My dress was important to me. I wanted it to feel personal and I wanted to feel like the best of myself when I was wearing it. I searched for a fabulous vintage dress without much luck. Inspired by brides who made their own beautiful, unique dresses, I visited a fine fabric store in the Cities but could not find a pattern I loved, partly because I didn't know what I wanted - I didn't even know what styles would flatter my figure. So I plucked up my courage and decided to visit a few bridal stores, at the very least to gain a little dress experience.
It was not at all the horrible experience I imagined it would be. We started at David's Bridal, and while they had some pretty dresses in my price range, but when I pulled them on I felt like I was wearing someone else's clothes - it just wasn't me. So we drove on Brides of France in Edina, which sells consignment as well as new wedding dresses. They were kind and helpful, but they also had an incredibly small floor space, a very limited number of preowned dresses, and a collection of new dresses I couldn't afford and which would take 5 months to order.
Mom and I decided to break for the day and visit Brides of France's Uptown location, which had a much larger selection, another day. So we scooted across the street to visit one of our favorite consignment stores in the immediate area and promptly got lost.
I saw the Priscilla of Boston salon as I was calling Aaron to get the address for Fashion Avenue. Thank goodness I had never paid much attention to designers, or I wouldn't have even walked in because I would have known I couldn't have afforded any of their dresses. But I only saw some pretty wedding dresses in the window and thought, oh, let's go see if they'll take us without an appointment.
We quickly found out that their dresses started at a price way above what I could afford, but just as we were turning to leave, one of the consultants stopped us and said they had just finished a sample sale, and they still had quite a few dresses left over if I'd like to try those. They paired me up with the nicest helper in the world, and off they went.
Not only were the dresses gorgeous, but the staff was incredibly friendly and did everything they could to find me a dress I loved. When I kept coming back a beautiful lace tea-length dress by Melissa Sweet that was just too small, they said, well, let's see what we can do. Not only did they manage to zip me into it (a miracle in itself), they also discovered that there was about an inch and a half of extra fabric along the zipper that they could let out. I'm a little embarrassed to say that when they found that I cried a little!
So I have my beautiful dress after my first day of dress shopping. It's beautiful, it's sweet, it feels warm and vintage-y and one of a kind, and it feels like me.
Mom and I later found out that we had stopped one store away from Fashion Avenue when we turned around thinking we were going in the wrong direction, took a right, and walked into Priscilla. Talk about serendipity!