3 Dresses 3 Times

After reading My Wedding Dress I felt maybe it would be interesting to write my own story. I have three wedding dresses, and I wore the official one three times. Most people definitely don’t do that. And maybe it will turn out to be good luck that I did.
It certainly wasn’t something I did on purpose. When we first decided to get married we thought we were going to have a wedding like everybody else – a ceremony in front of family and friends followed by a party. Unfortunately my family is not normal, so neither would be the wedding. After a long time resisting, we gave in to everyone’s wishes and eloped, to “prevent fall-apart”.
We were frustrated already even before we planned a single thing. We were planning on visiting Mike’s dad on the west coast early in the summer, and thought about what such a thing would mean to him. He never gets to see his own son on Christmas, and my own family was giving me a hard time about potentially having to be in each other’s presence. So we decided to bring the wedding to him and his family.
This left us with just two months to plan. Sure, it’s really all we needed, but dresses with all the alterations you’re expected to have take much longer, and I just didn’t have the kind of money normally needed for such a thing. I’m not a very fussy person and didn’t feel like wearing some sort of huge frothy ballgown in a tiny ceremony anyway, so we hit up the Le Chateau outlet to see if we could find any pretty formal dresses on sale.
And indeed we did. I found a very simple white dress for no more than 20$. It was strapless with a pleated bust and empire waist, straight to the floor with a ruffle and some ruching down the side. I was fairly satisfied and I bought it.
But it wasn’t long before I wasn’t so satisfied anymore. I was already giving up so much of what I would have wanted, and suddenly the dress felt too simple and boring, and even unflattering. If I could have just one thing right, I wanted it to be the dress. I knew I could do better. But I still didn’t have much money. So next I went to eBay.
I can’t say I don’t regret not having the typical wedding dress shopping experience, with mom and girlfriends attending in a beautiful salon going through all the spectacular dresses they have to offer. But at least on eBay, with my shopping savvy, I could at least look like I did.
It wasn’t long before the most absolutely perfect dress showed up in the search from one of the asian sellers who sell knockoffs direct from the factory. Again it was long and strapless with an empire waist. But this time the skirt was fuller, there was a ribbon under the bust, and the top and bottom were covered in the most beautiful gold embroidery. I had always wanted a gold and white wedding dress. It was only 200$ after shipping and I had to have it. I was so excited.
Just a few weeks later I got a horrible email from eBay. The store I had bought my dress from had been shut down. I think they got in trouble for listing the dresses at 50$ and the shipping for 150$. I know it’s wrong for sellers to do that but any intelligent buyer looks at shipping BEFORE making a purchase, so it wasn’t something that bothered me. Suddenly I had no idea if I was ever going to see that dress. I cried for days. And with only a few weeks to go there virtually wasn’t any time left to buy a new one, at least online. Terrified I would end up getting married in my pajamas I took a couple friends shopping in the local boutiques the next day. It was my last chance, and I knew it wasn’t going to be what I had originally hoped for.
In one of the little boutiques, I found dress number three. It wasn’t a wedding dress at all, even less than the first one. It was a semi-formal cocktail dress, but it was gold, and had beading all over the sheer top. It was beautiful. My friends absolutely loved it, and even if it wasn’t what I’d planned, I had to admit I did too. I could be happy in this. I felt much better as soon as I bought it. Things were starting to work out.

You can imagine my surprise when barely 2 weeks before the wedding, my dream dress from eBay showed up in the mail. It must have already been shipped when the store got shut down, even though I hadn’t received any notification. I couldn’t believe it! Sure it wasn’t the one from the photo, but a cheaper, stiffer version, but I had expected that. I invited over my grandma and we went downstairs to visit our caretaker/house mother Janina, who was as excited as any mother could be, for the very first fitting. Janina even did my hair and posed me for pictures.
A few days later we took the dress to my grandma’s tailor for the few adjustments it would need. The loose embroidery was reinforced, a loop of ribbon was sewed to the underside of the train, and snaps were put on the inside of the bodice and on my corset so the dress wouldn’t slip and expose it. This was especially important since I didn’t own any white or gold corsets and would have to suffice with a black one. I had to admit that my body type was a little curvier than what the dress called for, so being held in was important. So there unexpectedly, I had three wedding dresses.
The day of the wedding was a very hot one. Everybody was uncomfortable and very hungry. We decided to take the formal pictures as quickly as we could before going to supper, and the next day we got all dressed up all over again to take the more artistic ones. The atmosphere was so much more relaxed, and I hadn’t attempted to curl my hair again, so I was very happy we did it that way. A local friend joined us, and it was the first time I had actually met her. That was the second time I wore the dress.
At the end of June, my mom held a reception at her house so family and friends from her side could celebrate with us. She wanted us to recreate the wedding for the guests, and I wore the dress for the third time. I walked down the isle for the second time, and did it to a string quartet version of Love Cats by The Cure, partly to honor the precious fur babies that couldn’t be there. When the quick ceremony was over, I changed into the gold cocktail dress, which I considered a perfect casual version of the Big Dress.
The story of my wedding and my dresses is over for now, but after experiencing both an elopement and a wedding at home, I’m tempted to have as many different experiences as I can. One day maybe we’ll have a Vegas wedding, and who knows what dreams may come true in the years ahead if we decide to renew our vows again for a special anniversary. Maybe there will be even more dresses in my future. I have to say it beats only having one!

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