It’s Hard Work Being Mother Of The Bride

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I had no idea!

As we’re getting closer to the Big Day my nerves are fraying as fast as the days are passing.  It’s taken us months to decide on the venue, find the wedding dress, book the music, flowers, lighting, drapery (don’t ask!) etc., etc, and more ETC.  It’s bigger than a Broadway production, but hopefully, with not as big of a budget (fingers crossed).  But in addition to all the hard work a Mother of the Bride has to do for planning the event, she also has to look good at the wedding. That not only means buying a special M.O.B dress (done!), but also (gulp) accessorizing it (not done).

I’ve already written about the dilemma I faced finding the perfect dress (Should I Say Yes To The Dress? Saying Yes To The Dress (UPDATE), Sometimes Yes To The Dress Is A No), and thanks to the help of many readers of this blog, I finally made my choice.  All I can say is “Thank God for the Internet! ” I’ve never been one for clothes shopping, but it can be especially challenging when you’re a recovering agoraphobic.  My usual mode of buying new clothes is to just not buy them – My husband loves me for this.  But as M.O.B the pressure was on and I was really feeling it.

I tried one day of shopping for a dress with my friend Marie.  But let’s face it, the M.O.B isn’t exactly the B.R.I.D.E, so no one is really paying attention to us at all.  We’re just the breed mare that brought the bride into the world, so no one gives a hoot what the hell we’re wearing.  I learned that at the first wedding boutique Marie and I checked out.  The store was filled with hundreds of bridal gowns (all priced in four figures) but the salesgirl (who after fifteen minutes finally approached us) pointed to one pathetic rack of faded M.O.B dresses off in the corner.

“Those are all we’ve got,” she explained.  “If you can fit into one of those, you can buy it. Good luck!”

Those were the last words we ever heard from her as she moved on to help a blushing (and much more lucrative) bride-to-be and we sorted through size 4’s of the ugliest colors you’ve ever seen.  I don’t even think these were colors. These were what finger paint looks like when your four-year-old mixes all the colors together and  spills them on your rug.

One day in wedding boutique-hell was all I needed.

I went online and tried Nordstrom.  Unlike a wedding boutique, an online site can care less if you’re a M.O.B, a B.R.I.D.E, or the C.A.T.E.R.E.R.  There were hundreds of dresses, and the good news  was that every time I liked one of these dresses, I just clicked on it and in a few days that dress showed up magically at my doorstep.  In any size or sizes I wanted!

I felt like Goldilocks: “No, this one is too big.” “This one is too small!”  “This one is the wrong color and makes me look hippy!”  I finally found the perfect dress, but in a green and my daughter’s wedding color is blue.

green Alex dress

I persevered, kept checking the online wedding site, and finally found the same dress in “Wedgwood Blue.” Thank you, Nordstrom’s Purchasing Agent, whoever you are!  The dress was a petite, but I was willing to squeeze myself into it for my daughter’s sake.  I waited anxiously every day for that UPS truck to bring it, and a few weeks ago it arrived.  And Voila!!! – It fits!!!!  More importantly, the bride (my daughter) likes it. So here it is – the winner:

Alex Wedgewood Gown

I packed up the last of the Nordstrom rejects a few days ago, mailed them back, and I am now on a first name basis with the UPS guy.

Now, it’s time for accessories.

Do I go with silver (to highlight my hair) or gold (always a favorite)?  What kind of necklace, earrings, bracelet, and evening bag?  I’m hyperventilating from all the choices I have to make.  In the meantime, there are still catering tastings to go to, invitations that have to be sent out, wines to choose, flowers to order, etc., etc., and more ETC.

I haven’t worked this hard since I was in labor.

(Here’s a collage with some of my choices.  Since all of you did such a great job helping me pick out my dress, any suggestions to build the rest of my M.O.B outfit is much appreciated.)

(If you enjoyed these posts, you might enjoy: A Few Words About Being A Mom)

Decisions, decisions

Saying Yes To The Dress (UPDATE)

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(One woman’s quest for a simple but elusive Mother of the Bride Dress…)

Your responses to last week’s blog post (Should I Say Yes To The Dress?) were so enthusiastic and helpful I wanted to let you know how the search for my special Mother of the Bride dress is going.

Not too good.

First, to recap:  Here is the dress I’m looking for:

Mother of the Bride Dress at Marys

All of you who commented last week agreed that the dress was beautiful and it would make a wonderful Mother of the Bride dress.  But the problem was that the closest store that “might” have this dress was listed as being in Yucaipa.  Besides not knowing where the hell Yucaipa was, that word “might” was making me mighty nervous.  Mary’s Bridal (the designer) was not willing to commit one way or the other if the dress was actually in Yucaipa or not.  Only that it had been delivered there in the last year.

Yeah. Not much help.

Encouraged by those of you who suggested a road trip, I reached for my phone and called the Yucaipa store that Mary’s Bridals had listed on its website as a possible location for this Dress Style #S13-M2172.  With today’s gas prices, I wasn’t about to take a second mortgage out on my house to  finance a Yucaipa road trip if the dress wasn’t there.

So I decided to call the store in Yucaipa.

On Friday no one answered the phone. On Saturday when I called I got a Sprint mailbox and a strange beep.  I tried again on Monday and still got the answering machine with no one’s name attached to it, and no name of the store.  On Tuesday night, I decided to google the store just to make sure it actually existed.  And voila, I found it!

Yucaipa’s “European Famous Tailor” was listed online – right there in Google. There was an address listed (a good sign!) and I could see by the listing that it actually existed.  Now, we all know you can’t judge a store just by its name,  so I decided to use the store’s address and Google Street View just to get a look at European Famous Tailor’s store front.  Here’s what Google showed me:

Famous Tailor

That’s right, a strip mall.

Call me silly, but when people ask me where I got my Mother Of The Bride dress, I don’t want to say a strip mall in Yucaipa.  “Around the corner from Rob’s Gun shop and Terry’s Bail Bonds.”

I took a day to think about it.  There were four other stores listed at Mary’s Bridal website that also “might” have the dress.  The next closest was in Tucson.  Okay, why not?  I called.  They answered.  They’d never heard of Dress Style #S13-M2172.

“But we can order it!” the cheerful saleslady told me.

“…Can I return it if it doesn’t fit?” I asked.

“Not really.”

Goodbye, $458 (that’s not including alterations).

Tucson was a helluva lot further than Yucaipa, and I still wouldn’t get a chance to see the dress before buying it.  I wouldn’t even be able to try it on.  But I’m the kind of person who gets an idea in my head and I don’t give up easily.  As a matter of fact, I like challenges so much, I’ve been known to persevere in spite of the fact it’s a stupid idea.  And this is where all of your comments helped me: I could just hear in my imagination Adrienne, catnipoflife, June Collins, Lynne, jubileewriter,  and so many others of you who commented telling me to take a deep breath, and not commit to buying a dress without trying it on, or at least seeing it up close.  I could hear those words of wisdom from JeriWB, quirkybooks, Raani, Wayne, Yaseen, Jen, and the rest of you.  It made me look before leaping: I thanked the saleslady, hung up, and called Yucaipa again.  This time I dialed a second number listed on the Google website.  And someone finally answered the phone.

“Hola!”

Oh, no.

“Do you speak English?”

“Un poquito,” the woman admitted, sounding not the most confident.

“I’m looking for a dress,” I told her, speaking as loudly as possible, as though volume alone would help her understand English.  Rambling on, nervously (even I would have trouble understanding me) I told her I was looking for a Mother of the Bride dress, the name of the designer, and I gave her the style number.

“Call back, ten minutes” she told me, with great certainty.

I hung up.  I waited fifteen minutes (giving her an extra five so she’d be prepared).  I dialed her again, the phone rang and rang and rang and is probably still ringing.

Nobody answered.

You know what I’m thinking?  I’m willing to bet that Yucaipa’s European Famous Tailor has never even seen Mary’s #S13-2172 dress.  Or if they have seen it, maybe it sold right away.  Just to make sure, I called one more dress store – this time in Glendale, a store that lists Mary’s Bridal as one of its designers.

“We haven’t had that dress for months,” the woman with a thick accent explained to me.  “It sold right away!” she said.  And rubbing the wound even harder, “It’s such a beautiful dress!  One of the most beautiful dresses I’ve ever seen.”

There are two more stores on Mary’s Bridal list that I could call: Chrsitina’s Bridal in Caspar, Wyoming or Debi’s Bridal Shop in San Antonio, Texas.

Frankly, I think it’s time to look for another dress.

What do you all think?

(Read the next installment of the hunt for a Mother of the Bride dress:  Sometimes Yes To The Dress Is No)