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 _____
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.