On the day I said yes to the wedding dress, the one I’ll wear down the aisle at my second wedding (Oct. 2019)…
We had a full house.
My friend and stylist, Michelle Hilsman, came over to put my hair into an updo. When I told her that I’d be dress shopping soon, she suggested it. After all, the hair and the dress need to work together.
Ever since I wore my hair in a low updo when Chris (my fiance) and I went to Hiawatha Homes’ Festival of Trees Opening Night Gala, I’ve known that it’s how I want it done for our wedding day.
Michelle set up at our dining table. Chris and our two grandchildren (Audi and Demari) sat at the kitchen island. When it comes to grandchildren, technically the granddaughter is mine and the grandson is his. Both were born after Chris and I were a couple, so we both gladly claim both infinitely lovable kiddos.
It was also a Kids’ Weekend, so my fiance’s 3 youngest (16, 15, and 13) were at our house. Two were hanging in the living room along with their 18-year-old brother. My 20-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, sat at the table with Michelle and I for a bit. Then, she wandered off to get ready for dress shopping. Elizabeth and Audi live in St. Louis and were staying with us for a week. For three days we had 9 people staying in a 4-bedroom split level house.
On the day I said yes to the dress I’d had a busy morning…
One bridesmaid (the mysterious V) and her guy (one of my fiance’s close friends) were on their way down from Minneapolis and I wanted to make sure there were at least a couple of cozy snacks for them when they arrived. I baked one loaf of banana bread using my Grandma Lynch’s recipe. Spicy-Sweet Maple Snack Mix was in the oven. It’s a favorite in our house. Chris stirred it for me a couple of times while I did my best to sit still in the chair as Michelle did my hair.
V and her guy arrived shortly after Michelle departed. Ten of the eleven of us devoured the banana bread. Demari kept grabbing a piece of banana bread and running for our bedroom closet. After chasing him down a few times, I went to do my makeup and chat with V.
On the day I said yes to the dress…
Three bridesmaids (my daughter, my future stepdaughter, and V) and I drove to Mestad’s Bridal and Formalwear to meet up with my other three bridesmaids. It’s the only locally owned full service wedding dress shop I know of in town. Since I’m marrying the CEO of a point of sale software company that serves independent retailers, I couldn’t imagine buying a dress from a national chain.
Mestad’s remodeled a while back, because more and more people were shopping like the show, “Say Yes to the Dress.” After that show came out, I figured I’d dress-shopped wrong the first time around. Not so, according to the staff. That show just changed the way a lot of women shop for wedding dresses. I’ve evolved with the times. Sometimes, at 40, it feels good to know that I’m keeping up.
They reserved an hour and a half for me to decide on a dress. I thought I’d know after a dress, or two. After all, this isn’t my first time getting married. I tend to be decisive. It took 8 dresses and exactly an hour and a half.
More meaningful to me than the dresses, was being surrounded by the amazing women who I’d asked to be a special part of our special day. They were so generous with their time. As Jo helped me in the dressing room, I could hear them all chattering. Some had never met. It felt so good to hear them all having a good time.
When I found the dress, my daughter teared up, told me I was perfect, and then full on cried. So, I started to tear up and had to walk away from her for fear I’d drip makeup onto the dress. My soon-to-be stepdaughter gave her signal that she thought it was the one that her dad would like the most.
I’m so pleased that I went to Mestad’s. In addition to the great service, I found a dress that’s not going to be so everywhere. It’s an Eve of Milady and Mestad’s is one of the only places to find that designer in all of the Midwest. People travel from as far away as Missouri and Montana to Rochester, Minnesota to try the dresses on.
On the day I said yes to the dress…
We shopped for bridesmaid dresses too. Three of the six bridesmaids live out of town, so it made sense to get it all done. Everyone found a style that suited and had measurements done. Then, we grabbed a bite to eat and a couple of drinks. It’s amazing how dress shopping can famish!
Now that the dress is decided on…
Planning is in full swing. There’s something about finding the dress that makes other parts of the wedding easy to decide on. We’ve even (tentatively) decided on the song for our first dance. I thought we were months away from sorting that detail out.
*Note: Due to privacy concerns that a couple of my bridesmaids have (not wanting their faces all over the internet), not all are pictured. All are totally loved and appreciated for being a part of our big day!