I’ve been hiding something from you, hive. The fear that you’d think I was silly or wasteful has prevented me from sharing this with you. I also wanted it to be a surprise at our wedding and, though Mr. Mink doesn’t read Weddingbee, I know some of our friends and family do.
So I’m going to close my eyes and type it out really quickly. Here we go.
I am a two-dress bride.
Let me back up and start at the beginning. All of the dresses I felt drawn to in my preliminary searching for a wedding dress were by fairly expensive designers. I also wanted to try to buy from someone who was making their gowns in the America. I went to shops and tried on dresses and wound up with six dresses that I liked. I didn’t think I could afford any of them new, but could definitely afford them used or as samples. I started searching the sample/secondhand sites every morning for those six dresses.
Then, I won a one-of-a-kind Jorge Manuel gown, The Star. I stopped looking at the sample sites. Jorge’s team flew me to Charleston to pick up my dress. Not knowing who would win the dress, Jorge wisely made it in a bridal size 8. Lindsey from Maddison Row clamped me into the dress, and I felt beautiful in it. But, I felt unworthy. I had settled on the idea that I would wear a secondhand wedding dress, and then I was whisked away to try on a one-of-a-kind gown (and put up in a villa at a resort for the night, too). I have to admit that I felt guilty. I figured out how to get a dream dress at a big discount. What about the girls out there who hadn’t done that? Did I deserve the dress more than them?
On the practical side, I also felt a little scared. I had read online that a seamstress could take a dress up or down a size or two. I wasn’t sure about my size in bridal sizing, but I was worried that altering the dress might ruin it. I was also worried about how much it would cost to do extensive alterations.
Photo by Paige Winn
When I got home, I brought that gorgeous Jorge Manuel gown to a charming seamstress named Thuy, and she decided to do two rounds of alterations. She’d bring the dress down to my general size right away, and then I’d return closer to the wedding to having it fitted. Thuy loved my gown, but as she inspected it and clucked over adjustments she’d be making, I was worried about whether she could make it work. She had to work around the floral detail that stretched around the sides of the dress (my favorite part!) from one side to the other, and she also had to negotiate her way around pleats in the skirt.
I love that this happened while I was wearing a stand-in ring. / Photo by Paige Winn
Soon after, I went to Boston for business and tacked on an extra day to visit with family. I was so worried about what would happen with the dress that I asked my mother to go with me to Vows, a store that specializes in selling sample dresses. I described a few of the six dresses I had liked originally, thinking that we could possibly find an inexpensive backup dress. Just a few moments after we separated to browse, my mother showed up next to me with an Amsale dress in her hands. It was one of the six dresses. I had tried it on at a salon early in my planning and didn’t think it was romantic enough for our venue, but I thought it was a gorgeous party dress. The sample was 70% off the retail price. We bought it. Vows had it cleaned and repaired a loose bow before shipping it to me in Virginia. I tucked it away on a high shelf.
For a while, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Thuy, the seamstress, did a great job getting The Star to fit me. Some pleats on the sides of the skirt were sacrificed, but I didn’t lose any of the beautiful details from the bodice. The only problem was that bustling the gown was going to be odd—it has what I believe is a court-length train (shorter than chapel length, about one foot of train on the ground). I think people usually just let that sort of train be. How the heck was I going to dance with a train? Since I couldn’t imagine it bustled, I figured I’d just deal with it as is.
A few weeks before the wedding, Jorge asked me to come to Washington, DC to help him announce this year’s winner of the Upon a Star contest. I resolved to ask his advice about bustling the dress that night. We went to dinner after the event and, out of the blue, he said something along the lines of “Are you going to change for the reception? I like it when brides change.”
I was shocked. Did he have some sort of extra sensory perception? Information about the sample, the bustling, and the alterations came tumbling out of me. It was the least eloquent I’ve sounded in a long time. At the end of our conversation, I felt like I had his blessing to wear both dresses.
So that’s the story of how I became a two-dress bride.
Are there any other brides out there who have two dresses? How did you wind up becoming a two-dress bride?
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- College Administrator
- Wedding Date:
- June 2012
- Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards