July 30, 2005

The next level

Sure, I've got a ring I wear every day (or rather, I try to remember to wear it every day). And we put a deposit down on the location to reserve the date. We've even been to a few catering tastings. The invitation list is mostly done. The save the date cards are ordered. We've got a friend who's probably going to do the photography and another friend who'll probably do the flowers. My sister-in-law will make the jewelery for my bridal party. We've looked at the hotel and possible locations for the rehearsal dinner. And I've tried on dresses on three occasions.

The first dress trying on attempt was at a chic-chic salon where I couldn't afford anything. The second attempt, my mom even cried at the first dress I put on. I laughed and pointed out that I looked like an automobile and asked her to at least save the tears for a dress that was flattering. Unfortunately, while everything in that store was reasonably priced, nothing was remotely attractive on me. The third attempt, however, I found a few dresses that could work in my price range and one I loved. I knew when I tried it on that it was too expensive. I was scared to find out how expensive, though, because I knew I'd buy it if it was less than 50% more than I'd planned to spend. Turns out, it was just at the high end of my budget. I was shocked. R, who was with me, went back to make sure that the woman knew which dress we were talking about because she was also shocked. The quality of the dress was very high and it seemed too good to be true that it was so "cheap." ("Cheap" as 50% more than I've ever spent on an outfit, with the baseline being the emergency suit I bought in 10 minutes at a Union Street boutique.)

Yet, despite all of this preparation, until yesterday, the wedding still felt like a normal event to be scheduled in my life. I finish work in two weeks, run a half marathon, school starts, N's wedding, a few trips, another couple half marathons, the MPRE is in November, the holidays, my first marathon in february, and I get married in March. It was just another stop on the train of my life this year. As AD informed me the other night, I'm "painfully pragmatic." So I figured, the stress of getting married -- that's for other people.

But, yesterday, the event took on a whole new level of reality. E2 and I went to the salon to see my dress and how it fit after the 5+ summer associate pounds have neatly settled themselves on my frame. It still fit, and E agreed that it looks beautiful. I figured I might be able to wait until September to order the dress, so D could see it when she visits and possibly I could whittle a few of the extra inches away. But the owner of the store quickly disavowed me of that notion. Apparently, the dress needs to be here 6 weeks before the ceremony in case I need alterations. With work breaks for Christmas and Chinese New Years, even if I ordered it yesterday, it wouldn't arrive 'til late January at the earliest.

So, that's it. I was measured and determined to be a particular size. Oddly enough, it was the size they had in the store and it fit reasonably well right off the rack -- this NEVER happens for me. The owner of the store knew her business, she discreetly asked me if I "maintain my weight" because the dress fits as is. I explained that I'm about 5 pounds heavier than I normally am, and we discussed the theoretical pre-wedding loss of weight that seems to accompany every woman's wedding. Turns out, I have a "nice bust" and unless I lose so much weight that it shrinks to the size it was when I was a teenage athlete with 13% body fat (oh, hell no) it will be the limiting factor in the size of dress I order. Kind of a relief, actually. I can gain a few more pounds or lose 10 and I still will have ordered the correct size dress.

So, I plunked down my credit card. And, for some reason, it feels so much more real. I'm getting married. Workers in a chinese factory will be cutting material to fit my body exactly and sewing what must be a million parts to put it together. Six months from now, the most expensive outfit I've ever worn will arrive in the bay area for me to try it on and have it altered. And all of of this effort is focused on one day. I'm excited, and I'm starting to see how this whole wedding thing could be stressful.

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