That's right. It's here. The moment I've been waiting for since I first dressed up as a bride when I was four years old. My wedding dress has arrived. And I've survived the first fitting. A slew of fears plagued me before the fitting. Will I like it? Will it fit? What if it's not what I remembered? What if I trip and ruin it when I have it on? What if, what if, what if. I had plenty of time to stew over my anxieties, but it didn't become a reality until about a week before my first fitting when I was notified by an adorable e-mail from the wonderful women of L'Atelier Couture that my dress had shipped. I spent that last week anxiously awaiting the fitting. I wanted to look my best because I know myself, and if I didn't feel pretty in it, I'd be hugely disappointed.
I completed a two-day BluePrint cleanse (a favorite from my Chicago days)—it's an all juice meal replacement that gets sent to you, six juices in all, and they're delicious—so I was feeling rather svelte. My hair was highlighted in preparation of my upcoming shower, and I got a VersaSpa spray tan because I was looking rather pasty (and my dress is white, not ivory, so I didn't want to blend in.) As I approached the fourth floor of L'Atelier's building, I was ready to try on the dress of my dreams. As a birthday surprise for my mom, I hired photographer Laura Ivanova to come and capture the moment, so she met us at the door and started snapping away. A lot of people have that "ohmygoodness, this is the one" moment when they are trying on their dresses, and though my mother and I had a "yes" moment when we found it initially, we were also very focused on the semantics of the dress. We wanted to make sure that we examined every aspect of it, so I think the emotional element of it was a little lost. I knew with the first fitting that it would be different: This is MY dress. This is what I'll be wearing when I walk down the aisle. I expected tears. And I was right. Once my mom recovered from the shock of the surprise and her onslaught of tears, she (like me) hates surprises, we headed to the fitting room where a large white Vera Wang bag awaited. We returned to the same room that I initially tried dresses on in October, and owner Amanda Kautt surprised us with a beautiful floral arrangement from Just Bloomed and a bottle of champagne. I could sense the energy in the room as I repeated glanced nervously at the bag and what lied within it. Everyone took their shoes off outside the room and Amanda unzipped the bag while I nervously gnawed on my nails (it's a habit I really need to kick before the wedding). This was it. The big moment. When she pulled back the wrapping, all my fears were put to rest. The dress was gorgeous. It took my breath away and I loved it as much as when I first tried it on. But this time it was even better because it was mine . . . and I knew this is what I'd be wearing when I said I do. I stripped down (my first suggestion is to make sure you wear good underwear) and Amanda brought the dress over to me. My second suggestion, and this is a big one, is to NOT go tanning before your fitting. Apparently the spray tan solution can stain fabrics, even if you've showered a few times, so they put me into a bustier-type bra to be safe before I stepped into the gown. Terrified that I would sweat on the dress, I cautiously stepped into it with my arms over my head. Amanda zipped up the back and then I stepped into my shoes. (Suggestion number three is to have your shoes with you). Once I was set in the dress and shoes, Amanda spun me around so I could see my reflection in the mirror at the end of the room. And it was then that my tears started . . . and my mom's continued. We went through each detail of the dress with me in it. Where it felt too loose, where it was just right, what we wanted to add or change. I practiced walking with the dress and veil on (granted I was holding my arms in the air the entire time for fear of spreading the tan), and I met with jewelry designer Penny Larsen to determine which bracelet and earrings best accentuate the dress. After about 30 minutes of strutting my stuff (and smiling for Laura), we took it off and bagged it away until the next time, where they'll do actual alterations. All in all, the experience was amazing. Just what I was hoping for—my mom and I both had that ohmygoodness moment, and now it feels more real than ever! Laura caught the whole experience on film so I'll be sure to share the pictures with you when I can. Seventy-five days and counting. Gulp!