That law school Saturday morning, I exited the Washington, DC metro bundled up against the early February snow flurries. Other girls and their mothers were arriving at Garfinkel’s annual bridal show by limousine. I was meeting Linda there to share in the fun of a designer salon experience and to provide moral support, as we anticipated being intimidated by the debutante world. As champagne flutes were being passed by wait staff who looked exported from Masterpiece Theatre, Linda whispered to me, “Have you seen the rings on these girls? I’m keeping my left hand in my pocket.”
And such was my one experience looking at wedding dresses with a girlfriend. The morning my mom and I had designated as the Saturday to seriously look for my wedding dress, she called me to say, “Your dad is coming, too.” I had not expected him to have been interested, but I don’t know why I had assumed he wouldn’t have been. It was cute the way he ended up driving the day’s agenda, starting out as was my mother’s wish at the Bullock’s Wilshire salon, then down the street to Saks Fifth Avenue, and finally, much more realistically, at the local salon here in Pasadena. When I emerged in one particular dress, it was my dad who said, “That’s the one.”
My wedding dress drama didn’t kick in until about three weeks before the wedding. Short as I am, I paid extra to have the dress custom hemmed shorter than the size 2 specifications to exactly my height. When I tried on the dress when it arrived, the length was okay, but at least three of me could have fit in it. I was horrified to see the label inside that said, “Size 6.”
Because I had received a custom specification, the salon refused to do anything about the mistake. Their attitude was, “That’s your dress.” The mother of one of my piano students, an excellent seamstress, jumped into action, toiling those three weeks to take the dress apart, recut it to fit me out of the pieces, and then painstakingly resew on all the lace and beading. With her labor of love, the dress ended up fitting me perfectly. The upshot, though, was that instead of a modest size 2 not-quite-a-train, I ended up with a size 6 train of Princess Diana proportions. Nearly 30 years later, this at least makes for a good story.
This afternoon, Akemi, a bridesmaid, will accompany Sarah, the bride-to-be, making the rounds of the bridal salons in town, on Sarah’s hunt for dress ideas. It’s a “Sunrise, Sunset” time – how did these girls grow up to be such beauties, planning weddings, no less? Wasn’t it just yesterday that Linda and I were at Garfinkel’s? Then tonight, they will watch an old Disney video. Thank heavens they haven’t completely grown up quite yet.