Usually, I definitely judge a store by its look. And, pretty harshly. But, a recent experience reminded me that not everything good comes in neat and beautiful packages wrapped in gold foil. I was reminded of this when I went wedding dress shopping.
I was so excited; I had my mom and my bestie, a Starbucks in one hand, and a day of trying on beautiful dresses. Off we went to a wonderfully chic establishment where it was appointment only and the mimosas were flowing. It was an excellent experience, made even better by the fact that it was the first boutique I decided to go to. I picked out some gowns, then went upstairs into a massive room (larger than my actual bedroom), tried on many a dress and came out into another private room with just my mom, my bestie, and the associate. I felt like a princess modeling and it’s how every bride should feel.
The time there? Excellent and calming and a lot of fun. I got to take silly selfies in the change room, take my time on the pedestal and not worry about another soul taking up space or judging me. Unfortunately, the dresses there weren’t….me. There was one great contender, brought up as a surprise at the end, but once I headed to another boutique, it lost its luster.
I’ve been to this place before, I’ve bought dresses here before. I know their reputation and what they can deliver; it’s why I picked it as a place to shop. But…after being in a magical fairyland full of the feelings and magic that every bride hopes to have when finding ‘the one’ …it was a letdown. The store is a little run-down, it’s downtown, instead of on a charming street, and the surrounding aesthetic isn’t something to get excited about. Plus, it’s packed. Sure, I went dress shopping when most girls are going for their grad dresses, but if it was appointment only, there would’ve been ¼ of the people and it would’ve been a lot more relaxing. The dresses were in plastic, needed from so many people in and touching them, but annoying to those who are ACTUALLY looking for a dress and can’t see what the hell is inside. The dressing room is small and I felt suffocated with so many dresses crammed inside. Sweating and B.O. was most definitely on the table, here. I had to share the pedestal with anyone else trying on dresses, but luckily, the other girl was quick and people faded away as my time there progressed. The dresses and accessories felt haphazard in their placings and the whole scene just felt…blah. Until….I found it. I found the dress I had been unconsciously dreaming of (I later realized that the only two cuttings I had done from a magazine matched up to be the dress I decided on). This one blew the other one right out of the water and made me actually feel as if I were getting married, instead of just finding a super sweet and wickedly expensive dress for a big party.
I wish I had found the perfect dress in the first store, the fairytale coming to a splendidly regal end, but that’s not how true fairytales work. In the end, the princess still got her dress, but in a fashion that is oh so real life.