Friday, June 10, 2016

Wedding Update #9

I have known what my wedding dress would be for a little over a year. Even before Sheldon proposed, my grandmother and I had talked it over and I even tried it on. I am going to wear her wedding dress from 1959. My mother also wore her dress, so this will be its third outing and likely its last. For several weeks I toyed with the idea of wearing a different dress and just using my mother’s veil, but in the back of my mind I was still pretty certain that I would wear my grandmother’s dress. 

When my grandmother was getting married she and her mother (my great-grandmother Ruby Lee) went shopping. Ruby Lee told my grandmother that she was allowed to spend 150$ on her dress. The two of them walked into a store and my grandmother saw a beautiful dress. “I want that one,” she said. The salesperson let her try it on. A perfect fit. But the price? Also a perfect fit. It cost exactly 150$. 

Many years later my mother and father were getting married. My mother wanted to use the dress. It was eggshell white with a delicate lace collar and sleeves. The bodice is satin-y and cut with princess seams. The sleeves taper into points that look like a medieval ball gown. There are tiny white buttons all down the back. The train spreads out far in the back, but it is not crazy voluminous. My mother has a smaller, more boyish build than my hour-glass grandmother, so she had the dress taken in. 

Now it is my turn. I learned that the dress was still in tact and in pretty good condition. My grandmother and I unpacked it from her lovely, cedar hope chest in my grandparents bedroom. We lifted stacks of photo albums and keepsake baby clothes to find the big, poofy white parcel at the bottom. Inside the body-bag-like case was the dress—rumpled but in good condition. I tried it on. It was to narrow at the chest and ribcage. I couldn’t button it all the way, but in my grandmother’s bathroom mirror I could see how it would be lovely if it were fixed to fit me.

A few days ago I tried the dress on again. This time it had been altered by my tailor to fit my waist and chest. My friend Joanna helped me to button all the tiny buttons down the back. I held my breath hoping they would close all the way. “Is it going to be OK?” I asked Jo. “It is going to be perfect.” All done. I lifted the swaths of fabric to walk toward the three-way-mirror in the tailor’s shop. I saw myself. Tiny waist. Hands delicate and white in the tapering sleeves. Hair in a sloppy ponytail. Neck long and graceful emerging from the lacy collar. The perfect dress. 

I am skeptical of the emphasis American culture has on finding the “perfect dress”. It is almost as misleading as the idea that each person has a single soul mate whom they must locate. There are countless scenes in films aimed at female audiences that rhapsodise over the search for The Dress. I am glad that I didn’t have to search. I am glad that I didn’t have to go on an exhausting search through retail outlets and shops in order to find something that was supposed to be perfect. I didn’t have to sort through stacks of fabric and consort with elegant salespeople, who make me feel inferior and clunky. 

I am grateful for my dress. I love that it has a history. It was the beginning of two beautiful marriages before mine. The two ladies in my life that are closest to me in love and blood wore it. In about 40 days I will too. 

1 comment:

  1. So nice!!
    I have also started blogging and would love to share such stuff with readers. The LookBook