Do you know where we went?
Or why these girls looks so apprehensive?
A much nicer place than those - just rather butterflies-in-the-stomach-inducing!
We were there Just To Look! Not to buy, too soon, too early, but you know, she wanted to feel it was real, this engagement of hers, she wanted some wedding experience, especially with The Fiance in Italy for the month and her job so stressful, and starting grad school. She wanted a little taste of bridal cake.
Rather surreal, to say the least.
After all, what was odder - that I was accompanying my first born child to select the gown she would wear to be married in, or that Audrey from Say Yes to the Dress was our consultant?? The funny part was, after the giggling was over, we felt like we were with people we'd known all our lives.
Yes, we met Randy, Audrey, the alterations manager, the owner, and saw most of the sales consultants that are featured on the show. Yes, we went partially because of the novelty of it and as an experience to be had. No, we didn't apply to be filmed, though we watched the set up for and the beginning of a segment being filmed.
See the camera behind the mirror? They stand on packing boxes and get The Money Shot of the bride looking into the mirror. Our dressing room was next to the one used in the show and The Princess stood on the very same platform and looked into the same mirror used on every segment.
We saw brides in Duchess Satin, in lace, in tulle; brides in fishnet, damask, and silk. We saw white gowns, ecru, beige, and even pink. We walked down aisles festooned with more veils than a nunnery, heard at least five different languages twirling around brides in sequins, ruching, and plunging necklines. We watched brides modeling for webcams, for moms, sisters, friends.
The halls were filled with the rustle of organza and silk and young women flew by with armfuls of tulle as dresses appeared on racks and disappeared into rooms and young women who entered in jeans and flats came out as Brides in Alencon lace with designer silhouettes.
Here's the thing: it wasn't an amusement park ride. We were waited on, assisted, helped, styled, cossetted, gowned, veiled, and bouqueted. Audrey and an intern pulled gown after gown for us, keeping within our price point and styles. They made suggestions, brought in some they thought she should try, left us alone to think about it, and withheld their own opinions until they heard ours. They let us take our time, never rushed us, and gave out a lot of hugs.
The Princess came in and out of the dressing room more times than I can count, wearing floaty gowns, weighty gowns, billowing gowns, tight gowns, white gowns, beige gowns, fluffy gowns, fitted gowns. Everyone looked at me, waiting to see my expression, to check if my eyes were reddening or filling up with tears, and I was observing it all with a third eye and wondering why I didn't feel anything other than, "how pretty!", why all I could think of was how she liked to dress up as a child and put on all the clothes in her dresser, or walk around in a nighgown and scarf positioned like a veil. And what was wrong with me that I wasn't bawling or at least choked up and instead felt kind of tired and slightly bemused and even a little weary thinking we still had lunch to get through and another appointment at JCrew?
And then she emerged from the dressing room for the tenth time and we no longer noticed the arctic air conditioning or our growling stomachs, because there was The Princess wearing what was instantly obvious to all of us was The Gown, and we were dumbstruck at the transformation of our little girl into a BRIDE, and all of us - including The Princess - open mouthed and almost shy to say it out loud. But no, it was too soon! We weren't ready! We had just come to look!
And this is when all their years of business kicks in, and Audrey said, "why don't you come into The Big Room where the lighting is better and you have more room", and she led us into The Room.
My daughter walked into the room, past other brides to be standing on daises wearing their gowns and looking in mirrors at themselves, and past mothers of brides, adjusting veils and maids of honor spreading out trains, and little siblings running through the waterfalls of veils, and the film crew setting up cameras, and as she entered, all eyes turned to The Princess in her gown and ribbon-edged veil and silk bouquet of pink peonies that another consultant kindly thrust into her hand, and everyone whispered, and she looked like Belle, and she stood before the huge triptych mirror in front of the room, and her lower lip quivered, and her cheeks blushed, and my eyes watered and my throat constricted and my lip quivered along with hers, and her father looked at me and said, this is it.
We said yes to the dress.
She was whisked off for measurements, and we cancelled our next appointment, and texted The Fiance and took photos, and walked to Union Square for lunch.
And although the wedding is still a long way off, The Princess has the photographs we took of her in her gown, and she checks them on her phone a couple of times a day to remind herself that it is real.
And here it is, our very own Money Shot*:
Have you ever seen a more beaming bride???
*We're sorry; you know no one sees the gown before the wedding! You'll just have to wait with the rest of us!