Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Well, I think it's official. Alterations is (so far, by far) the most stressful part of our wedding planning.

I went to my first fitting appointment tonight. I blindly trusted the recommendation of strangers on the internet, and scheduled an appointment at a random bridal shop in a random New Jersey town somewhat southwest of Newark. You, being rational people, may already be wondering what in hell I was thinking when I made this decision (or not have any clue what I'm talking about, depending on your knowledge of New Jersey geography). Well, what I was thinking was that I was scared to pick any shop, I was overwhelmed about the idea of searching for one, I was scared of any New York shop (not to mention having to drive into the city to drop the dress off), and just generally wanted to make a decision and move on.

Of course tonight as I was rushing to leave work on time the plan suddenly didn't seem so good. I left my last home visit 15 minutes late, waited forever for a train, waited an even longer forever for a bus, and arrived home with about 40 minutes before my appointment. I rushed frantically around the house collecting the things I needed and made it out the door with 30 minutes on the clock. By the time I and all of my stuff were settled in the car, the phone was set to navigate me there, and I was ready to go... I was at 20 minutes. The friendly people at Google used their massive privacy-invading database of personal information to tell me that in current traffic conditions it would take me 47 minutes to arrive at my destination. And, let's be honest, in the NYC metro area, you pretty much always need more time than any electronic prediction. Great.

I won't bore you with details of the stressful drive in stop-and-go traffic, or scare you with the fact that I had to find the bridal shop phone number while driving to call and let them know I was running late and see if I should even bother coming (oops, guess I just did.)

After some debate they graciously allowed me to still be fitted, on the condition that I accepted a fitting in the bridesmaid area. No problem. The seamstress seemed flustered and a bit annoyed by being in the wrong area and having to do several things at once. More troubling though, what had somehow seemed obvious about altering my dress to the friendly Minnesota shopkeeper and her trusty seamstress sidekick apparently did not seem at all obvious or easy to my new seamstress friend. She wanted to shorten it in a way that made the dress look stupid, and she made disapproving tsk-tsk noises when I told her what friendly Minnesota shopkeeper told me about several things (i.e. how to shorten it, the importance of a bra, etc.). The pins kept popping out, and I'm fairly convinced that a some important pins were not in place when I put my dress back into the bag. Insert much stress here.

On the plus side, she did give me a price estimate that was lower than I had prepared myself to hear. But, overall, I have one piece of advice for anyone planning a wedding involving an expensive white dress: get your dress altered at the same shop you buy it at. Seriously. Just do it. (This public servie message was also approved by one Miss Becky, aka the other bride.)

P.S. Thank you Becky for having dinner ready when I got home.

Gettin' Dressed, Part Three

Well, as you may have heard, my dress came. And this weekend, our lovely friend Kara (of original Gettin' Dressed fame) came over again and helped me try it on. This girl's a pro now. And fortunately, this time we timed dinner a little better so there was slightly less insanity. Also, dinner was wild rice soup with homemade rolls. Delicious!

Anyway, back to the dress...fortunately, I still love it. And although it looked a little funny on the hanger, it does not look funny on me. Unfortunately, it needs a bit more altering than I had anticipated. I had somehow deluded myself into thinking that maybe since I'm tall-ish and wearing heels, I might not need it shortened. (The fact that neither of my sisters needs ANY alterations on their bridesmaid dresses may have aided in my delusions.) Newsflash: I am not that tall, despite any "giant" claims that Carrie might throw at me. Anyway, there are bunches of little things that need to be altered, which means I need to find a seamstress. Now the logical among you would point out that since I was obviously going to need a bustle, I was going to need a seamstress. But like I said, I was delusional...and in denial.

So here I am, less than 8 weeks (yikes!) from the wedding, and desperately in need of someone to make my dress fit right. Tonight I grudgingly sat down with a list of 3 places to call:

Shop #1: Had good reviews that mentioned prices are more reasonable than others in the area. This is where Carrie's getting her alterations done. They, unfortunately, are not taking any more outside alterations for that date because they can't guarantee they could get it done.

Shop #2: Left voicemail. Carrie had talked to someone at this store the other day and they seemed nice. Good reviews. Hopefully they'll call back tomorrow?

Shop #3: Mostly good reviews but a couple that were iffy. Shop owner on phone would not give any price information, though she was happy to give me a 5-minute spiel on why she couldn't give price information over the phone without seeing the dress. She then informed me that I need to come in ASAP
Her: You must come in now. After tomorrow.
Me: Okay, when?
Her: Thursday, or Saturday
Me: Okay, what time on Thursday?
Her: Morning or evening. Okay, I'm very busy, I must go now.
Me: Okay, evening...
Her: Okay, I see you on Thursday evening timeslot. What is your  name?
Me: Uh...what *time* in the evening...
Anyway, I wouldn't say she was rude, but she was definitely pushy, and definitely not interested in what I had to say. I mean, I get that she can't just say "dress alterations cost x" but given that I have a good idea of what's needed, I feel like she could give me some idea if she would have let. me. talk.

Basically, after that phone call, I did what any rational person would do: I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably. I think I might need to sleep more...

Bottom line: I hope Shop #2 calls me back and is a little friendlier. And isn't obscenely priced.

To sum up, here are two big things I miss about the Midwest:
1. Friendly people
2. Reasonable prices (while I still don't know what it's going to cost to alter my dress, I've read enough online to be very, very afraid.)

If anyone reading this happens to know of a reasonably-priced seamstress in the NYC or northern NJ areas, please share! We're both lacking in personal recommendations for vendors in the area, so we've pretty much had to rely on online reviews. And if you have any suggestions for not stressing out so much, please share those too. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gettin' Dressed, Part Two

I stayed home from work sick today (nothing too serious, just woke up with a migraine this morning and needed to sleep it off; I'm feeling mostly better now) and was planning to spend the day lying in bed and maybe watching some reruns of The Golden Girls this afternoon if my head felt up to it. But then mid-morning I got an automated call from an 800 number, which of course I ignored. Who wants to talk to a telemarketer when you're sick? An hour or so later, I got another call and answered this time, to find out it was an automated call from UPS that a package requiring my signature would be delivered today.

Have I mentioned that my dress hasn't come yet? Have I mentioned that this is a source of much anxiety for me?


So, needless to say, I was not going to be getting back to sleep. Here's pretty much what the rest of my day looked like:

Ran downstairs (two flights) to make sure UPS hadn't already been here and left one of those "sorry we missed you" notes.

Ran back upstairs and wrote a note to the UPS driver so he'd know which bell to ring (yeah, it's labeled, but it has still caused problems for people) and included my cell phone number just in case. I was not messing around with any possibility of the driver trying to claim no one was home because it's not like I was going to be home for any redelivery attempts and I sure don't want to drive to some depot in who-knows-where to pick it up.

Grabbed tape. Ran downstairs to tape note to door. Got halfway down second flight when I realized I didn't know if I'd locked the apartment door behind me. Panicked that I would be locked out in my pajamas. Ran back up. Checked door: unlocked. Phew! Ran back downstairs. UPS truck was parked across the street. Waited in entryway awkwardly to see if he was coming my way. He was putzy. Taped note to door and ran back upstairs. Watched UPS guy out the window as he delivered a package across the street and left. Put house keys in my pocket and swore to keep them there all day so that I wouldn't risk another lockout scare.

Putzed on the internet and lazed around for awhile. Turned on the TV to look for reruns of The Golden Girls, which have always been on somewhere in the noon-2:00 time range on other sick days. Looked on and learned that The Golden Girls have now been relegated to midnight and mornings, which meant I had missed my chance.

Called the store I ordered the dress from, which has been mildly annoying this whole time. I'm sure they're probably lovely people if you're ordering in person and picking up your dress at the shop, but they're not so good over the phone and with shipping, which is a little surprising since they run a huge online business too. (For example, I was told when I was at the shop that shipping would be free, but it was $30 when I called to place the order. I was also told in store that my dress would arrive mid-August but then when I called in early August to check on an exact date, they told me mid-September.) Anyway, I called them to confirm that the package coming today really was my dress and found out that yes, it was my dress, and I should have received a tracking number but apparently they got my email address wrong back when I ordered and then didn't bother to fix it when I asked them to a couple months ago. Oh well.

Went back downstairs just to make sure UPS hadn't been by. Picked up a box from Amazon for Carrie that was down there. Yes, it was delivered by UPS. Yes, that means UPS had already been on my street twice today. Went back upstairs.

Putzed around some more. Suddenly....DOORBELL RINGS! I jumped and ran so fast that I almost threw my laptop on the floor. Ran downstairs. UPS guy was there with not one, but TWO boxes for us! My dress came!!! And we got a wedding present! Oh happy day! UPS guy was very nice. In retrospect, this may be because he was holding a box that said "Wedding Shoppe" all over it, and I grabbed it out of his hands like a crazed hyena, so I think he knew what it was. I decided not to ask UPS guy about why his company thought it was logical or efficient for them to stop on our street at least three times in one day.

Came back upstairs. Stared at box for awhile debating whether or not to open it. Yeah, after all that, I was scared to touch it. Finally concluded that I should at least make sure they sent the right dress. And it is the right one. Woo-hoo! It looks a little funny on the hanger, but I hope I'll still love it when I try it on. With any luck, Kara is going to come over this weekend and help me too, though maybe we'll try to skip the BBQ ribs drama this time around.

Like I said before, we're not going to see each other's dresses before the wedding. But we have limited space, so they still have to share a closet. Pretty much right now it looks like we have two oversized cocoons hanging in the closet in our office:

(the Christmas wrapping paper in the corner is a nice touch, no?) Anyway, you'll all have to wait until after November 6 to see if they produce two byoootiful butterflies.

Note: all those who have any respect for grammar in the English language, I apologize for the nearly total absence of subjects in this post. On the plus side, I guess you can't yell at me for subject-verb agreement problems if I just leave one out altogether! Also, the whole running up/downstairs bit is a more accurate depiction if you read it in your head in a very fast, frantic voice. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010


When it rains it pours. Which is why you get two lovely posts from us today and not just one.

First of all, a funny comment from Becky regarding her new Etsy addiction. "What I need right now is a "not ugly" search. But apparently that's sort of subjective."

We've had yet another lovely weekend around here, this time bidding farewell to a wonderful summer. Friday we braved a hurricane to attend a Brooklyn Cyclones game, which turned out to be a lot of fun. I noted to Becky that baseball is the one and only sport that I can actually watch and generally understand without asking her a lot of inane questions about the rules. This led us to the general realization that one of us (Becky!) is going to have to get a bit smarter about sports before we have a child. We contemplated our usual tactic of each choosing a team to root for, but decided that the song commanded us to root root root for the home team, and so we did. A good thing too, since they won. Fireworks were sadly canceled due to "high winds" from the aforementioned hurricane (aka a few clouds in the sky and a slight breeze).

And here's a picture of an eerily glowing Nathan's hot dogs (where we stopped in after the game... apparently the only way to make Nathan's prices look reasonable is to buy food when trapped in a sports stadium.) I admit, the creepy glow is an element of the photo and not representative of reality. But it looks pretty cool.

Saturday we had a picnic in Central Park with our friend Stephanie and her one year old daughter, who has mysteriously turned into a preschooler while we were looking the other way. I'm tempted to post pictures, but I think it's bad internet karma to post pictures of other people's children without their permission. Trust me when I say she's adorable. From there we did some clothes shopping (including a dress that Becky might wear for the legal wedding! And, by the way, being two women makes it very complicated to select clothing because for EVERY event related to this wedding we have to have the debate about making our clothes look good together but not be matchy matchy and be balanced in terms of formality and femme-y-ness and style and...), and then headed to a housewarming party for Kara and Joe's new place. Much jealousy for living facing Central Park!

Sunday.. I guess Sunday we did a lot of boring stuff. But we did watch a movie - Ghosttown - which I rated as "pretty good" and Becky deemd "disappointing." And then today I guess you already read about in Becky's post. So really I guess the excitement was Friday and Saturday. To make up for it, I'll leave you with a picture of us at the beach last weekend, since I obviously never got around to regaling you with stories of beachy goodness.

Gettin' Dressed

Well, the wedding is now a mere two months away. Cue panic. The RSVPs are rolling in, which is making it painfully clear that this even really IS happening, and we really DO have a lot of stuff that needs to get done before then. This, of course, is why I have spent a good 5 hours today staring at in search of handmade goodness for presents, jewelry, etc. In the process, I have discovered many fantastic things that are completely unrelated to the wedding, such as some adorable children's artwork, like this and this. While I'm sure that will come in handy someday, it's probably not what I should be spending time on now.

Of course, I don't have much else to do because I am currently sequestered in our bedroom with the cats while Carrie is trying on her dress in our living room. We are both wearing big white dresses for the wedding, and we're both keeping them a surprise cuz we're traditional like that. Carrie's arrived last week, so a friend of hers came over this afternoon and is helping her try it on and sort out what is needed for alterations, etc. (Or at least I assume that's what they're discussing out there; I don't really know, I'm mesmerized by etsy.)

Being logical people, we of course decided that we should have ribs for dinner tonight post-big-white-dress-trying-on. Carrie and I came up with a plan for cooking them, which we didn't really share with Kara. So of course we put the ribs in the oven and then I went off to the bedroom to hide. A little while later, the timer goes off. Carrie is (presumably) standing in the middle of the living room in a big white dress, I'm locked in the bedroom, and Kara doesn't know what to do with the ribs or where to find a potholder for that matter. Smart thinking us. Fortunately, Kara's a pro and dutifully got the ribs out and then carried them over to Carrie and me individually so that we could discuss a plan while I stood in the doorway with my eyes both closed and covered and facing the other direction just for good measure.

Oh, and did I mention that this was interruption number 2 (of 3)? Interruption number 1 was me pointing out that they should take some pictures of Carrie in the dress, which they informed me they had already thought of. Interruption number 3 was when they finally went to take pictures, realized Carrie didn't know where her camera is, and then came to borrow mine (cuz when you're trying to keep your dress a secret from your fiancee, using her camera to take the pictures is a great plan, right?)

Now that the ribs are ready to be sauced, I anticipate interruption number 4 coming any second now...

In the meantime, I'll be on etsy pretending to look for something wedding-related. And anticipating this whole shenanigans being repeated whenever my dress appears (hopefully soon!)