When I helped my daughter say "Yes!" to her wedding dress last August, that she purchased for her upcoming spring 2012 wedding (you can read that on this post), the whole process was relatively easy. She happily found the dress of her dreams in one afternoon. Therefore I wasn't too worried at the time about finding my dress as the future Mother of the Bride. I wanted to diet and exercise first, to drop a couple dress sizes if possible. I felt like I had plenty of time to get that accomplished and began going to the gym. Unfortunately, because of many unforseen events, I didn't lose as much weight I had hoped for. I knew, however, I could no longer delay finding a dress as the wedding is now just a few months away.
My son's wedding in 2004
I was still hopeful that the process would be painless. I was able to find a dress for my son's wedding with relative ease, in a local dress shop eight years ago. Of course, it helped that I was younger and thinner in 2004. I loved the Jasmine/Jade brand dress I wore, as it fit so perfectly right off the rack. I didn't need one alteration! Unfortunately, the dress shop I bought this dress from was no longer open, so I knew I would have to look elsewhere this time.
I was very excited to now be the Mother of the Bride, and wanted a very special dress. A quick Google search on the internet for "Mother of the Bride dresses, New York City," bought a plethora of links to formal dress web sites, both in online stores and "brick and motar" stores. I began a online Pinterest "Mother of the Bride Dresses folder -- click here to see that--so I could save all my possible choices. All the dresses I have pictured on this post can be found with their web source link if you go to my Pinterest folder and click on the dress and then click on it again when it opens to a larger photo.
I wore a navy blue dress for my son's wedding, so I thought a dress in a shade of pink would nice for my daughter's wedding. I liked the scarlet pink color of the dress on the left in the photo collage above, but I didn't care for the fact it was sleeveless, with a bolero style jacket. I liked the middle dress color quite a bit, and at first glance I thought it had three quarter length sleeves, which was what I wanted. Then I remembered that the bridesmaids would be wearing purple, and this color was too close a match. Plus, on closer examination it didn't have sleeves, but another bolero jacket look. Perhaps a similar, but slightly darker shade of raspberry pink would be nice, like the dress on the right? I wasn't so sure such a form fitting dress would look attractive on my plus size figure.
I decided to refine my search and look for "plus size Mother of the Bride dresses." The plus size dress on the left in the collage above was nice, but I didn't want the color navy again, and this dress was only available in that shade. Another search, this time for "MOB plus size dresses with three quarter length sleeves," and I found a few dresses such as the one above on the right. Ah, this style is closer to what I had in mind. Dress selection can be limited for "in stock" dresses both online and in stores, so I looked into how I could order a dress I liked in another color. Oh, oh! It seems many dress designers require 12 -14 weeks, or more, to make a special order unless a "rush" cut is done for $50 to $100 more than the price of the dress! Even with a rush cut it would make delivery of the dress very close to my daughter's wedding date. I started to get nervous!
Since my Mother of the Groom dress was a Jasmine/Jade design dress, I decided to concentrate on their web site. I loved the teal color of the dress in the middle, but again, it had a bolero jacket. I just don't think a bolero style jacket is complimentary to a plus size woman. The jacket is meant to be removed after the wedding ceremony, but I would want to keep it on all evening to hide my less than toned arms, and it doesn't look very comfortable to me. I liked the style of the other Jade dresses in the collage above that short sleeves, but I knew I'd have to try them on to see how they would look on me.
I really, really, liked this La Belle design dress! The style and sleeves were what I thought I wanted. I began to call stores to see if they had this dress and the Jade dresses I liked in stock so I could try them on, as I hesitated to buy anything online without seeing how it looked on me. What I found was that most dress shop owners do not reveal what dresses they have in their stock, but they all insisted they could help me find the dress of my dreams if I came in.
So I spent rhe week visiting stores where I squeezed and cajoled my figure into too small or too large dresses, with price tags that were double or triple for the price of the same dress online! I can understand that stores have high rent and employees salaries to pay, but it was hard for me to understand why their prices were so very inflated. If you saw a dress priced at $400 online, would you feel happy paying over $1,000 for the exact same dress in a store? One "plus size only" dress shop actually had all the dress designer labels replaced with her own labels, and all her dresses seemed to have been ordered very long, as almost all the dresses I tried on in her store dragged on the ground. I felt suspicious that this was her way to earn extra money on alterations. It seemed like they had quite a few deceptive practice to me, and I left that store quickly.
One fact I learned was that many formal dress stores only carry a limited selection of a brand's dresses, so finding a design online does not mean the store will have it available to try on. If you really like many of the dresses of one designer it pays to look for one of their "trunk shows" events, held at different shops at different times of the year, as that is the only way to have an opportunity to try on all the current seasons dresses of that designer.
The entire process of finding a dress was harder than I thought it was going to be, and I was spending quite a bit of time searching online and in stores. I finally found a beautiful dress, and it surprised me! It was different from all the dresses I looked at online. I actually picked it to try on because I liked its teal color very much. Sometimes finding the right dress is pure serendipity!
Here is a sneak peek....
It's a Jasmine/Jade brand dress, in a beautiful teal color. I even found my shoes and clutch bag in the same store. I am so relieved to have finally said "Yes" to the dress!
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