Dress, Offered XIII

We haven’t been doing very many Sisterhood of The Traveling Dress giveaways of late, because honestly, the logistics have gotten difficult. But somehow we just KNEW that we had to help Megan pass on her quirky and fabulous size eight dress. It isn’t the most expensive wedding dress in the world, but damn if it might not be one of the most beautiful. So, if you want to bask in the afterglow with Megan’s dress, leave a comment.

The rules are the same as always: Leave a comment about why you’d like to receive the dress. Megan 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 Megan 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. 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:

When “pre-engaged” I spent a lazy summer afternoon by the riverside fantasizing with a friend about our future weddings. After I had described the imagined location, guest list, ceremony, menu, music, assorted activities, flowers, and general ambiance she asked, “What about your dress?” and I drew a blank.

I was not looking forward to wedding dress shopping. It was difficult to imagine finding a dress I would wear only once and yet love enough to justify spending hundreds of dollars on. It wasn’t my priority and yet I did want to look beautiful. When I thought about wedding day beauty though, I realized that, as trite as it sounds, what really makes people look beautiful on their wedding day is the joy they exude and how comfortable they are with one another and with the whole celebration. Of course an outfit can enhance or detract from your sense of comfort, so comfort became my number one priority. For me comfort meant:

  • Not strapless. I am busty (32DD) and have only once been able to pull off a strapless dress without frequent adjustments
  • Minimal bling
  • No corset (or spanks!)  required
  • Accommodate eating breathing, dancing, and laughing with ease
  • Require no assistance to use the restroom
  • Not make me blush when I had to admit how much I’d paid for it (ie. less, waaaay less, than $1000)

I took these simple priorities to a typical bridal salon and was met with quizzical looks. The sales lady said, “We might have a few things you could try on…” Looking around at the yards of white silk, lace, and tulle I was incredulous that only “a few” of their dresses would meet my criteria. Luckily, I had already purchased my wedding dress that morning, I just didn’t know for sure it was my wedding dress yet.

I wasn’t attached to having a white dress so I figured the Nordstrom’s Special Occasions section was as good a place as any to try on dresses. I didn’t realize that finding an off the rack non-wedding dress for a summer wedding isn’t so easy to do in the fall. As I loaded up on black and navy blue dresses in heavy materials a bit of white on the sale rack caught my eye and I threw it on the pile. It was the Adrianna Papell Beaded Chiffon Gown size 8. It fit and it seemed to meet all my comfort criteria plus it was only $140 and I could return it if I found something I liked better.

But it’s hard to find something you like better when you’re not looking. When the time came to commit and have the dress taken up in length (I’m 5’4 and wore flat sandals from Payless) I hadn’t found anything else so I went with it. Hey, my mom was enthusiastic about it, as was the lady who sold me my wedding bra and the lady who was going to alter it…never mind that I was basing the one memorable fashion decision of my life on the opinions of a few middle aged women!

Despite my initial ambivalence about the dress, I really did love it in the end and I would love to see it bring joy to someone else. The stats:

  • Size 8
  • Hemmed for a 5’4 lady in flats, but the material was conserved, rather than cut, so a talented seamstress might be able to release the hem for more length
  • Accommodating of busty (me) and non-busty (the model in the Nordstrom link) women alike
  • Empire waist so very forgiving of a belly full of appetizers and champagne (but somehow it didn’t look like a maternity dress, honest!)
  • Perfect for a warm weather wedding, and worked well with a cardigan (or shawl) when the evening cooled
  • It swishes in a most delightful way, and it made me feel elegant, and Grecian, and vintage

If there is someone out there who can imagine deriving as much joy (and comfort!) from the dress as I did, then I want you to have it, love it, and send us all the photos of you contra dancing, or waltzing, or gazing adoringly at your honey in it!

Photos by: Matthew Zimmerman

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