We now continue the ongoing saga of planning my daughter’s wedding, which will be at the Norwalk Aquarium in October.
It was time to address the dress.
No one was worried about what the groom would wear. That would just be one stop at Men’s Wearhouse. My daughter Casey would pick the outfit for the entire male side of the wedding party (although perhaps her fiancé Alex would have some limited veto power), and then the guys would show up at their leisure at the Men’s Wearhouse near them to get fitted for a tux that had probably already been altered 30 times for body types ranging from Hugh Jackman to Jack Nicholson (although to be fair, they probably have their own tuxes).
But this post isn’t about the men (almost nothing about wedding preparations is). It’s about locating the perfect dress that would make my already-gorgeous daughter Casey look even more gorgeous by encasing her in flowing, form-fitting, bead-embellished, ivory-colored material (because her fine, porcelain skin is too delicate and pale for pure white).
Oh, yes, and to further augment her gorgeousness, they might cover her face with gauze.
Stop number one on the bridal gown train was a national bridal store chain which, I am told, is on the low end of the spectrum, not that there’s anything wrong with that as far as I’m concerned. However, my wife Barbara accused the business of purveying weighty, highly-flammable couture. “She tried one on,” Barb told me, “and it was so heavy she couldn’t move.” I personally thought that motion was very over-rated if we could keep the cost under a thousand dollars, but I kept that to myself.
Then, from the comfort of home, Casey visited a website called nearlynewlywed.com, which sells previously-owned wedding dresses, and which was featured on a TV show. I should point out, though, that the TV show was not Say Yes to the Dress, which is about annoying brides at a store named Kleinfeld (where Casey already had an appointment scheduled). No, nearlynewlywed.com was featured on Shark Tank, which is about annoying millionaires being offered stakes in up-and-coming businesses in exchange for their cash and expertise, although none of them bought into the used gown concept, which is somewhat troubling, since they’ve gotten into bidding wars for things like Smiley Face-shaped sponges.
But I digress.
Unlike real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran and NBA mogul Mark Cuban (among other annoying millionaires), decidedly non-mogular Casey thought getting a used dress was a good idea. She would have even considered renting a gown, but there was no place in our area to go for that. (Where is Women’s Wearhouse when you need it?)
Alas, none of the 400 or so dresses on nearlynewlywed.com was the perfect combination of the size Casey needed and the style Casey wanted, which was described to me as “a modern take on Downton Abbey,” and which reinforces my decision not to contribute to Public Television.
Anyway, it’s just as well that nearlynewlywed.com didn’t work out, because it’s bad luck for both the bride and the groom to wear used clothing. I don’t know if that’s an actual wedding superstition, but I feel as though it should be. From the sheer quantity and ridiculousness of wedding superstitions, I’m pretty sure anybody is eligible to make them up, so why not this FOTB*? In any case, it seemed apparent that the “something old” in this wedding wasn’t going to be the dress
Then one of Casey’s Rhode Island School of Design Friends, who is a fine artist in L.A. and has also done some modeling because she is pretty and freakishly tall, suggested a particular designer who she thought Casey would like. Casey visited the website and, indeed, she did. And, better yet, there was a store that carried the designer’s dresses just a 90-minute drive away.
So on the one day of the year traditionally set aside for bridal dress shopping (Super Bowl Sunday), Casey and her entourage (her mother and her Aunt Karen) embarked on a dress quest into the wilds of upstate Connecticut, just north of New Haven.
Soon Barbara was emailing me cell phone photos as Casey tried on dresses, but it was difficult for me to get the full effect because the pictures were sideways and, in one case, Barb had cut Casey’s head off, which is why I guess they use veils.
When Casey put on the last dress, she came out with that “this-is-the one” smile on her still-attached head. I would include a picture of the dress that was selected, but I’m really not sure who is and isn’t allowed to see it before the wedding, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that it is a Jenny Packham original, which initially meant about as much to me as if it was a David Beckham original, or even a Sheriff of Nottingham original. But then I looked her up, and it turns out she designed the dress Kate Winslet wore to the premiere of Titanic 3-D (which was a lot more “in your face” than the dress Winslet wore to the original Titanic premiere) and the dress in which Kate Middleton made her first public appearance as a married woman.
And now my little princess will be wearing a Jenny Packham. Even though her name’s not Kate and she’s not, you know, English.
The dress, I’m told, will arrive for its first fitting in a mere 15 weeks, which I think averages out to about three beads sewn on a day, and gives Casey plenty of time to get out in the sun a little so she’s not so damned pale.
I mean porcelain-like.
See you soon.
P.S. If you’re getting married next year, and you’re into Downton Abbey, there will be an absolutely fabulous slightly-used Jenny Packham original up for sale late this year. It will have been worn only once and, hopefully, will not have been splashed by overly-rambunctious seals.
*I’m told FOTB means Father of the Bride, although, for someone who grew up in the New York area, at first glance it seems to have something to do with Off Track Betting.