Another “Tales from the Veil” story is brought to us by Rachel Kitt who is the Executive Assistant at the Jewish Federation of San Diego County. She loves to run competitively and for pleasure, bake gluten-free sweets, and hang out with her hubby, a San Diego attorney. After eloping to the island of Oahu in December of 2007, Rachel finds herself looking back on her Jewish destination wedding adventure and laughing out loud. Her story will show you how any bride can take wedding disasters and turn them into wedded bliss. Lemons into lemonade. Grapes into Manischewitz. We’ll be hearing more from Rachel as a regular contributor to The Wedding Yentas.
To see Part I of Rachel’s feature of Tales from the Veil, click here.
Needing the perfect wedding dress with only three weeks to go before a wedding? Yes, you-know-what hit the fan.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I had one weekend to find a dress. One.
Friday after work, I went to David’s Bridal and found a lovely dress that fit, was fantastically cheap, didn’t make my heart sing, but became The Back Up Dress. It was good enough. I told myself that if I hadn’t found the “right” dress by the next day, Saturday at 5 o’clock, the David’s Bridal dress was going to be The Dress. And it would be, you know, fine.
So Saturday morning I realized I had to give up on the budget. Entirely. I made an appointment at Here Comes The Bride in San Diego. I brought a girlfriend with me and the two of us grabbed couture dresses off the hangers and simply ignored the price tags. It’s like they didn’t even exist. Moral of the story #3: There is a reason that some dresses are $500 and some are $5,000. The price is usually determined by the name on the tag, but you get what you pay for, too.
These dresses with essentially non-existent price tags were phenomenal. So without a budget, I tried on a dress and really liked it. I liked it more than the David’s Bridal dress. That felt successful already! Baby steps to The One.
Then I tried on dress #2. Instantly I felt a glow and my cheeks flushed. I smiled so hard I could not contain myself. Looking in the mirror, the dress took my breath away. Price tag? What price tag? I literally had no breath. That’s got to be priceless, right?
I walked out of the fitting room and my girlfriend gasped. She just kept nodding her head and saying, “Yes, Rachel. Yes.”
I jumped up on the pedestal in the front of the store with the 180 degree mirrors, and I didn’t even notice the other wedding party behind me until I heard a “Oh yeah, honey” and “Giiirl, that dress is gorgeous.” Approval from total strangers? That had to count for something! The dress had stolen the show! It was The One! My fairytale moment had arrived! More exclamation marks!
Then I finally looked at the price tag.
It was almost six times the budget before alterations. I didn’t know what to do. I went back to the dressing room for a personal phone call. My own personal 911 who always picked up the phone for my life’s conundrums: my dad, the most important (non-fiance) man in my life. As I stood in the dressing room wearing this gorgeous bright white dress with a little bit of beading in all the right places and the Swarovski crystal buttons all down the back, I said, “Daddy, it’s perfect. But it’s expensive.”
Now you may think I’m the luckiest girl in the world because my dad’s answer went a little something like “Whatever makes you happy, Princess,” but I knew that with a budget cap where Tim and I could keep every dollar we didn’t spend, I wasn’t about to cost him any more. By spending more on the dress, I’d have to cut the cost of something else in our budget. This was a painful problem for me.
What I didn’t know then was that the photographer we would hire in Hawaii for our elopement would charge exponentially less than the super expensive, fancy photographer in San Jose we originally hired. Financially, it all worked out. Eloping definitely had its perks.
My dress was expensive, yes. The dollar amount simply does not matter (plus I’ve sworn my parents and husband to secrecy for fear of social rejection from my friends who might think I’m crazy). Here’s the thing. All brides have a different budget, different parents, a different fiancée, and a different type of wedding.
For some brides, a dress more than $200 is crazy, and for some (thank you TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress) $8,000 is more of a starting point, if you will.
So for me, it was six times my budget and ended up being 20% of the entire cost of the wedding, but after it was all said and done, we still came 40% under the budget cap due to a last-minute small destination wedding, and we had a nice little nest egg for ourselves.
I am convinced everything happens for a reason.
And if you don’t believe me, then let me go ahead and finish this story.
I bought the dress on Saturday morning, just under three weeks before we got married. I narrowly dodged my 5 o’clock deadline that would have put me in a dress that I did not love. Because the dress I chose to buy was couture, it would take the standard eight months to create and ship. My only option was to buy the sample dress I tried on in the store. However, the dress was a part of the designer’s new line, which had come out only two weeks before I found it, so the store could not discount it. The most they could do for me was dry clean it, but at least I fit in it perfectly. So I paid full price, expecting to pick it up a week later, cleaned, and ready to travel to Hawaii.
Imagine my surprise when I got a call Sunday morning from the store.
The saleswoman was so excited about our elopement and my wedding story that she had called the designer’s warehouse in New York. Miracle of miracles, they had a dress, recently completed for a bride who had changed her mind (sound familiar?). The warehouse shipped the dress overnight to San Diego on Monday, and by Wednesday night I was back at the store, doing my first alteration on a brand new, never-worn, gorgeous dress!
Three alteration sessions and two weeks later, I was carrying a huge garment bag onto the plane for our flight over the Pacific Ocean, on my way to becoming Mrs.Kitt.
And as the fairytales go, we, Tim, The Dress, and I, lived happily ever after.