Aside from crazy family members offering to pay my father to dye his hair blue for the ceremony (nice try, uncles), the scariest part of the wedding process has been the dress. Being a 6-foot-tall curvy redhead with very pale skin, glaring white is never my color of choice, and being 33 years old now, I'm not really trying to look like Cinderella. I knew this after an ill-fated trip to the tacky taffeta nightmare that is David's Bridal, where the saleswomen had a hard time understanding I wanted something different (and a dressing room that didn't look like the ones at K-Mart). I even scoped out black Vera Wang gowns but decided they made me look like an evil queen in a fairy tale and cost about as much as a used car. Thankfully, I escaped nearly unscathed (fashion ego slightly bruised) and decided to skip chain stores entirely and commit my budget to the bridal heaven called L'Atelier Couture. It really was love at first sight. [caption id="attachment_1322" align="alignright" width="300" caption="L'Atelier Couture"]
[/caption] The bridal salon is directly across the street from my apartment downtown, a fact I used to conveniently justify more than doubling my dress budget. ("It's meant to be!") Walking into L'Atelier is any bride's dream; the North Loop warehouse is filled with delicate and devastatingly gorgeous couture gowns, the main loft area circled by private dressing/meeting rooms as big as any person's living room. They carry everyone from Oscar de la Renta to Elizabeth Fillmore to local designer Tara LaTour. The latter proved to be part of my dress destiny as Tara is designing from scratch the only piece of my wedding I've allowed to overtake my sense of reason. The dress is blue. [caption id="attachment_1270" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Tara LaTour gowns at L'Atelier"]
[/caption] I'll just get that out of the way now seeing as though I've shown most of my friends the pictures and my future mother-in-law mistakenly spilled it to my fiance (it's not pictured here as I'd like to keep it a surprise overall until the date). I bee-lined for it at my first appointment last summer because it was so stunningly different from the sea of light white and cream colored gowns. Christina at L'Atelier has been a total delight, giving me a little extra attention as I'll be their very first LaTour bride. It's all very exciting as a fan of fashion to have a dress made couture. Unfortunately, I couldn't try the dress on—sample sizes are a thorn in every curvy girl's side. We put it on my size 0 sister and she nearly cried (of course). This was in July, and a few weeks ago in December I met with Tara for the second time to finally get fitted for the muslin, the part of the dress the designer uses to guide her to get the exact fit. I hadn't been measured since summer and lost at least two inches everywhere! It was a really great feeling. This won't continue if Christina keeps putting out amazing treats for our appointments, though: "Those are salted caramel macaroons and pumpkin cake pops," she said. "Do you want a Crispin?"
Of course I ate it all. : / Tara and I decided to change part of the dress to make it better fit my frame, so she'll be making a custom belt for the dress with some really nice embellishments. The next time we meet in March, I'll be able to finally try it on. I haven't cried yet. . . . Yet.