Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-BeFebruary 15, 2011

It’s now mid-September, I am still not officially engaged, but Lawrence and I are choosing venues, cakes, flowers, music, favors, themes and the like. Booking vendors, putting down deposits, and all the things needed from the MOST IMPORTANT list I mentioned a few weeks ago. Crazy as it seems to do before you have a ring on your finger, I knew it was coming…I just didn’t know when. I will say that you get strange looks when you indicate your shopping for your wedding, but you have no engagement ring on. People have expectations and THAT is one of them!The ring and IMPORTANT LIST aside, and hard at work with Laura on my invites, I also made an appointment to try on dresses and found two pair (yes TWO!) of beautiful shoes to wear. I didn’t have design or silhouette in mind for my dress, only that I wanted to wear white. I also didn’t want a dress that was categorized as “beach” either. Even though I’d done this before, I still wanted to feel like a bride in my dress with all of the glamour that goes along with it. My shoes were stilettos (I ADORE shoes with 4” heels, even though I’m already 5’6”!), and I intended to look like a bride on her wedding day.In Chicagoland, we have an interesting way of choosing wedding gowns (which I’m not very fond of). A bride makes an appointment with a salon, which carries a certain number of manufacturers, and you work with a consultant to determine what suits your likes & dislikes. You can bring photos of silhouettes or even specific designers with them to these appointments, but ultimately it is up to the consultant to select dresses from their samples that may match what you’ve described. Where I grew up it was vastly different, and you went into a store and browsed many designers and many samples on your own (or with assistance, if you desired) almost any the gowns you’d seen in the magazines. I knew this difference from the last time I’d been dress shopping, but it still frustrated me because discretionary time is something I have very little of and the salon-model can be very time-consuming.Since I lived where I lived, though, I didn’t have much of a choice how to shop for my dress other than to plan to visit several salons and narrow down my choices over time. I’ll admit, though, for all of that complaining I just did about how it works in Chicago, I happened to see the most amazingly unique gown on a mannequin at the first salon I visited. I stood in awe, to touch the fabric was like heaven (I love things that make your fingertips tingle!), and I asked if I could try it on. Of course, it was the first dress I changed into…and as soon as I saw it, I was done right then & there. Not even knowing the designer of the dress or, once told, not knowing who he was, it didn’t matter; boutique-manufacturer Matthew Christopher’s “Cadeaux” was “it”…”the one”…”utterly perfect”. Unique, simple, classically understated, yet still a one-of-a-kind wedding dress I’d hoped to find.

It was a very full dress (and, therefore, also very warm for a wedding in the tropics), I asked about making changes…I wanted something a bit more appropriate for a second wedding, yet still be “that dress” we all dream of wearing on our wedding day. The women at the salon immediately called Matthew directly (how many manufacturers can you do that with?) and talked with him about the changes, how they could add some bling to match my blingy shoes (oh, I forgot, I once had 3 pairs of shoes…I’ll admit to being a little “shoe obsessed”!), and I asked to try on a few other dresses while I waited “just to be sure”. The second dress that came to me was another of Matthew’s, Vivica. I’ll admit, once I had that dress on, Cadeaux went by the wayside, and I never wavered. I started talking about ways to remove the fullness, train, adding straps, all sorts of wonderful things, again with Matthew on the telephone indicating what could or could not be done. It was almost as though I worked with him to design my own gown; it was an incredibly awesome experience and I cannot recommend him more highly as a designer and a partner in the process of choosing your gown.

Ever the cynic, though, I asked for them to humor me & let try on a few other designers. As expected, they didn’t even compare. Quality, fabric, construction, uniqueness…some in lower price ranges, others in higher brackets…I kept coming back to Vivica. I was mesmerized. I found “THE ONE”. And at the first salon I visited. I was quite pleased with myself and looked forward to the day I could see the dress created especially for me (approximately 8 months, so I was cutting it close; as a note, beware of a designer’s time for manufacture before you buy!). I had it. I finally had it. My INVITATIONS and my DRESS and my SHOES. OH MY! I was making excellent progress on my IMPORTANT LIST and now needed to begin work on my flowers. Back to the Internet I go, looking for florists from my friend’s list and searching for tropical bouquets & arrangements that would overflow the pier we’d chosen for our wedding… It was all very exciting and I was most definitely caught up in it.

“Each little ‘happening’ is like a tiny scrap of magic.
When you paste them together, you get a memory of something beautiful & strong.”

I hope for me…and for you…that your wedding day & your marriage are both beautiful and strong.Until next time…xoxo,Alycia