Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Yes to the dress.


Forever Friends

Forever Friends

We didn’t set out to do it. We didn’t have a plan of getting it done, now.

There’s still many months, over a year in fact to go before it’s needed.

But, there we were on Tuesday, late afternoon. Four of us seated in a fitting room while my eldest daughter, Alexis, tried on ‘the dress’.

“Is this your dress?” her friend Victoria asked on Facetime where she joined us from her office in Vancouver.

Eyes teary, voice a soft whisper, she replied, “Yes it is!”

And so it’s done.

At least the choosing part is done. Alexis has found, ‘the dress’.

We’d begun the search on Friday afternoon when her sister and dear friend DK had booked a couple of appointments with bridal shops as a surprise for Alexis. Her wedding is next September, 2016. But it’s never too early to start shopping they said.

At the first session there were 7 of us, including my mother.

My mother turns 93 next month. Tiny, as delicate as a little bird, she has definite taste in wedding dresses.

Too pouffy. A definite two thumbs down.

Fitted but the lace edging the bodice too cheap looking, or the style not elegant enough; a hand held out flat, fingers splayed as she moved it back and forth… maybe…. but I don’t think so

Form fitting lace that hugs Alexis’ body, two thumbs up and a “That shows off your curves. Perfect.”

We laughed when she said that. She took us by surprise.

My mother is not known for her revealing style of dress. Always well-turned out with matching jewellery and every aspect of her dress perfect, she did not like it when as teenagers, my sister and I dressed in anything too revealing. Blue jeans were definitely not allowed and mini-skirts — forget it! Too low cut a top got a, “Go and change” and trying to sneak out wearing make-up. Dream on.

But there she was on Friday, giving commentary on the fit of every dress, her sense of style impeccable.

Out of the 10 or 12 dresses Alexis tried on at the first shop, we found a definite two maybe three maybes.

We had criteria.

Wow Factor _____
Photographability ________
Authenticity ____________ (did it reflect the true inner spirit of Alexis?)
Venue appropriateness ____________ (they are getting married on an island off Vancouver. It will be outdoors surrounded by forest and rock and ocean)
Danceability ____________ (Alexis LOVES to dance — she has to be able to kick high in her dress — and too heavy will restrict her movements)
Can she wear cowboy boots with it?

Between the two shops Friday she tried over 20 dresses and made an appointment with the first shop to go back and re-try 3 of the dresses (which ended up being another 10).

In the end, nothing she’d tried on could compare to the final dress she tried on Tuesday.

It was perfect.

It made all of us cry.

My friend JD, who, along with her daughter, had joined Alexis, her sister and me, for the shopping adventure, was overwhelmed.

Alexis is the first of our three daughters to get married. We were pregnant together. Learned the in’s and out’s of new motherhood, of toddlerdom and pre-teen angst and teenager woes together.

Our four children have grown up together. The picture from our wedding, above, is a re-enactment of a photo captured as children with the two eldest hugging one another, and the two youngest following suit.

We have shared many firsts as mothers and this was the first time we’d all gone looking at dresses, together. CJ had joined us Friday but her mother couldn’t make it.

That was okay. We thought we’d be doing it again. and again, at least until November when the final deadline loomed to ensure Alexis had the dress in time for the wedding next September.

We hadn’t planned to find one so soon.

She thought she’d go back to Vancouver and check out stores there. Her sister and I were planning a trip in September especially for dress hunting.

But there it was. Fitting like a glove and begging her to ‘Say yes to the dress.’

Life is filled with milestones. As a mother of two daughters, I’ve  savoured every moment of their journey from birth to now, finding joy in all the transitions and milestones they’ve each encountered.

I’m so grateful and happy she’s found ‘the perfect dress’ that makes her feel beautiful and elegant and flirty and fun all in one. I’m glad this dress is so incredibly perfect for her it was off the WOW chart!

But secretly, I wish we could keep shopping, just as I used to wish she’d stay a little girl spinning in front of the mirror, pretending she was the bride and practicing her I do’s to an imaginary man of her dreams.

Watching my little girl come out of the dressing room all grown up and looking so incredibly beautiful, I remembered those days long ago when Alexis would enact weddings from every era, creating stunning concoctions of lace and crinoline just so she and her sister and friends could play “the Bride.”

And here I am, many years later, watching it all unfold in real life. Where once a little girl spun in front of the mirror acting out her wedding day in some future year, she stands today, strong and proud, beautiful and free, a woman in today’s world, confident, kind, creative and a reflection of the friendships and love and family that has always surrounded her.

What a wonderful gift to the world she is.






Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

22 thoughts on “Yes to the dress.

  1. or …. she could elope!

    And, that’s a lot of cash for one dress to be worn once … for a starter-marriage.

    Poor economics. Think of the starving children and the homeless homeless people.

    Your column reads like sappy scenes from a Norah Ephron chick-flick (maybe you should write a screenplay).

    Best of luck to bride and unsuspecting (I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine men having a cluck-fest about suit shopping) groom …


    • Mark, you have taken a much different angle to this post than me. What I read was the family-bonding of three generations sharing in the milestone of one of its youngest members, a moment in time to be treasured.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion, Mark.


      • geez Louise … doesn’t anyone have a sense of ha+ha?

        of course, you paint a lovely scene of great fun for your mom, you, your daughter …

        I was simply mouthing the gag-reflex we males have about such girl-gaggles … and in view of the cost, voicing the ‘fathers who pay’ instinct that elopement is far more economical than a wedding because ‘the dress’ is just the beginning of huge expense (I know, ‘investment’) in the big day

        no harm intended .. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s sensibilities!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Trying on dresses is what sealed my decision to opt out of being a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding. It was likely my only chance. Just as well. It was probably the only wedding among my siblings.

    I don’t buy into the BS of “love” much less having to try on wedding dresses.

    I couldn’t (& didn’t want to) afford a $500+ bridesmaid dress. I didn’t even have a job at the time. I couldn’t afford that now, much less a $3000-$10000 bridal gown.

    Aside from the financial rip-off of ceremony and clothing, my freedom isn’t for sale.

    Some people buy into fairy tales and that makes them (and Disney, and the wedding industry) happy.

    And this is why renting wedding dresses would never be a profitable industry outside of maybe Vegas. Guys really do have it good there. Rent a tux. Job done.


    • I feel the pain and anger in your words Kerri and my heart is sad for you. I wish for you much healing, much love and much joy.


      • I’m not angry. I just never aspired to get married. Plenty of people do it so they must get something out of it. I don’t believe in “love.” I shouldn’t have commented.

        I think girls are fed a lot of BS by society about the expectation of getting married.

        The only advantage I see in it is becoming financially stable. Maybe this happens after the wedding is paid for.

        People wonder why I’m quiet. It’s things like this. My opinions are unpopular. I don’t say what people want or expect to hear. This makes them angry. I don’t feel that people should have expectations of responses.

        Sorry I shared such a personal story.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to your daughter, Louise! Your Mom sounds wonderful. I love how she dissed every dress until it was ‘right’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the inclusion of your mother in this three-generation celebration. It is wonderful that Alexis still has her grandmother to share such occasions with and that you have your friend from many years ago. These are the golden people, the golden times.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your mama sounds wonderful. I loved this post and congratulations to Alexis! Don’t let the other comments bother you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful, special time that you all shared together. I can only imagine the emotions flooding through you as you looked at your little girl all grown up. Now, on the the other exciting parts of planning (another!) wedding! Love and light. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • They most definitely were flowing Liz! It was beautiful and amazing and touching and oh so joyful. Alexis and her fiance have chosen a venue that makes planning really easy – but yes, it is fun to be able to share in the planning with her!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Woo Hoo ~ thanks for sharing this shining moment with us Louise! How wonderful!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great. My comment “bothers” some people. Feel free to delete what I’ve written. Clearly the correct way to respond is to say “yay,” or something to that effect.


  9. Kerri, There is no ‘correct’ way to respond — there is only the way we choose to respond that is true for us, and conversely, choose to react/read into others responses. Because others related to my post in a way that is different than yours does not make your response wrong, it makes it your response. And I acknowledge that I read something into your response from a place in me that wanted you to feel the joy of what I experienced with my daughter! I apologize. ❤


  10. re wedding dress shopping …. like mother like daughter, and grandma perhaps too. And this is one occasion where I am happy to be a guy as you say thekerrilw … people should get married naked, exposed and truthful!!! xx me


    • Haha xx me — then all the guests would have to come naked, exposed and truthful too! Wouldn’t that be an amazing world! Until then, I’ll keep wearing clothes and anticipate the day Alexis walks down the aisles wearing a dress that is a reflection of the beauty and wonder of her spirit. 🙂


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