All That a Mother-of-Bride Dress Reveals, Inside and Out

All That a Mother-of-Bride Dress Reveals, Inside and Out

10 July, 2018

If the first set of wedding dresses was beyond our budget, the second set is beyond belief, and we take refuge in ridicule to keep from getting depressed. In a single store in a single hour, Sarah tries on the Downton Abbey dress, the Roaring Twenties dress, and a cupcake number I dub the Operation Petticoat dress.

Doubt has sneaked into the fitting room even if I cannot, so I smile the confident smile that parents paste on when we assure our kids about things we can’t possibly yet know. Of course you’ll like the new school, the math teacher, Latin, your college roommate, college in general, sushi.

I hide behind a comforting logical fallacy: Sarah has to have the right dress, so the right dress has to exist. In the meantime, we are having a perverse kind of fun, aren’t we?

The next morning we trudge up a flight of stairs to a small, second-floor shop Sarah found in her online search. Same maternal exile from the fitting room as at the other places we’ve been to, same muffled sounds of clothes coming off and going on, same offer of couch and beverage, all of it tinged by a worry hangover from the day before.

And then the curtain parts and I understand what I’ve been missing. The right wedding dress is not a dress at all, not in the normal sense, not a set of options in terms of fabric, neckline, sleeves, waist, skirt, train. The right dress is the bride reimagined in another medium. It’s Sarah in ivory silk. Graceful and strong. Frank but with a mischievous edge. Lissome, which is not a word I toss around because its popularity peaked around the time Elizabeth Bennet said “I do.”

Neither of us loves the way the zipper peeks through the lace at the back, but within the bounds of physics, Sarah can swap this bodice for a laceless one, or replace this skirt with a slightly fuller version, because the designer likes to give her clients some flexibility.

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