Image courtesy of Deep Grey Wedding Photography
Try as I might, I couldn’t look away. At least five people were crowded around a tall, slender girl standing on a podium in a drop-waisted white gown. A heated argument was in full swing about what, exactly, would suit the willowy bride.
“Well will she be having a black ribbon or no ribbon at all? She must feel comfortable!” a voice shrilled from her bevvy of onlookers.
I wondered just how comfortable she was feeling right at that minute. As I watched, a short, middle-aged woman who I assumed was the mother of the bride, broke away from the group and marched towards the sales girl standing directly opposite me.
“We want a dress with a drop waist. Lower than that one,” she snapped, gesturing imperiously to the dress currently being modelled.
“Well we only have this one in the store,” the sales girl replied, pulling a strapless gown from the rack.
“We want a drop-waisted dress that’s the same as that one,” the woman repeated emphatically, jabbing her finger again at the bride-to-be.
“Yes, and we only have this one. The other one we have is not in stock” explained the sales girl again, enunciating each word with exaggerated slowness, rather like someone who is addressing a person for whom English is a newly acquired skill.
“Well we need it now,” retorted mumzilla, almost stamping her feet.
“I’m sorry, it’s not in the store. We only have this one,” repeated the beleaguered sales girl, gesturing wearily at the dress she had pulled from the rack.
“Hmmph!” huffed mumzilla, spinning on her heels and stalking back to join the crowd and comment loudly on the current dress.
“Oh wow,” I murmured, just loud enough for the sales girl to hear.
“I know,” she whispered back. “That’s just the mother in law. The actual mother hasn’t said a word!” Neither has the bride, I thought to myself.
Witnessing this scene lead me to think about the people I had chosen to accompany me while I shopped for my wedding dress. My maid of honour had attended almost all of my appointments, and I had gone to a few alone so that I could fit in more stores when she wasn’t available. I found these expeditions unexpectedly enjoyable and noticed that many other brides seemed to be going solo. Being free from anyone else’s opinions was not only a relief, it was liberating!
Taking a different approach, many of my engaged friends had opted for mothers, aunties and cousins to join them on these vital excursions. My close friend, Carly, had specially selected one of her friends, who wasn’t a bridesmaid, to accompany her on her appointments so that this friend would have a special role to fulfil in the planning of her wedding. While another friend told me how her sister had taken her fiancé to each of her dress appointments because his opinion meant so much to her.
Now it would be lovely to think that everyone we invite along to our bridal appointments is going to help make the entire experience run blissfully smoothly. After witnessing mum-in-law-zilla in action, however, I can confidently say: NOT SO! I’ve been lucky to have some fantastic company at my own appointments, but if there’s something I’ve learned it’s that whether you take ten people, one or none, it should be the people who love you and want the best for you on your day. Someone who is honest, open minded and above all, makes your life easier!
Ms Gingham says: Oh the harrowing job of a sales person in the bridal industry! Really though, without these characters, we wouldn’t have reality TV shows like Bridezillas. 😀 Great piece Karen!!
Karen says: “I’m 25 years old and I’m an aspiring writer trapped in the body of a lawyer! I also have an Arts degree with a Major in English, which saved my sanity during university and allowed me to do what I love – write! Last but not least, I’m a bride-to-be and I’m writing a book about planning my wedding and all the craziness that comes along with it (see, for example, being told that my wedding photos will be ”deformed” because my bridal party is uneven). I’m also working on a children’s manuscript.
I’m looking to inject some colour (and some polkadots if possible!) into my career. It’s my dream to write full time – so here’s hoping!”