Thursday, 19 February 2009

If the dress fits...

...long post, sorry but sometimes it is important to share!

The days are flying by and the 1st March is accelerating towards me at a rate of knots. I have my exams this weekend and I am writing this when I should be studying Project Management Cost Management formulae (no wonder the blog beckoned). Actually, according to my Project plan, I need to leave the house in an hour to have my roots done. No hour is my own at the moment.

Just as an aside here, I did muse to companions at my local knit night recently that the more people that get to know about my blog, the harder I find it not to censor my writing. Sometimes, I worry about being the owner of a blog of abject blandness - not that I think bad thoughts about anyone or anything but I do not want to risk offending anyone, all the same.

This may be why I have been so silent on the topic of my wedding preparations. I am not sure that Brides-To-Be are supposed to be honest about what is really going on in their heads. I think that they are supposed to float out, on the day, in a cloud of white tulle, smile a lot as though the whole thing has been a complete breeze and hope that the fact that it is their wedding day will help people overlook the fact that they have a far closer resemblance to an exhausted, whitewashed oil tanker than a delicate princess.

In reality, what is going on behind the scenes is something that looks a little like this:

Project - Wedding_Page_1

Oh come one, did you really think that I didn't have one?!

Trust me, this is mild, as I am doing what's known in the trade as 'rolling wave' planning. I have split my wedding into three events, spaced a little apart which gives me a chance to put more detail into my plan as I go along, making sure that I have everything covered - otherwise I think that my head would start to spin like something out of the Exorcist.

If you care for a giggle, click and enlarge the image in Flickr. Actually, you may be able to pick up a flavour of it from this extract:

Wedding Tasks

I did chuckle when I compared the list of my preparation tasks to the Fella's. No wonder blokes think that women make a whole heap of fuss over nothing - they just dry clean a suit, get a trim at a barbers and they are good to go?!

Now I don't enjoy high levels of unnecessary fuss and this whole wedding thing? It just seems to me that it is very high up there on the whole, over the top, fuss factor thing with all sorts of pitholes to fall into - frankly, I am not finding the experience very enjoyable.

It doesn't surprise me at all that there is a whole industry dedicated to taking care of the most expensive, complicated day or event of a couple's life. The things that are available to 'add that special touch to your special day' are astonishing. Stuff I never even knew I was supposed to do or have. Actually, I have decided that if I have never heard of something before, I do not need it!

Mind you, it can be difficult to step off the wedding cake altogether. Kudos to you, if you are managing it. I haven't! For instance, I did not envisage getting married in white but I had no idea where to shop in Canada.

In the UK, I would have headed straight to Coast, Jigsaw, Monsoon or Fenn, Wright & Mason. You know, picked up something posh without being overly formal? However being here, without a clue and becoming evermore desperate as time ticked on, I sought help and solved the problem with a traditional sort of dress in a sort of pale cream-white colour.

The hilarious thing, for a woman of my yarn tastes, is that the damned thing is 100% polyester - I wonder if I'll be wearing the bridal world equivalent of Red Heart or Bernat on the 1st March? I'll cope - just don't light a match near me, ok?!

Yup - I am going to be wearing white. Trust me, no one can be more astonished about this turn of events than me. I am fully aware that I have gone up two dress sizes since I arrived in Canada. Despite assurances to the contrary, there is every chance that I will look like the back of an ice cream van in my wedding dress - complete with uncooked Christmas hams for arms.

After all, the dress is a size 16. For goodness sake - I am hardly going to disappear if I turn sideways! I am not feeling sorry for myself here, I am responsible for my weight gain. The most important thing to me is that I look neat and tidy for the Fella on the 1st March and if it takes a layer of polyester to achieve that? So be it.

The excellent news, of course, is that the Fella would probably tell me how lovely I look, even if I was wearing a brown, hessian sack. The other wonderful news (for my bingo wings) is that the saving grace of a laceweight silk shrug is winging its way towards me, as a wedding gift from my mother.

So the whole bride-to-be and dress thing? So far it has been quite an experience. Don't ever envy the bride - she's sitting somewhere, doing her Project Management best to avoid forgetting something.

Speaking of which, I had my first dress fitting last Thursday. Luckily, Lara came with me again, else I might not have exited the shop without being tasered. Now my dress happens to reside in one of those shops with soft lighting, flattering mirrors and a recruitment policy that dictates that employees should not exceed a Size 4. Not my natural environment at all. Voila!


No, that is not my dress in the window. (Although I did try on a dress with 'pick ups'...yep really, it was a hoot actually!)

So during my fitting I sort of 'came to' to find myself, a wholesome Size 16 (cough), in a circle of mirrors, in the middle of a lake of white man-made fibre with my fat bits odging ominously out of the top of my dress.

The alterations lady was quietly ripping the tulle out from underneath the dress (well, there is a limit to the amount of pouffiness any self respecting 38 year old can stand) and whippet thin women were bustling in and out of my line of sight. One of whom, a glamourous lady in her fifties - no more than a Size 2, seemed to be on her walkie talkie the whole time, "Is the bride, dressing herself?! Is noone available to help her?!"

It was quite funny, in a surreal sort of way. Outwardly, I tried to retain my composure. Inwardly, my paranoia was screaming that the shop assistants were all glancing at me nervously. You know, a bit like they thought I might catch sight of myself in my dress, have an epiphany, realise how ridiculous I looked and burst into tears - or worse, throw an ugly sister tantrum.

I was certain that I could see their pupils contracting as they whizzed through their staff training manual behind their eyes: How to Deal with a Bride-To-Be who Realises that She does not Look like a Million Dollars in the Plastic Dress She has Bought.

I think that the only thing that kept me on the podium were the dual facts that Lara++ was sitting relaxed in her chair, making encouraging noises and the static in the shop was causing the dress lining to stick to my legs - I thought I might face plant into the carpet (in a sharp crackle of electricity) if I moved.

So I decided that my brain was overreacting - a panic response, or the static - breathed a little and asked the alterations lady to loosen my dress. Just on the basis that overhang is not attractive – on either the front or the back of a woman.

I think that it was at about this time, that the shop assistant with the walkie-talkie walked past me, eyed the dress and commented, "Hmm, you choose that one." She looked me up and down and after hesitating a moment, offered a rather stiff, "Very elegant." However, I did note that her smile did not reach her eyes.

Back to the alterations. The lady doing them was a rather stern woman with a decent Russian sounding accent. As she circled me, she kept pursing her lips and frowning. To the point, actually, where I started to wonder whether her body language was suggesting that a woman of my age, general shape and bingo wing acreage should not be getting married in a white strapless dress. I felt like saying, "Okay, lady - I know what you are thinking - guilty as charged! I cannot argue but I am where I am. Please - just do what you can!"

As it turned out, she was just worried about having loosened my dress. Although this action had resolved the overhang, the dress had become a bit loose at the front. After a bit, she pointed out (I was a bit perplexed at the time, as I did not ask and nor had I twitched at my dress) that there was just no way to hoik my bosoms up from my waist to my chest, "Particularly not this dress - it just isn't structured that way."

A bit bewildered, I laughed. I said that it was okay as, after all, I am 38, not 18. To be honest folks, my chest has obeyed the laws of gravity since I was about 16. However, the alterations lady did not look amused or relieved at all - instead she suggested that I stick my boobs to the inside of my dress with double sided sticky tape, so that the top doesn't gape and it stays flat.

At this point, I realised that the time for any frivolity was past - things were clearly serious if the only recourse open to me was tit tape. So I simply nodded like she was very wise and that I had every intention of doing that - clearly, I have no intention of doing that.

So, if you see pictures of me from the 1st March and either I am suffering an apparent case of 'Attention-Deprived Areolae Syndrome'* or you spot my chest peeping out from under my dress, around my ankles and next to my shoes - you'll understand why, you can agree that the alterations lady was right and that I should have 3M glued myself to the inside of my dress.

Take pity though – I am a woman in a strange land and it's a lot - this whole wedding organisation thing - and I am up to my armpits in revision for Sunday.

Besides, at least, I can look people in the eyes and tell them that I am still a double sided body tape virgin. Also, I will be able to rest safe on the day in the knowledge that I won't stick myself accidentally to the Fella's hirsute chest if he ever manages to work out how to get me out of my dress!

*With thanks to Emms for bringing this link to my attention!

++With double, treble thanks to Lara for putting up with me in the whole arena of wedding attire (it's a lot, I know) and spotting that the alterations lady needed to account for the fact that my bum sticks out when she was pinning my dress hem. Thus I am saved from having a dress that is longer at the front than it is at the back.


Robynn said...

Oh Gabrielle. I can soooo relate. Thanks for sharing this delightful experience... weddings, blech. I mean, yay weddings, but the fuss factor? We could live without.

Robynn said...

PS Forgot to say, your spreadsheet is *hilarious*.

Kelli said...

I will admit to the liberal use of tape in for dance recital. Liberal. Plus bobby pins and safety pins and spray glue. It's a harsh world out there.

Roobeedoo said...

Other people's weddings are so much fn aren't they?! But I would say you are making this experience an unfrogettable one. Make sure you put those gant charts in your wedding album! (You have planned a wedding album to match the frock haven't you?!)