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Soon after my engagement to Roberto, my sister Anna flew in to San Francisco, ready to go shopping. "Be sure to make appointments at several places," she reminded me shortly before her arrival.
Having sewn only my prom dress before, I planned to forgo my usual do-it-yourself approach -- I was willing to pay someone else to create my wedding dress. So, the hunt for a store was on. Wanting to narrow down our travel time to get maximum fitting time, I logged online and found a few stores in the Bay Area.
The Wedding Gown Superstore in Fremont seemed the most promising. They claimed hundreds of dresses in one location, and they didn't exaggerate. We walked in and were greeted by a sea of white and cream-colored dresses adorned with various combinations of pearls, sequins, lace, or beads. If my dress wasn't here, I couldn't imagine that it even existed.
Any clothing store has a restriction on how many dresses you can carry into the dressing room. In a bridal store it's not the number that is limited but the weight! You can try on anything that you can still carry-each dress weighs 15-20 lbs each. I struggled more and more as my mother and sister picked out the dresses "this one, and this one� and this one too!" As the weight increased, my height decreased until we were ready to stumble to a dressing room.
Trying on Wedding dresses can give you quite a workout and is best done as a team effort. My fearless sister swam through the taffeta and netting, navigating me through the interior of the dress, ensuring that my head, arms and legs came out in the right place. I would then parade up and down the room of mirrors and model on the little cat-walk/stage at the front of the store where my mother, along with other anxious mothers, waited to critique.
"Light pink? Are you sure that you want to make that statement"
"Too sparkly. It would work better at a New Year's Eve party."
"Uhmm�. Yes, that's nice, dear."
I kept pushing aside one particular dress. It wasn't as exciting as the others. There was no sparkle, lace or any attention-getting gimmick. It was the last, so I finally tried it on. As I walked down the runway, my mother sprung from her chair.
"Oh yes! This is the one! Ooohhh yes!" my mother and sister squealed in chorus. "It doesn't compete with you for attention" noted my mother. " It makes you look better, rather than screaming 'look at my dress'!" my sister agreed. They were right. Suddenly, when I looked in the mirror I saw a better version of myself, not the twinkle of a sequin.
"I'll take it!" I said to the joy of the sales person. That was six months ago.
I've been told that the worrying bride often loses weight as she prepares for her wedding. Some lose, some gain, says conventional wisdom. I've gained. If an Italian girl can't go to food for comfort and relaxation, where can she go? I've been putting off my last couple of fittings because I'm afraid I will not fit in my dress. I'm so glad I had the foresight to buy the "Alteration" package, in which the tailor guarantees your dress will fit - either by expansion or shrinkage --on your wedding day.
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