Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wedding Dress Story

Here it is, in all it's glory:

Stephen and I had a long engagement, so I thankfully had lots of time to find The Perfect Wedding Dress--the one all gals seek.

And seek I did. I sought all over the place. After looking at, literally, thousands of dresses online over a period of several weeks, I found the one I had to have.

It was a Maggie Sottero dress with an A-line skirt, fitted lace bodice with crystal beading, empire-wait satin detail and three-quarter length sleeves.

I think this dress was made for me. It was everything I wanted. Which of course means that nothing was going to stand in my way of getting it. Nothing.

A local bridal shop carries Maggie Sottero so I called them up to see if they had the gown in stock. They said no, but that they could order it if I did decide I wanted to try it at no cost of obligation to me. Since I had a lot of time (read: like, a year and a half) before the wedding that sounded fine and dandy to me.

Life was pleasant for quite a while. I would regularly check the Maggie Sottero website, making sure my dress had a good night's rest, that it had enough to eat, and make small-talk with it.* I dreamed about trying on my dress soon, picking out the rest of my wedding ensemble, and generally looking like a princess. Because real princesses wear sleeves, you know.

My dream bubble popped one Friday morning. I followed through on my normal dress-checking routine when--gasp!--it was NOT on the Maggie Sottero site.

"It must be some mistake," I thought, trying to calm myself down. "I'll call the bridal store."

I explained (read: freaked-out) to the consultant my increasingly-stressful issue, and then waited on hold while the bridal shop called the Maggie Sottero warehouse. Those were the longest two minutes of my fashion life.

The consultant returned to my line: "That dress is being discontinued. Today is the last day to order it, by three o'clock."

I didn't know hearts could sink so quickly. Disappointment--then, irrational panic.*

"I'll call you back," I said. I had gone into crazy bride mode.

At the time, my mom and I worked together, so I called her up and asked if she could come over to my office. I explained to her the situation and how this dress was going to be gone FOR ALL TIME if I didn't order it within the next 4 hours. I would not have the option of trying the dress on. All I could do was head to the bridal shop, have them take my measurements, and hope that the dress fit and that I loved it when it arrived in a few months.

Oh, and I'd have to put half of the $850 the dress would cost down that day. Talk about impulse buying. It didn't matter; I wanted that dress.*

I see now that for my mom it must have been like trying to catch 10 pounds of mud with fishnet stockings. I was spewing so much babble, I was getting to the point of hysterics. I didn't think I was one of those people who would cry about a wedding dress, but having the possibility of this dress taken away FOR ALL TIME was putting me over the edge. She tried reassuring me that life would go on, that I'd find another dress, and that it was too much money for a dress I couldn't actually try on.

After much personal debate and more tears, I put a call into Stephen (who, by the way, is off training in Georgia at this time) to let him know that the dress that I loved (a dress, mind you, that he had no idea about, or interest in) was going to be lost FOR ALL TIME. He tried to console me just like my mom had. He foolishly said things like, "You'll find another one," or "You'll look beautiful in anything."

Poor guy. He was trying to talk sense to a woman flirting with insanity.

I decided lunch was in order. As I ate, I had a revelation (read: "crazy-person" revelation). I couldn't let the dress slip away. I couldn't give up; I just had to get creative.

My creative solution was to do what any whimpering, crazy bride would do in this situation.

Check eBay.

"Maybe, just maybe, the dress will be out there," I told myself. It was just madness at that point. "People sell things like that on eBay, right? Right? RIGHT?!"

Actually, they do. With my total long shot, I typed in the maker and name of the dress and a sample that another bridal shop was getting rid of came up. In great condition. In my size. In the right shade of white.* In my madness, I convinced myself that it was fashion destiny.

"BUT WHAT DOES IT COST?!," Crazy Jen thought to herself. "WHAT IS IT?!"

Ok, for those of you at home who like to play the guessing game, I'll give you a minute...






Got your guess? Good. Ok, here's the starting bid I saw:


This initiated full freak-out mode for me.* With a shipping cost of only $25, I thought "I can totally buy a dress for $50 bucks on eBay! If I don't love it, I won't feel like I lost hundreds of dollars, and if I DO love it, I will save a ton of money!"

I suddenly got serious, and shifted from Crazy Jen into Crazy Bidding Jen. I was very closely watching this auction. I had both a desktop and laptop open to the bid (you know, in case one froze or was slow). I basically refreshed the auction every seven minutes. I was on a mission. I was only 19 hours from The Perfect Wedding Dress. One person did try to outbid me once, but because I had pre-set my max bid to, like, $200, and because I was shopping with a vengeance, I was getting this dress. There was no way they were going to take it away from me. My precious.*

The next morning came, and I opened the auction page. There was about an hour left, and I was still the top bidder. I don't think I peed or brushed my teeth until the dress was mine, at which point a did a happy dance and ran to the restroom. The dress was going to be shipped to me within the next three days. Guess what? It was shipping from a shop in Atwater. Yeah.

In three days, it did arrive. And it. Was. Perfect. I seriously loved everything about it. It fit just as I imagined it would and I knew that this dress was going to be the one I got married in.

The kicker? The final cost of the dress, shipping included, was $77.56.

That's the story, now immortalized on the blog.

*Weddings make you crazy.


  1. how beautiful! and what an interesting, funny story. lol

  2. Thanks, Corrie! Yeah, it didn't seem funny at the time, but I can totally laugh at it now. :)

  3. The really hard part was that this story was shared with every woman who knew Jen, and we were given strict orders to not let Stephen find out about it until she told him on their wedding day... and amazingly he didn't find out until that eventful day! Whew, that was the hardest part, especially being the mother-in-law!

  4. That's awesome! Such an amazing deal for a wedding dress.

    I have kinda a simplier story about a jacket that I feel in love with. It was $150 at Gottschalks and I couldn't bear to pay that much for a thin 3/4 sleeve trench. My clever niece said go online.

    So I did and found it for $80 bucks... still I couldn't buy it. I waited and watched it and would go look at it every couple of weeks until one day I went and it was on sale for $59. And story was mine. :)

    It's true good things do come to those who wait.

  5. Sandy: It definitely was an awesome story to tell him. I think it bought me enough thrifty-shopper credit in his eyes to last 'til the end of this year.
    Carrie: Cool! It is so fun getting deals. By choice, I mean. Not by obligation. :)