Bride Elect (Evolution of a Bridezilla)
Chapter Twelve–Goddess Bride
One of the larger realizations I came away with as I did my passive research was that I was not by any stretch of my nature, inclined to be a “princess” when it came to bridal looks. I could not envision myself floating all other-worldly wrapped in taffeta and lace. The whole meringue wannabe was not my thing.
Still, ever the good sport, I went gown/dress shopping with my maid of honour. She advised me to do it, if for no other reason than to say that I indeed did do it. I whined a little, expressed concern that gown shopping could trigger a latent bridezilla gene lurking within my DNA, and basically agreed provided we could also just go “dress shopping”.
My maid of honour smiled indulgently, and used a tone a voice similar to the one she might use when assuring a small child that there are no monsters under the bed. I was assured we could go where ever I wanted to look for a wedding/gown dress, and that no matter what I might turn into, she would still be my maid of honour.
I held firm on my views regarding tiaras, taffeta, strapless gowns, mermaid gowns, and meringue wannabes. I told my maid of honour that I was no princess, and while she seemed to choke back a smirk, she did agree with me. In all my ramblings, somehow, I found words to describe what I was going for: Goddess Bride.
Yeah, I know, way less lofty than the princess motif—whatever. To my mind there is a certain ‘salt-of-the-earth’ quality to the goddess motif. Princesses seem to be more of an ivory tower—everybody-faun-over-me kind of gig, whereas the goddess carries a certain regal and self-assured quality that demands more of a reverence than pandering.
Also, goddesses seem to wear more flowy diaphanous apparel—I liked flowy and diaphanous much more than lace and taffeta. Sadly, it would appear that bridal shops are a niche market for the whole princess motif. You can see it in dresses and accessories. There are jewels, tiaras, miles and miles of “train” on both gowns and veils. The shop proprietors, and gown consultants have an air and deportment not unlike the courtiers, and ladies-in-waiting of yore. If ever you want to feel like a backwoods hick, say the phrase “Do you have anything more goddess-y?” in one of these bridal shops.
Amidst the snorts of derision, and coos of condescension, I was escorted into a booth devoid of mirrors, and handed gowns. When I came out of the dressing room, the poor lighting seemed to cast unflattering attention to every unseemly lump and roll on my body. My bra stuck out in all kinds of hideous ways, and I was advised to take of my bra—all Jennifer Beals in Flashdance style.
Now, while I do require the support of a brassiere for my ‘girls’ it is more for accentuation than containment purposes. Once I took off my bra, and tucked the ‘girls’ as per gown consultant instruction, the results were the kind of abysmal that can only be placated through alcohol. My goddess vibe was getting all but pummelled and that was making me a sad bridezilla. I wanted to go home. My maid of honour honourably suggested we move on to other dress shops, and also hinted that she would not be averse to buying me a cocktail later.
We tried many shops of many genres, and even a few department stores that day, but to no avail. If I was becoming a bridezilla, it was a very dithering, indecisive, and flakey one. My maid of honour was showing signs of fatigue, the most obvious being open-eyed REM. In some shops people thought she might have been channelling spirits from the world beyond this one. However, I knew better, and suggested that we resume the hunt for the goddess dress on another day.
In truth, that despite any good intentions and calls to duty, I realized the only humane thing to do was to hunt for my goddess dress sans maid of honour. I cared about my friend too much to inflict any more dress shopping misadventures on her. Years prior, when she got married, she and her mom secured a beautiful wedding gown during a lunch hour shopping excursion. I marvelled at the efficiency and celebrated the fact that she had found her gown. I knew, that if I managed to find my own dress without her assistance, she would understand (and perhaps feel a profound sense of relief).
One day, in the throes of car drama, I decided to stop in a shopping mall located halfway between my home and the shop where I took my money-sink/boxy-but-safe car. I wandered aimlessly throughout the mall hoping to ease my car woes with some kind of wedding related purchase. Like a moth to a flame, I felt drawn by big and bright SALE! Signs. We were nearing the end of summer, and many shops were trying to clear out their summer dresses to make room for their “back to school” or fall fashions. Sales people seemed quite content with my “just looking” excuse, and they just let me wander and float about.
I noticed one shop with a really weird name—there were a bunch a letters and then an unpronounceable word starting with “M”. Undaunted, I figured there was very little for me to lose for looking, so I went in. Many of their fashions were either prohibitively priced, or a little avant-garde for my tastes in that moment. Way at the back of the shop was the “final clearance” rack. The sign promised an additional 10% if the ticketed price. On the rack of these clearance items were three different white dresses of varying sizes. Sadly many of the sizes hinted at being too tiny for my frame—but with nothing to lose, I took them to the change room anyway.
Women’s dress sizes are so very strange and varied. I never really know if I am a small, medium, large or even, extra-large. One dress marked a “size 7” was hideously small, another marked medium was huge! I was starting to empathize with Goldilocks in strange new ways when I steeled myself to try on the last dress. This dress was labelled size “extra-small”. Its ticket price was less than $200, and there was a promise of a further 10% reduction. I was motivated by my lust for a deal more than anything else.
I slipped this dress over my head and it slid smoothly and diaphanously down landing elegantly on my frame. My undergarments shone through, but aside from that easy to fix problem, it was flowy and diaphanous. It did not make me look like a small-boobed woman riddled with cellulite. I felt elegant and comfortable. As I moved the dress flowed out behind me. It never touched the floor, but did seem to have something a faux train. It was white, flowy, diaphanous, sleeveless (but not strapless), and not mermaid-cut. It was asymmetrical hemline, loose fitting/figure flattering, and it was my goddess gown. With nary a pompous courtier, lady-in-waiting in sight—I found my dress (not gown)!