the premises.

An hour and a half later, we left with a helpful folder of wedding planning information, but not any closer to finding “The Dress.

Since we were nearby, a call was placed to the very first shop we went to – Bridal Exclusives. We’re out and about and wondering if we could come by to look at those dresses again?

Another appointment. More time by myself on the commuter-crazed highway.

Déjà vu.

We love Lindsay. This woman knows her gowns and how to make a customer feel valued. However much she makes for putting up with picky brides-to-be, she deserves a pay raise.

The envisioned dress proves elusive, does it? Not a problem. Let’s see if we can find a top from that manufacturer (Casablanca) because they will combine two styles.

Have you ever worn two wedding dresses at the same time? I mean – huge ones. They have four layers of crinoline beneath and four layers of gauzy tulle above.

Nope. Not "The Dress" for Cinderella.
Nope. Not “The Dress” for Cinderella.

My lovely Cinderella wore two dresses for quite a while. Come to find out, she could combine these two dresses – they were quite similar in style. The major differences: the cut of the waistline and the embroidery and beading on the skirt.

Yes, there is a Fairy Godmother in the wedding gown industry. Lindsay is her representative. The flattering beaded bodice will be paired with the shimmering embroidered skirt. The made-to-order dress should arrive in June.

The price? Believe me, I was expecting something close to $2,000 after looking at the price tags on some of the flashier gowns she’d tried.

I was wrong. I’m pretty sure Cindrella’s parents breathed a sigh of relief. They were prepared to pay whatever the price for “The Dress.”

Now that the most important part of the special day is taken care of, attention can be turned to more mundane things: finding a church, deciding on a minister, bridesmaids’ dresses, menus, and whatever else.

What memories do you have of planning your wedding? Are they positive ones? Or do you heave a sigh of relief  (“Glad that’s over”) when you think of it?

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.