Our days quickly fell into a pattern. While letters were still exchanged, Mario and I tried to take advantage of every opportunity to actually talk to each other. He would call and text me throughout the day as his work permitted him, and I would answer whenever I had a moment. Once I finished work I would hurry home and turn on my computer where we would Skype until Mario could no longer keep his eyes open.
The main topic of conversation was, of course, the wedding. Not only did we need to decide when it would happen, we needed to decide where. Mario and I knew that we were going to have two ceremonies – the religious one would be in Washington DC and a more “celebratory” one would be held in Pisa. Back and forth we went as we learned the laws of our countries regarding marriage and citizenship, trying to figure out how it all made the most sense – and was legally binding for both countries.
Just a few short weeks after Mario had left, nothing had been decided. But, I decided that it was time to look at some of the more “fun aspects” of the wedding. First up?
Now, Say Yes to the Dress had been a guilty pleasure for my roommates and I for MONTHS. In our girlish hearts, we had loved watching these different women find the wedding dress of their dreams. Though we mocked many aspects of the show, it had actually made me realize what it was that I was looking for in a dress. And, most importantly, it taught me that one of the most critical things you can do while shopping is bring the right people with you.
So, one beautiful September Saturday morning I grabbed Ruby and two of my roommates and headed to a DC area dress boutique. I had done some online perusing and I knew that the boutique had several dresses that I was interested in and (most importantly) was in my price range. And I had complete confidence that my friends would be kind, but honest, in their feedback. I hoped that I would be able to get some helpful ideas and start to get a sense of what actually looked good on me.
Walking into the boutique was a surreal experience. Was I actually the BRIDE? I was still having a hard time with the concept and the fact that I was about to actually start putting on some dresses was difficult to comprehend. But I must admit, I was pretty excited.
Being a Saturday, the boutique was pretty busy, but the sales lady assigned to me was more than helpful. My friends and I went around the store, picking out several dresses that seemed promising, and then we headed to the dressing room.
The first dress was a complete disaster. Though it had been one that I had seen online and was excited to try on, it was completely wrong for my body shape and for the overall “look” that I was looking for. I wanted to find a dress that was in the same style as my ring: classy, elegant and unique. I wanted Mario to love the dress. And, more than anything else, I wanted to feel beautiful.
The dresses kept coming on and off. The critique of each dress was useful as the idea of what I was looking for became more and more clear. One dress gave me serious pause, but I eventually realized that my hesitation came from the fact that the dress was wearing me instead of the other way around. The last thing a bride wants to hear is that the dress is the start of the show. It’s the bride that is the start – and the dress is beautiful on her.
After exhausting all my choices, including a few more that had been added along the way, I decided that it was time to be done for the day. I wasn’t in an extreme hurry to find the right dress. I mean, we didn’t even have a date set yet. There was still time to look.
As I headed back to the dressing room to change into my regular clothes, a dress caught my eye. It was in the back corner of the room, slightly hidden behind some other mannequins. But there was something about it. I needed to try it on.
Luckily my friends were in good humor and happy to indulge me with this one last dress. As we slipped the dress on and the sales lady started to do up the buttons my breath caught. It was beautiful. Simply stunning.
I headed out to where my friends were waiting, a slightly dazed expression on my face. As I turned to see myself in the full-length mirror, I could see the astonished expressions on the faces reflected back at me.
It was the dress.
Nothing like I imagined, and yet…perfect. I couldn’t stop starting at myself in the mirror. This couldn’t be happening. It wasn’t possible that I had found the perfect dress in the first store on my first day shopping. It just wasn’t possible. But even as I tried to think of all the reasons as to why I should wait before I made such a big purchase, my mind refused to cooperate. I couldn’t tear my eyes off my reflection.
The sales lady knew she had a winner. Sensing my reluctance to make the final commitment she pulled out her final trick – and she put a veil on my head. In true, Say Yes to the Dress fashion, the tears started streaming. It was so overwhelming, but it was exactly what I wanted.
I bought the dress.