Photos: c/o Andy Petek
You may remember back in September when I mentioned that I bought my dress online. It was a high-low dress, had capped sleeves, and was made of chiffon. It was really pretty... but it wasn't me. Not only did it not fit well, but it also was a very summery dress... and I just wanted something that was different. I think what really sealed the deal was that I tried on that new dress for my mom, and her reaction was, "Oh... that's nice." Obviously, it wasn't meant to be.
We didn't have lots of time to do the whole "dress shopping" thing. The wedding was only a month and a half away, and I needed to find the dress—and fast—in case alterations needed to be made. My mom and I started looking around online and couldn't find anything close to what I had in mind. I knew I wanted sleeves, lace, and a bottom half that didn't poof out like a cupcake. We found a couple options, but they were way out of my price range. I really tried to work around a modest budget for our wedding, and spending more on a dress than what I spent on the entire rest of the wedding just wasn't going to be an option.
My mom threw it out there, "Well, why don't you come try on my old dress." That dress. Ha. We both giggled for a moment. That dress, from my parents' wedding in 1981, had been preserved after their wedding and had been moved all over the country (six states) with us in a big gold dress box. In fact, it lived under my bed in almost every house we lived in. We decided that I would go try it on, just for kicks. If anything, that would at least give my mom a good reason to get it out of its old box and donate it—something she had wanted to do for years.
We pulled it out of the box and the first thing we noticed was that it was not as "bright" as normal wedding dresses. Despite being a faded ivory, it also had water damage on the lace detail of the Austin-Powers-poofy sleeves. The ruffled wrist of the right arm was entirely orange from the water damage. Nevertheless, I hauled it back to the bedroom to try it on.
As soon as I emerged from the room, my mom and I had a good laugh for a few minutes. I hadn't been able to zip it because the zipper went up too high, so when I came out it was like a big, ivory sack with orange sleeves. My mom zipped it up, and it was a perfect fit. In fact, I don't think it could have fit the contours of my body better. The bust, the hips, the waist—it was snug, but not too tight, in all the right places. It was also the ideal length for my 3-inch heels. I turned around to let her see it, and when she gasped, I knew it was the dress.
Two days later, we met with the alterations lady who ended up making just three changes to the dress. She cut off the bottom half of the sleeves below the elbow (and where the lace detail stopped), tightened the remainder of the sleeves to fit my arms, and added a hook so we could bustle the dress. The only thing we weren't able to fix was the warped zipper... however it ended up looking like it had been bunched on purpose.
On our wedding day, I felt beautiful. I wore simple pearl studs, a pearl bracelet, and some champagne glittery shoes. It was so simple. I did my makeup with matte eyeshadow, using cream, light pink, plum and charcoal gray. I was really particular about doing my own hair and makeup, and it didn't take me as long as I thought to do either. That day, everything just worked.
As I walked down the aisle, holding my father's arm, wearing my mom's 31-year-old dress, looking at my mom with tears in my eyes before I ascended the steps to meet Daniel, and finally getting to see my Daniel, standing there with a smile meant only for me, it was one of the best moments of my entire life... on a day that I will never forget.
Wedding Week posts:
THE GUESTBOOK │ THE HAIR │ THE FLOWERS │ THE DRESS │ THE WEDDING │ THE HONEYMOON