Maid for each other: The Magical Mystery Dress.

First off, I want to warn all of you who still need to go wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, or mother of the bride dress shopping: Black Friday (or the weekend surrounding any family-based holiday for that matter) is not a good day to try to pursue your search. Although it was easy to think that nobody would be dress shopping since anyone who was out would clearly be at Best Buy getting super deals on electronics, but apparently that's what everyone thought. Add that to the fact that this is the time that a lot of mothers, grandmothers, cousins, siblings, etc are in town visiting and may not have another opportunity to see their little girl in her big pouffy dress before the big day, and you have some pretty crowded dress stores. That being said, we went to two different stores - both were crowded, but one basically blew us off completely and the other gave us more time and attention than I would have even expected on a normal day. It's hit or miss, I guess.

Now, on to the dress shopping extravaganza!

What started as a really quick plan to get my girls together, try on the perfect dress one more time, size the girls, and order the dresses turned into a full day (really, we were looking at dresses and swatches and such for hours!) of confusion, stress, and uncertainty which led to some pretty significant bridesmaid success!

Remember the dress that we found, but I was sad because it had been dicontinued? And remember how I was glad to report that I had found it again? Well, the plot thickens. All but one of my bridesmaids, my mother, and I met at the store where I had found the dress and the girls began trying it on.

personal photo.

and, by golly, it magically looked good on all of them. These girls have very differing shapes and sizes, but this dress was seriously travelling pants style or something. Since we had already decided that the dress looked great with my own and since all five girls had now tried it on and loved it, we proceeded to check out the fabric swatches and decide on a color. It was too easy.

Yeah, too easy. Turns out, the store only had teeny tiny fabric swatches glued to a piece of cardstock, and I absolutely could not tell if their shade of burgundy was right for us. I asked to see an actual dress in that color, but the sales lady explained that they only had the sample dresses out that came in more "spring" colors and the "winter" colored dresses were in the back. Since it was so busy, she said we would have to come back on Sunday so she could pull the dress for us. Um, no thanks. We decided to find another store that would be able to actually show us the colors we were workin' with.

Once at the new store, the sales ladies were immediately very attentive and helpful. Although they did not have an actual dress in the color I wanted from the exact designer, the woman pulled a bunch of dresses in similar shades, got their fabric swatches (which were much bigger and allowed us to actually see the color), and laid it against the dresses until she could find one in the closest shade possible. The winning colored dress was perfect. I was absolutely sold on the burgundy color for our perfect dress. Again, easy peasy - we had everything figured out, right?

Wrong. The second store did not have the dress. Not only that, but the dress didn't show up in any catalogues, was still nowhere to be seen on the website, and was otherwise nowhere to be found. When I explained that I didn't have a style number because there were absolutely no tags on the dress, - not even a designer, size, or washing instructions tag - the sales girls expressed concern about the legitimacy of the other store. They said that the dress was most likely indeed discontinued and explained that they had heard sketchy things about the store in question before. They were worried we would not actually get the dresses we ordered or worse. Of course, I couldn't completely dismiss one store purely from the speculations of another, but I had already felt kinde sketchy about the first store and the people at the second were so helpful and patient that my trust in the other store or even of the existence of our perfect dress started to waver.

So, there we were, me and four bridesmaids - we had the perfect color but no actual access to the perfect dress. What were we supposed to do?

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