One of my guilty pleasures is to watch the TLC show “Say yes to the dress”. I find it a perplexing notion that I can spend hours watching women from all walks of life find their perfect wedding dress when my real-life experience was so monumentally terrible.
I was never the little girl who dreamed about her wedding. I didn’t have a clue what style of dress I wanted when I said ‘yes’ to the proposal of marriage. I DID know I had no desire to stand in a bridal shop looking at countless styles of dresses while five pairs of trained eyes bore into my soul, annoyed that I couldn’t make a decision. So I began and ended my wedding dress shopping online and I was thrilled with my choice. It really spoke to the casual style wedding I desired and to the fact that I would be wearing sandals instead of constricting, mutilating high heels.
(image credit: alfredangelo.com)
This was my vision. This dress, in all its simplicity, spoke to me and truly conveyed the feeling I wanted to have on my wedding day. It was fun, it was carefree, it was casual, in essence, it was me. I knew there would be alterations required and I did my due diligence in researching a seamstress to make the necessary adjustments. What I failed to factor into my wedding planning was that, although numerous people gave this woman a glowing recommendation, there was a chance that this clothier would do everything in her power to derail the possibility of this dress being on my body on my wedding day.
The initial meeting gave me no foreshadowing feeling that there would be any cause for concern. Measurements were taken and discussions were had about removing the zipper and creating a corset-style back with just a hint of green under the lace to match the golf theme of the wedding. Everything was going as planned but the seams of this agreement began to rapidly unravel. Phone calls went unanswered, fitting appointments were rescheduled due to her personal conflicts and time marched ever so quickly towards the wedding day. Appointments I arrived for were met with a closed sign on the shop and a promise that she would be in touch to reschedule. It never happened.
After one fitting and no communication for weeks from this seamstress, my dress arrived at my mother’s house five days before my wedding. My mom called to say the dress had been delivered and I was dumbfounded. First of all, I had no idea how this woman had access to my mother’s address. Second, I had never had a follow-up fitting and I had never seen any of the alterations, but my dress now hung in the hallway of my mom’s house awaiting my inspection.
With trepidation, I closed the door to the bedroom and eased myself into my dress. My mother could hear my sobs on the other side of the door. She let herself in and did her best to lace the corset at the back of the dress. The loop holes were so far apart that, upon tightening the lace, I began to look like a ridge-back dinosaur. The top of the dress had been taken in but had been sewn in loops over the outer part of the dress making it look like a Grade 9 Home Economics project that had failed miserably. The dress was a write-off.
I quickly scraped up what was left of my hope and began to make panicked phone calls to any other tailor’s in the area. As bad luck would have it, it was the end of September and the most popular time of year for Muskoka weddings – not one person had the time to fix my dress. The butchered, lifeless dress hung in my closet and I fully and painfully cried myself to sleep for the first time since I was a child.
The following morning my best friend arrived with a coffee in one hand and a rainbow in the other. She dragged me out of my house, took me into town to the fabric store and there we chose a pattern and some fabric. In four remarkable days she and her mother measured, they cut, they pinned, they measured again, they sewed and they created the dress that I wore as I walked down the aisle four days later. They are angels.
After the wedding dust settled and life got back to normal, I eventually got the money back for the alterations as well as the full cost of the wedding dress from the “alleged” seamstress (a few threatening phone calls and face to face meetings from my then hubby may have expedited the process). I can only hope she is enjoying the career path she chose, the career path that led her to inexplicably close her business without notice and decimate the lives of the customers she left hanging in the balance. After she hastily locked the doors to her alteration shop, she began her career as a Parts Manager in a plumbing store. There has to be some “fitting” joke about her “flushing” her reputation down the toilet, but that would seem like a “common vent”. I shall take the high road and wish that the only “snake” in her life is no longer her but the one used to clean out clogged pipes!