Sweating in Another Woman’s Bustier

Last Saturday, I decided it might be time to start looking at large puffs of white tulle in possible consideration for my wedding attire. There was a sale at David’s Bridal, so I convinced my mom this was an excellent plan, made an appointment, and then spent the morning fighting with billowing white fabric in a tiny, tiny little dressing room.

She’s coming for your soul…in a handcrafted, artisan gown with hand painted roses…

When we arrived, they were already running behind for the day, so they let us loose to wander through the racks of dresses. Sorting through white and cream dresses is easier said than done as, well, they all look the same. We hemmed and hawed, ooh-ed over the fancier options, chatted about the finer points of sparkly appliques. I found I was attached to large ball gowns with lacy things all over, bonus points for three dimensional flowers.

The reality of the “fairytale” of finding The Dress, getting lost in a sea of white things in clear body bags.

Our consultant finally met with us, an itsy-bitsy lady of approximately 19 years of age with a large arm tattoo and badly dyed blonde hair. She then proceeded to quiz me about everything not wedding gown related.

“How many bridesmaids are you going to have?”

“Uh, five plus a brides…dude. Bridesdudes? Bridesmanfriend? Wedding guy? So, six. One guy, five ladies. But, ten total considering each side. This is like a bad word problem.”

Blank stare. “Okay, what are your colors?”

“Well, we are attracted to bright colors and are just going to let them all pick their own outfits, so purple, yellow, orange, pink, red…”

“You can buy swatches here for them.”

“Well, I was thinking more the ol’ low key hand everyone a paint swatch and tell them to go wild in outfitting themselves…”

(Stare.) “Where is the wedding going to be?”

“Oh, in a traditional garden and then a super modern reception. Plus there is a bright boutique hotel next door, so it’s a little bit of everything….”

“Okay, I’ll pull some dresses for you. Let me go get you a bridal slip. What is your bust size?”


“I’ll get you a bustier to put on, too.”

So, I then found myself in a tiny dressing room with no mirror, struggling to latch myself into a used bustier and can-can-esque bridal skirt. Essentially, like this…But, you know, with proportional legs and two feet.

Seriously, why do her legs look so short?

This ensemble as a good look for me, kinda like Ellie the Arizona brothel girl trying to make good on her new marriage life. Waist, boobs on display, flashy shirt, I was excited to try on the expensive white overlays! I was ready to can-can dance!

Now, being as I sang opera, I have spent a good portion of my life trying on fancy ball gowns. I look GOOD in a fancy gown. I know how to walk with a train, gently lift the sides of a full skirt to move gracefully around an obstacle (yelling tenor), and wear a large costume with presence. I expected the same feeling of putting on a gorgeous gown to sing. So, when tiny consultant handed me my first gown and I crawled through the layers to put it on, I was expecting a GREAT FLOOD OF EMOTIONS like Randy from Say Yes to the Dress has promised me through multiple seasons. Instead, I looked like a white- sequin-embroidered tank.

With slightly more sparkle…

My waist was gone, I couldn’t move my arms, and I looked super dowdy. Eh. Glorious. My philosophy in clothing is that it is never the person or their bodies’ fault that something does not look good. The sole issue is with the design. So, take it off and try again. So, on to the next gown…Eh again. Slightly lumpy white panzer tank. A few more dresses in, and I was muttering something about looking like a sparkly, waistless Moby Dick while trying to throw yard of poof over my head in a confined space. Ready the harpoons, Ahab!

Throughout this whole thing, the consultant would just hand me gowns in the tiny dressing room to crawl into them myself. That floaty, full tulle shirt you so adore? It actually weights about 30 pounds. I decided to do some bicep curls with a particularly large and heavy dress. I asked the consultant for something different, and she brought me a Glinda the Good Witch ball gown with metallic embroidery. The mom has now joined me in the claustrophobic room, and with two dresses in there with us, basically cannot move for the cloud of white skirt. The dresses resembled armor, the waists and side rigid with embellishment.

It’s a good look for a wedding, right? Will fit right in with our Rustic Rodeo Clown in Paris theme…

I’m was now sweating profusely and my loaner bustier plastered to my sides with perspiration, slightly reeking of ball gown dreams and disappointed budget realities. Tiny consultant pulls some entirely different dresses, I decide to go rouge and take off my can-can shirt against her wishes, and I actually end up finding quite a pretty champagne colored strapless gown with an A-line skirt and white embroidery around the bust. During this entire time, another bridal party has been lurking outside my room and commenting on every gown. They vastly approve of this final, slenderizing gown. My mom, rightfully, thinks it looks a bit cheap, but presents a good starting place for style at another roomier and higher end locale. We decide we are done, and I return to stuff the can-can slip back into its drawstring bag and peel off the sweatiest bustier in the world.

So, wedding dress shopping, not a magical and fun affair as The Wedding Industry Machine would so like you to believe. I was mostly struck by how unflattering the gowns were in general and how they would not do any woman any favors. And, how the majority of dresses in my size very much wanted to cover me completely with frilly white lace. Meanwhile, my inner Ellie the Brothel Girl very much wants the impressive cleavage to fly free on the wedding day. So, I made a couple more appointments with very different salons, and bought my own bustier. Because, if I am going to have to sweat in tulle in the pursuit of a dress, I might as well do it in my own lingerie.

The Venue Search: “It’s Perfect…Pity That We Will Have to Sell Our Future Unborn Children for an Open Bar”

Yesterday our parents met for the first time. Nothing quite like coffee, eggs, and growing up semi-wild in the country stories whilst in a gorgeous locale to bring together parental units from as far across a political divide as possible. Whilst eating breakfast enchiladas under an old pecan tree as everyone else regaled with stories of “…and, then the hornet nest broke apart” or “surprise scorpions are the worst,” I was struck by how this improbable hodgepodge of people were my family. And, I was very, very happy. And, how as a group, we would be superior at apparently fending off assorted bugs and arthropods.

I googled “scorpion wearing a tiny hat.” This hat with a not so tiny scorpion is a second best option. Possible rehearsal dinner headwear? Also, unfulfilled niche for tiny scorpion hats out there. Just sayin’.

The parental unit breakfast location was also a possible venue choice being as it is a working organic farm featuring numerous restaurants and outdoor locations perfect for parties. It’s wonderful. And, by wonderful, I mean one of my favorite places to which I have ever been on this whole earth. But, as we live someplace that tends to extreme weather, sudden monsoons, lightning storms, pop-up dust storms which make the sky red, heat so hot you might as well melt and die, those pesky “surprise scorpions”, the gamble on the one day a year or so from now having perfect weather is a gamble we are not willing to take. Plus, there is the opportunity to step in duck poop at said locale, and duck poop is gross.

The only instance of semi-cute duck poop.

Next onward to an expensive locale perched on the side of a mountain! Pastry and I have moved on to sharing one brain so as we were driving downtown I was thinking, “Hey, maybe we should go look at…” as he turned the corner to head up the hill to said venue. We also them remarked at the exact same time about the perfect penis shaped cactus near the welcome sign. Same brain sometimes. (Other times, like when inquiring about why there is a trowel, car polisher disc, decrepit fish tank filter, and a zombie card game all sitting on the same object in our garage, not so much.) This swanky venue mostly just stirred within us massive pool envy and a discussion about the blandness of hotel ballrooms. We took a selfie (alas not with the cactus), planned a theoretical staycation, and left for the next option a bit sweaty and hot from tromping up the hill in a desert summer.

There are some really bizarre stock photos of women and cacti. Should you want to go down this dark hole of the internet, please make sure to turn on Safe Search. Fair warning.

Next venue on the docket was the botanical gardens, the scene of our second date. Circa 16 months ago, Pastry and I met up at the gardens to watch the sunset and tour an artist installation in the dark. He brought a portable chess set which we never played as we spent most of our time sitting next to a fountain in those canvas butterfly chairs which are inevitably difficult from which to extract yourself with much grace. We went out for beers and burritos later after which we had the most awkward first kiss ever.

Great date, great venue. Our first venue stop at the gardens was an open air pavilion with rustic lanterns surrounded by desert wildflowers. As I’m a classical musician and a good portion of wedding guests are also musicians (who may be performing), acoustics of the venue are pretty important. Now, I am not a singer who is anxious to prove I can sing, warbling at any opportunity in a resonant space, so singing in public at the drop of a hat is not quite my thing (this policy really depends on the amount of liquor imbibed though). But, I sang.  Specifically a French piece about watching the sun set over the fields at the end of a very good day. And, it was wonderful and magical as we stood in the center together. And, then a bunch of tropical shirt wearing tourists from Portland rolled up to ask about the singing and grill us about wedding plans as I had apparently attracted a crowd on the other side of the wall of flowers.

Without going into great detail, we looked at several other venue options at the gardens. It is all amazingly beautiful and very us. Essentially, it is a great fit and all of it made my heart race in anticipation.

 And, then we looked at the alcohol pricing.

This look is what our future unborn child will look like when they find out that we had to sell them to the highest bidder in order to pay for the open bar at our wedding.

We could put a downpayment on a (very small) house (okay, maybe more like a fancy shed) with the amount of money it would cost to have an open bar. Ruling out the future profit of selling our unborn child in order to pay for just the bar, here are some other things we could buy instead of paying for an open bar with well drinks (premium liquor prices are not even considering) at the botanic gardens:

Around 8 to 10 years of seeing this cute, giant rodent face or well drinks for 115 people? Tough call.

So, we worked on our Weighted Decision Matrix of Nuptial Planning. The gardens are still in the running, but have taken a significant numerical hit in the “Booze Options” criteria rating. Besides, maybe we really need 294 pounds of crab legs and/or 454 containers of clarified butter instead.