Sunday, June 22, 2008

Say heck yeah to the dress!

The idea of a bridal salon has always scared the crap out of me. I see pictures like this and my heart starts beating really fast... and not in a good way.

I usually prefer shopping by myself, so the idea of having one person assigned to me kind of gave me hives. And since I'm several sizes larger than the usual sample sizes (I'm 5'10" and a size 16), I couldn't imagine it being exactly an ego boost having to hold the dresses up in front of me because they wouldn't fit over my hips.

I first started looking online at Watters dresses. For my brother and sister-in-law's wedding in November 2007, I wore a really nice bridesmaid dress from them that was almost too long! (Granted, I ordered an extra-long, but it was still pretty exciting.) Some of the dresses I was looking at:

all images from

You might notice a theme: A-line with straps and a V-type neckline. Nope, no strapless for me. I love the idea of being able to wear a normal bra... I just can't handle any other contraptions for more than a few hours. So that left me with far fewer options, and I extended my search to bridesmaids' dresses. These very simple silhouettes work much better for me, anyway - basically, I know what works for my body, and although I know I might discover something surprising if I went and tried on a zillion dresses, it just wasn't worth it to me.

But none of these dresses really did anything for me, besides make me feel like I was boring and predictable. :-(  I knew they'd look fine on me, but they just weren't "different" enough. The other factors have to do with my job: one, I have to dress formally a *lot* and... well... I'm kind of over looking awesome while feeling kind of uncomfortable; and two, if I'm going to have something custom-made that I love, why not get something I'll wear for a performance later on? I don't subscribe to the notion that I'll want to keep it "special" - I mean, if I play a concert wearing my wedding dress, won't that feel special?

Anyway, that's where stepped in and saved the day, introducing me to the ultra-fabulous Chrissy Wai-Ching. I went nuts.

I looked at some of her dresses (OK, stalked all of them for several weeks while e-mailing back and forth with Chrissy, all before Tim and I were officially engaged) and decided that the Pandereta would work best for me, but not strapless. 

source: indie bride's Wai-Ching repository on Kodak Gallery (requires password)

Then I thought her signature embroidery would look best on me if it were around the waist and bust, going all the way around - which made her also-signature back ties seem a little excessive for my simple vision.


I decided that I'd like the embroidery to be really dense, with my favorite colors - dark shades of purple, red, and teal - and that I'd like kickpleats in the back with the same colors.


Finally, I thought that with those colors, a darker, richer champagne color would look better for the base of the dress (as well as on my skin). Here's what Chrissy whipped up, but with the kickpleats sketched in the front so I could see them:

image/design property of Chrissy Wai-Ching

There have been a few more tweaks that I'll keep a surprise until I've had my fitting in July. I know it's far from traditional, but it's very me - much like my ring (coming soon). What do you think?

Do you shudder at the thought of bridal salons, was it the best shopping experience of your life, or do you fall somewhere in between? Please share your dress stories!

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