We now present the thrilling conclusion of the Social Chair’s first-hand gonzo journalistic effort in the trenches, er, basement.
After recharging briefly at home, I met up with three friends: my maid of honor, Darling Wedding Planner, and the self-proclaimed “Muscle” of our operation. We had a lovely, leisurely lunch and got to Filene’s Basement around 2:30. All the dresses were back on the racks, though not arranged by size. There are simply too many dresses to try to maintain any semblance of order.
Many of the employees I’d met earlier were still there, eagerly helping customers and quickly getting rejects back on the racks. Additionally, an industrious local alteration company had set up a table and could give you spur of the moment advice. I discarded some dresses after I found the alteration would cost more than the dress itself.
That advice about going late in the day? Brilliant. While there may be over a thousand people in line at 8am, the retailer estimates around a quarter of them – fewer than 300 – are brides. Though there were fewer shoppers, we decided to stick with the morning form: bring dresses back to a large open area next to a pillar with a mirror. I still had my swimsuit on, making the process easier.
The Muscle’s chosen title was not wrong: she easily grabbed 20 dresses in the time I found 3. Our process was pretty simple. One friend stayed to help me with the dresses and be a pair of eyes while the others fanned out in search of “the one.” In ninety minutes I must have tried on thirty dresses. Certainly a sense of punchiness and giddiness prevailed, leading me to even model dresses that made me look like a giant cupcake.
Dresses ranged from lovely to questionable. Of those thirty dresses only three made the cut, and one of those was also being eyed by another bride. I let her try it on, and we agreed to check in with each other before leaving (it is not all mercenary; some brides actually are helpful). No thumb-wrestling was necessary as both of us decided to pass on the gown.
So did I find my dream gown? Yes. Two of them, in fact. They are very different (one is short, too). Sorry, no pictures; a bride has to keep some secrets from her groom [endorsed]. Since our wedding is over a year away, I decided I can try to sell one – even if I lose $100 on it, a $1,000 gown for $250 is a deal. Or maybe I’ll follow my namesake Duchess of Cornwall’s lead and have a different dress for the after party.
This probably all sounds like something only a Bridezilla could love, but it turns out there is much more to the day. I’m even glad I went in the morning. While I was more than happy not to participate in the chaos, it was great seeing friends and family supporting each other. Many people were there because it was an event they would all remember. And despite all the chaos, there were beautiful moments like this: