It has taken me a week to write this story. Since there was no way to change the names to protect the innocent (Ok, we weren’t really innocent), i had to wait for my embarrassment to subside before i could do it.
Both of my daughters are getting married in the coming year. Tho my oldest is eloping out of the country, it seems she was worried that she was depriving me of some momma-daughter time spent wedding planning by doing so. I am totally ok with her decision, as i feel their plans are perfectly suited to them as a couple. But i love spending time with her, so we decided to spend a day doing the frou-frou wedding dress thing. She makes an appointment at one of the local bridal shoppes, and we head there after enjoying a nice late lunch together.
While my daughter is filling out the requisite profile – You know, so they can keep reminding her of how important it is to spend lots of money – I start perusing the gowns. Racks upon racks of gowns. I am not terribly hopeful, tho, because my daughter is more Princess Fiona than she is Snow White – fabulously bold and lovingly Dreamworks real- and all the gowns were definitely Disney.
I get chastised for going off on my own. Apparently there is a system to bridal gown shopping, and i am subverting it. So i am pulled back into ranks, and we are given instructions on what we are supposed to be doing… Finding something that suits her style. Which, of course, was exactly what i had been doing, but i didn’t wait for Simon Says.
Shame on me.
Most of the gowns were frothy, spun-sugar confections with tulle and satin and beads. Lacy sweetheart necklines, sumptuous satin trains, and full-on crinolines. The stuff that so many little girls’ dreams are made of. My oldest weedling, however, had never been one of those. She is a glorious mix of Frida Kahlo, Tank Girl, and Jessica Rabbit. She needs, deserves, something a bit more unique. Something with sexy flair. Something with an edge. None of these gowns really has that, but just to get a feel for it all, she picks some out, and we start with the trying-on. I go into the dressing room with her to help with the buttons and bows.
The first gown is a sleeveless fit-and-flare in a beautiful shade of champagne. Not exactly her style, but a good generic place to start. On the rack, it looked graceful and somewhat understated. On my daughter’s killer figure, the skirt spread like she was about to go square dancing. Like maybe she should be poised in a bathroom with a roll of toilet tissue holding the skirt out. Not at all the look we were going for. All that was missing was the scent of lysol-and-geranium.
She tries on a slinkier gown. Kind of a 40’s starlet kind of thing. It mostly fits, the bias cut accentuating her badass curves. But it isn’t old-fashioned enough to really look retro, nor is it modern enough to look edgy. And it is white. Blindingly white. It-will-be-stained-before-he-ever-sees-it white. With her beautiful Italian coloring, the white is just too much. And of course, it didn’t come in any other color.
The third gown was the exact opposite of everything she had set out in her guidelines. Miles of white tulle. Strapless bodice with a lace overlay and off the shoulder sleeves. Dotted with tasteful beading and sequins. And a train. A luxuriant, swooshing train. It was the stuff of fairytale and fantasy. And she loved it.
She was stunning.
Oh my, yes.
I didn’t cry, tho i came close. As did she. And then we looked at the price tag. Holy hell. If it wasn’t the most expensive gown in the place, it had to be close. But what the hell, this was our first round of looking, so she tries on the matching veil and headband. And then a jeweled waist sash. At that point, the only thing missing was ostrich feather, but i’m sure we could have found that on a clutch purse. It was the total princess package, and the saleswoman could tell we had bitten the baited hook. So she tells us that she can put in an order, just in case, because it would be terrible if we decided she needed this dress and then it was discontinued before next year.
At this point, we notice the shoppe is starting to close up. All that remains are us and a younger bridal group on the other side of the wedding runway. So we go in to remove the dress. And that is when it all descended into crazytown.
My daughter and her fiance are planning on eloping in Ireland in the off-season, at a place with lavish outdoor gardens near Galway Bay. They aren’t bringing a bridal party, so the dress, which is as much as the rest of their destination wedding budget combined, is just for them. And tho i am no wedding expert, i’m thinking that irish moss stains will be a bitch to get out of that beautiful train. So i decide i might need to tell her that she should keep this dress on her radar, but maybe not close the deal today, in case she gets caught up in it all (Which she had already done once before and had to go through the hassle of requesting a deposit refund.)
Unfortunately, my brain wiring hasn’t aged well. Sometimes when i am emotional, the words in my head don’t come out of my mouth in the right order. So tho i opened my mouth with the intention of saying, “We don’t have to decide today,” what came out of my mouth was gibberish. Real words, but in the wrong combination. My daughter asks me if i’m having a stroke, but she doesn’t seem worried because she can tell i knew the moment i heard the words come out that i had missed the mark. And i start to laugh.
Because of the yummy Greek lunch we had prior to arriving, the laughing makes me break wind. And because a small part of me is still a child, that makes me laugh harder. Which makes me toot again. Which makes me laugh even more. And so on and so on. Within 60 seconds, my oldest weedling and i are laughing so hard we are literally crying, and the highfalutin dressing chamber may never be the same. We bust out of the room wet-faced, barking, and holding our bellies. The saleswoman immediately grabs a box of tissues. My daughter tells her that we are ok, but the woman offers the box again in our general direction, saying, “You really look like you need these.” She then asks if we are alright and admits that she can’t tell if we are laughing or crying. Between breathless rib cramps, we explain that it is both, but that we are fine. She nods her head and makes towards the dressing room to grab the dresses.
“DON’T GO IN THERE!!!”
We both yell it, and i run in to gather the dresses and bring them out, pleased to find that the little room doesn’t stink too badly, and the paint hasn’t peeled from the walls.
The barbie girls across the room seem pretty certain that we are certifiable.
Minutes later we are outside and still coming back down from the humor high. Even now, i am giggling as i remember it. Man, i love spending time with the woman who is my oldest! It is never, ever boring!
I honestly don’t know what my daughter will end up wearing to her wedding. She will be beautiful even if she shows up barefoot in jeans and a t-shirt. But getting to spend that time with her: Talking about the magic moments in life, watching her transform into a princess, feeling my heart swell when i see her regal beauty all decked out, and sharing the kind of laugh that bashes the hell out of every other thought in your head… That alone was worth the trip.