There are two threads on the widow/er board that have me feeling a little down. The subject of the first one is "do you still have your wedding dress?" The other is a thread in which the original poster asked fellow members to post either their engagement or wedding pictures.
Obviously, because James died 8 months before the wedding, I do not have wedding pictures. I don't have engagement pictures either. He died 3 days before those were to be taken. In fact, at the time we should have been on the campus of the University of Portland having those pictures taken, I was on the phone with Not Really Megan, the funeral director (there's a story behind the name). I wish I had those pictures, but it is probably a blessing that I don't as it would be very hard to look at them now.
I don't have my wedding dress either. I had ordered it and it was due to arrive in May. My dear friend, and bridal peep, called the bridal shop for me and found out what my options were. I had the choice of keeping the dress and the accessories, keeping just the dress or canceling the order. I toyed with keeping the dress, but ultimately decided that there was no point in keeping a dress I would never wear. So, with my mom, my best friend and a death certificate in tow, I went to the shop and cancelled the order for my beautiful Maggie Sottero "Vienna" style dress.
James never saw my dress, and that is one regret that I have. He felt weddings were really about the bride and while I did consult him on the venue, officiant and vendor choices before making any final decisions, he just wanted me to have my dream wedding. But the one request he had was he did not want to see my dress-he wanted the element of surprise when I walked down the aisle.
Like most brides, I "knew" what dress I wanted when I walked into the bridal shop with my 4 friends on 11/10/07. I wanted the Maggie Sottero "Suzanne Vidal." I told this to my consultant, Amber, and she said that I should pick out some dresses in other styles as well. Since this was going to be my only wedding, I agreed but said not to grab any mermaid style dresses as I do not have the body type for them and that would just be a waste of time.
After trying on the first several dresses, we quickly discovered that I wanted a strapless dress, which I knew, and that I preferred lace dresses to the plain fabric ones. This was actually kind of ironic since I am so not a girly-girly lace person, but they seemed more feminine to me, and I felt that a bride should be feminine. By the time we got to the last dress, the Suzanne Vidal, I knew I wasn't going to like it and I was disappointed when I didn't.
Amber went and got a several more dresses for me and I was beginning to think I wasn't going to find a dress that day. The 2nd to last dress she had selected for me was the "Vienna" and as I was trying it on, I reminded her that I had said no mermaid style and this seemed to be mermaid-ish. She said it was "mermaid style for people with hips." I told her I wasn't going to like it. She had me stand with my back to the mirror and then turn around. When I turned around, I said "Oh wow. I think I am going to cry." And then I burst into tears. She had me try on my other favorite up to that point just to be sure, but there was no doubt I had found my dress. It was a little more than I had planned to spend ($1200!) and when I told James I had found one and it was a liittle more than I planned to spend, he asked if it was $3,000. I said "Uh, no." He asked if it was more or less, and when I said it was less he said that all was well then.
I had my best friend take pictures since my mom was not able to be there for the shopping trip. It's funny-about a week or so before James died, I could no longer picture myself wearing the dress. I sometimes wonder if on some level I knew what was coming. The one thing I do know for sure is I would have loved to see his face when he saw me walking down the aisle towards him in this dress: