Day 5 had my mother and I heading to our sixth bridal shop in two weeks (is that crazy- yes, probably but I’m pretty intense when I get started with a project, and I like to cross things off my list). We may have gotten a little lost (and there might have been a tense moment or two worrying about gas and a cell phone which was dying- this was important because the cell phone was providing our directions/gps), but we got there a minute late for our appointment (good thing I didn’t call to say I would be late- a minute is probably not what they expect when you say you will be late). It was good we got there when we did (at 1:30) because I used the whole time until they closed (4:00) for my appointment (well, actually we made them stay open until 4:05, but I think they forgave us). We went to the somewhat unfortunately named House of Brides in Woonsocket, RI (my father said the name sounded like a horror film, my sister thought it sounded like something else a little less PG rated). They were having their annual sale so it was great:
Well, it was close to this- the dates were actually for October 20-23- and they were open on Sunday
I was hopeful that I could find one of these “bargain” dresses since my momma didn’t raise no fool and I love me a bargain (too much? I’m going with it anyway).
We could look through and pull from the sale racks and there was an entire room of dresses in the back that the bridal consultant pulled from based on my answers to a few questions and feedback from some of the gowns I tried on. Each bride got their own dressing room and each dressing room had a few seats and that pedestal thing and a mirror so you could see if you thought it was “worthy” enough to make a trip to the big mirror in front of the salon (there was only one of these, so I did occasionally have to take turns with other brides- especially when one had her “moment” and was crying up there- that’s ok though, my momma also taught me how to share and be happy for other people- so I was thrilled that the girl got to have her moment). The décor was great- we were told most of it was original to when the store opened in 1954 and it looked very classy. The women who worked there were not super young (the store owner and youngest worker there was probably around my mother’s age) so I was a little hesitant about how this was going to go and if they would get my taste at all. I was especially worried when they got me into the dressing room and had me change into a strapless corset and a slip (where do they even find those?). At this point I was very concerned about what century they thought this was and how any of the dresses from this store were going to be.
This is the corset they put you in! It was a very uncomfortable few minutes, esp with my mom in the room. Thank goodness they gave you the slip for modesty (kidding- sort of- I guess it helped but I wasn’t feeling all too modest in the strapless corset) It did slim me down though.
Fortunately their dresses, and selection, was much better than I thought it would be based on first impression (sorry, I just got weirded out by the corset thing- maybe that’s just a me thing). Though I didn’t like the sale samples I tried on, they did have the Cassablanca line, and since it was RI there was no sales tax, automatically saving $50+ dollars (there is a 6.25% sales tax on clothing over $175 in MA –which a bridal gown almost always is from a bridal store). Plus because of the big sale they might be more inclined to offer deals on some of the other gowns. It came down to two dresses, both by Cassablanca.
There was the 1992, my favorite from the day before:
Sidenote: that choker is not a good look- who styles these people?
And the 1900:
The dress I tried on was Champagne with a Champagne satin sash and Ivory lace details. The Champagne satin under the lace really allowed you to see the lace detailing and the swiss dots which I totally loved (not really visible in pictures). There was some beadwork on the bodice and the lace, which made the dress subtly sparkle. I thought it would be too much, but it was actually pretty subdued in “real life” and just added a nice touch.
There is an interesting (ok, somewhat interesting, at least to me) story of how this even got into the mix. The bridal consultant asked me what my favorite dress had been so far and I told her it was the Cassablanca 1992. She pulled the 1900 for some reason thinking that is what I had said (she actually told us it was the 1990 and it took some time for me to figure out what number it really was). I actually really didn’t like it on the hanger, but decided to try it on anyway just for fun. So it was sort of fate that I was even tying it on.
I went back and forth between the two dresses. The owner of the shop, who had remained quite on some of the other dresses I tried on in the “big mirror” in front of the store actually told me what a beautiful dress the 1900 was on me when I walked out. When she was told it was down to that and one other dress, she closed her eyes to be “surprised” by the reveal of the second dress (the 1992 from the previous day), and gave her honest opinion that the 1900 looked better on me. How do I know it was an honest opinion? Because I would think that the owner of the store would want to get the most money. The 1992 cost about $300 more than the 1900, so if she had just wanted to make a sale, she would have pushed the more expensive dress. This is not what she did though, and the opinion of her, and the other consultants, was great feedback and clearly was not “sale based,” though they of course wanted to get a sale. What really did it for me was the fact that they offered to sell me the sample, which was my correct size, at 17% off the original price, bringing the dress about $450 UNDER my budget (wahoo) and the fact that it was a “one time offer” and “some other bride could buy the dress.” I wouldn’t have done it had I not looked at so many others. I must have tried on over 50 dresses easily, and this one seemed the most “me.” I didn’t cry or have an emotional moment (and neither did my mother- guess we are those kinds of people), but I knew that this was the dress for me. When I pictured walking around the beautiful orchards of Brooksby Farms with this dress, it just felt right. They actually had you “say yes to the dress” which was a cute/cheesy touch and everyone cheered. It turns out that every bride who came in that Sunday bought a dress, how great is that?
I will not post pictures of me in the dress, as Mr. Fenway does read this blog from time to time. He has seen the dress on the model though (at his request-but he won’t see me in it until the wedding), though I maintain it looks different when it is actually on me and I have some changes I am going to have made to the dress to personalize it even more for my tastes. It definitely needs alterations (shortening and a bustle at the very least) and I might think about changing the neckline a bit and I am definitely making some small changes to the back, but overall it is just perfect. I love it and I am so glad to have such a major thing crossed off my list. Now it’s on to accessories!
Bonus: Mr. Fenway found out the appliqués were Chantilly lace and immediately pulled this up on You Tube:
(which of course I had never heard before)
Did you have a “this is the one” moment, or was your decision a little harder? Was six times the charm for you or did you look at more or less places? Did your dress remind your Significant Other of an old song?
See the back story on why I started my dress search so early
See how Day 1 of searching went
Weekend One of dress shopping continued in Day 2 of searching
I decided I needed an extra day and went for the trifecta on Day 3
Day 4 brought me very close to my “the one”