I could show you the photographs from Kleinfeld's 18 months ago when Mrs. Newly Wed, then The Fiancee, tried on 5 gowns and kept coming back to the very first one she tried on. ( I could, that is, if Mrs. Newly Wed hadn't deleted them from my phone because she didn't trust her own mother to leak pictures of it to family; friends; Mr. Newly Wed; or the blog.)
She kept coming back to that very first one, the one with the pleated, fitted strapless sweetheart neckline, dropped waist, and a skirt that bloome into tiers of gentle, sheer ruffles edged in white grossgrain. However, there was one other dress that she liked and she went back and forth between them.
I held my breath. The first dress was made as if it had been created for her when she was 5 years old and the designer could see into the future to what a beautiful woman she would become, and made a dress that combined her grown up beauty with her 5 year old whimsy and charm.
The Bride could not decide. She was unsure if she should buy any dress that day; it was supposed to be a just-looking day. The experienced sales staff quietly produced a sheer tulle veil and pinned it to her head with a crystal comb. Another silently tucked a silk bouquet into her arms. She looked at herself, her lower lip quivered, my eyes filled with tears, and then Randy came over and took her hand.
You look lovely, he said. Where is the wedding to be held?
By the sea, she said, on Cape Cod in the spring.
Oh my dear, this dress is just made for an outdoor spring wedding. The wind will pick up the tiers and they will move in the wind like the froth of the breakers on the shore. (I may have made up the breakers part but I swear he said the rest).
Will you say yes to the dress?
She looked at herself one more time and her eyes lit up with a smile. Yes, she said, barely audible, yes.
When we left the store, she called The Fiance, who was working in a physics lab buried deep under a mountain in Italy. After she finished speaking with him, I took the phone from her, and barely able to get the words out, I said, "When you see your bride walking down the aisle in this dress, your heart will stop and you will know you have no doubt that you have made the right decision to marry my daughter."
And you know what? After the wedding, he told me that when he saw her for the first time in her dress at the wedding, all he could think of was our phone call and what I said, and that it was exactly how he felt. A fairy tale from New York to South Carolina to Italy and back.
On the day she was to pick up the gown, I was already on the Cape making everything spic and span and painted. She went with her Dad to get the dress and they could barely fit it in the car.
This is all I got to see when she arrived on The Cape with The Dress in tow. You wouldn't believe how it was stuffed and how many layers of plastic were over it.
What to do with it in a small cottage? Why not hang it from your a flimsy curtain rod in your parents' bedroom so it scared the bejeebers out of them every night when they got up to use the bathroom?
(BTW - Kathy Nesi was the first commentator to guess that this was the wedding gown AND the bags were welcome bags for out of town guests. Her prize is a postcard from Cape Cod. Only I forgot to send it to her; or to buy it. She'll forgive me. I'll get one the next time, I swear!)
The dress was so expertly packed that all we had to do was unzip it out of the garment bag a few days before the wedding to let it air. (I did sneak certain friends and relatives in to take a peer - do not tell her!)
On the day of, many plans were discussed as to where The Dress would be photographed before The Bride donned it. Apparently, placement in very odd settings of the pure white, fragile, very expensive gown that your daughter is to wear in an hour for the biggest event in her life is de riguer.
First idea: in the middle of the living room! That's cool, controllable, safe. Co-Mo was elected to climb on the sofa being the tallest member of the wedding party and due to MOB being faint of heart.
Ehh, nothing over the top about this shot.
Oh, said the very lovely and very hardworking photographer, I want to take The Dress outside and photograph it against the grass, the house, and especially anywhere that has a thick layer of dirt on the ground.
So let's take the gown to various odd locations, all the while trying not to snag it, drag it, or get it dirty. Poor Co-Mo!
The photographer arrives at a decision: the dress is to be photographed against the blooming rhododendrons. Hanging from the blooming rhododendrons. The blooming, colorful rhododendrons where the MOB and FOB had no time to mulch.
Over my dead body says The MOB. There's dirt on the ground! But the color of the blossoms, the green of the leaves, says the photographer! What about a sheet on the ground?, says the MOB. It'll show in the shot! exclaims the hardworking photographer.
So we head for the little rise over the stone wall behind the patio. To make certain that The MOB really gets the shakes, let's hang it from a set of old outdoor lights, the ones that were left up all winter and are dirty, frayed, fragile, and barely able to hold up a few paper decorations. (The Brides-Man wants the record to reflect that he was coerced into helping the photographer and he is just glad that The Bride was having her make up done and could not see any of what was going on.)
I am sure that the photographer (who was a darling and the hardest working photographer I have ever seen at a wedding) got amazing shots whilst The Mother of the Bride and The Brides-Man were having a series of strokes as the dress jumps down the wire 5 times and almost landed in the dirt FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE THE BRIDE WAS TO PUT IT ON.
All's well that ends well: here is the dress with The Bride in it, all pearly white and fluffy romantic, as The MOB and The FOB hand her off at the altar. (Really, I am not pushing her, I am just gently nudging her to get on with it already, this has been two years in the making!)
Right now, The Dress is back in its bag and laying on a chair in our living room where Mrs. Newly Wed flung it on her way to her Newlywed Apartment. She was heard to exclaim as she drove out of sight, "Mom, get it cleaned before I have to wear it to the church wedding on June 23....."