After last week’s flurry of happiness with two wedding dress recipients (they are over the moon you guys, and it’s the best thing ever), we’re back with the 11th wedding dress given away on APW. Anne is generously offering her lovely, simple, size 8-ish dress. It was a dress that ended up being more important to her than she expected, and now she wants to pass it along to one of you. The rules are the same as always: Leave a comment about why you’d like to receive the dress. Anne will select the recipient (with occasional lobbying from me… as hard as I try not to). The recipient pays for shipping, and promises to send Anne a picture of them wearing it, full of joy. Hopefully the recipient will come back as a wedding graduate too, but that’s encouraged, not required (but we’ve never had a dress recipient grad post yet. Snifff!). Beyond that, remember, if you receive a dress from a wedding grad, they automatically become a small part of your bridal brigade. Keep them in the loop, send them a love note or two. Because suddenly, they are now invested in your wedding. With all that, here we go:
I started my dress shopping experience by default. My sister was bringing her dress to a consignment shop and she invited me to go with her to look at other dresses. That day, she and I hit up 3 used dress stores in one afternoon. I was shocked by the prices of used wedding gowns. Don’t get me wrong, these dresses (specifically one Michaela one) were fantastic. The stitching and the regal fabric made me feel like a million bucks. That being said, there was no way that 10% of my budget was going towards a dress (before alterations, shoes, hair, veil, etc).
After that outing, I began to think about the role of the dress in the wedding. You see, my mother rented her wedding dress. You could do that in the 70s. My Husband’s mother made her dress and my sisters bought used dresses. I think those decisions helped shape my ideas of what my dress would be. I wanted to feel beautiful and comfortable. I wanted a formal, fancy wedding dress even though we were having a barbeque. I also knew that my dress would not be worn by my daughters some day. I didn’t have a very sentimental attachment to the dress.
I also asked my fiancé what he was expecting in terms of a dress. The moment I was most looking forward to at the wedding was the moment the church doors would open and I would see my fiancé at the other end of the aisle. I wondered if he had a similar sentiment. My always practical and candid fiancé responded that he did not share that perspective. He knew that I would pick a dress that I liked. He knew that he would like it. He knew that the dress was only a small part in his idea of our wedding. He also pointed out that he was renting a suit. This was all very valuable advice and it helped me immensely.
I ended up picking a David’s Bridal dress on-line. I drove an hour to the closest store that had it in stock and I put it on. I was all alone and I stood and looked in the mirror at myself for 2 hours! Hello, self-consumed! I bought it and returned home. Almost immediately, I wondered if I had made the right decision. I liked the dress, but it is simple and from a big-box store. It certainly isn’t the same quality as a designer gown. Then, on the morning of our wedding, when my mother was zipping up the back (yes, the buttons are fake!), I teared up. It was the only time I cried all day (well, until my honeymoon breakdown). Looking at myself in the mirror, all dressed up like a bride, somehow made the whole day feel real. That dress was perfect for our wedding day and it definitely helped me to realize that the dress plays a critical role in the wedding. Maybe it didn’t for my husband or for other brides, but for me, it was huge. And now, I want to pass it on to one of you.
I’m 5’10. The dress was a bit short on me. I wore perfectly flat shoes.
Label size is a 10; however I tailored the rib cage area and hips down (probably more like a size 8).
It’s David’s Bridal Style WG9871. Strapless, mermaid-style, plain, ivory gown with faux buttons down the entire back of the dress.
I had a BBQ wedding outdoors, so the bottom of the dress does have some stains. I think it’s just dirt on the bottom seam and some of the inside layers. I don’t think there are any obvious stains on the dress.
The dress has a short train and a tie bustle.
Photography copyright by Carol Willoughby