This phrase is most commonly referred to as the title of a popular television series. Now, I have a whole new perspective and understanding of what that actually means. My daughter and I embarked on our fourth trip into the world of wedding attire to try on yet more dresses. Wedding dress shopping is one of the most rewarding, insightful and stressful experiences I have ever encountered. There were so many “no’s” with wedding dresses, but only one yes, which is often the case in many other areas of life as well.
Nowadays you can’t just arrive unannounced at a bridal shop to peruse the merchandise, you must make an appointment in advance. I learned there are other rules as well, such as not taking pictures of dresses. Well, how was I to remember which dress she preferred after trying on over ten dresses? I decided to take pictures anyway. I took notes, cleverly naming each dress so she knew which one she would want to try on again later. It was stressful trying to reduce the myriad options down to one.
Then there is the facility itself, a critical aspect to dress shopping as I have come to learn. Some shops are add-ons to an existing store, whereas others are housed inside warehouses. At the add-on version we encountered a stressful and unusual practice: mirror-sharing. We had to take turns using the mirror with another bride, with her family sitting just three feet across from us. There were also no restrooms — if ever there was a group of people who needed that essential part of a facility, it would be nervous brides. and of course there was no water, bottled or otherwise, anywhere to be found.
One bridal store was actually a warehouse in which you booked “your spot” months in advance. We had to wait an extra half hour to access our spot. It turned out to be hard folding chairs with yet another bride and her entourage sitting across from us, but at least she had her own mirror. She came out of the dressing room looking lovely but stressed. Our attendant brought her outlandish dresses, definitely not her style. They were garnished with more bling than you would see on Cher.
Yet again we ventured out into the bridal world this past weekend, arriving at a free-standing shop in Roswell. I was skeptical at first, especially after I missed the narrow driveway twice just to enter the parking lot. We were greeted warmly by the staff and a friendly French bulldog. She was wearing a scarf matching the elegant chair she was perched upon. My misgivings started to subside. There were so many dresses, but they were organized by color, occasion and type. I began to think that perhaps this would be “the big day.” We were shown to a large, private room with overgrown couches and offered champagne in sparkly, pink flutes and bottled water. Then the fun began as all six of us began giggling like little girls playing dress up, joking with the bride-to-be with no airs of expectation, the giving of much needed opinions while the bride tried on over ten dresses. It was playful, intimate and so much more enjoyable.
My daughter floated through the door in the final dress of the day. My precious little girl was wrapped in a creamy satin dress with buttons going all the way to the floor on her train. The front was simple, elegant and there was a vintage belt full of diamonds and pearls that encircled her tiny waist. She looked ethereal and radiant. When I asked her if she felt like a million bucks in that dress, she nodded yes with a slightly choked reply. I was holding my breath but released it as I clucked out loud, “She said ‘yes’ to the dress!” There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. My emotions bubbled together because of the yes to that dress.
Spending so much time with millennials was enlightening and exhausting. We all worry about such different things and I found myself chuckling silently as I drove her “herd” around. I overheard many conversations between my daughter and her besties, about marriage and their ideas of life. I found myself asking on each trip, “Had I done a good job raising my daughter and preparing her for this next big step?”
Throughout all of it though, I enjoyed these last few moments of “mommyhood” because I knew that my time of being needed was coming to a close. I thought that her growing up like this wouldn’t come for such a long time, and yet here the moment was, draped in creamy fabric and donning a teary smile. In fact, this special day came far quicker than I ever imagined it would.
Throughout all these trips to find the perfect dress, we had become nostalgic, revisiting events in her childhood, some that I had no idea meant so much to her to even remember. I’m hoping that she will always remember our reflection as we posed together in front of that mirror, donning that angelic dress with my arms around her petite figure, both of us overcome with so many emotions. One day she may be standing where I was, holding her daughter in front of the mirror when she finally says yes to the dress!