It all started with an idea from Tom.
I had no idea he had been contacting friends and family about renewing our vows even before he left for Korea.
I only happened to find out when I was in New York with Jennifer and saw an e-mail he had written saying that he hoped she would be able to attend our vow renewal.
Still, it was okay. In fact, it worked out that I discovered his secret. It meant I could shop for a wedding dress. I had never shopped for a wedding dress before. When we were married ten years ago I wore black because it was the only dress that would fit over my seven months pregnant belly.
Purchasing a wedding dress was a new experience for me. I did it with my mother, who was thrilled that she’d finally be a mother of the bride. She wasn’t at my first wedding. We went to a wedding dress boutique that ended up having dresses that started at $5000. Since neither of us poop money, we almost left.
Until the saleslady said the magic words…
I had no qualms with the clearance rack. Especially when the dresses were just like the $5000 ones—only marked way down.
The saleslady asked what style I wanted and I thought back to the show Say Yes To The Dress. What was that style called? The one where the dress hugged your figure? I chewed my lower lip. I should be more prepared! I was positive most brides marched into the store armed with a huge folder about the wedding she envisioned—something she had started working on since she was 5.
I was never like this.
I never pictured my wedding.
“Mermaid!” I shouted and I instantly pictured Ariel. “I like the mermaid style. And the ball gown style. The only thing is, I don’t think I could do strapless. Because I have no boobs.” I even gestured to my chest area in case the woman forgot where boobs sit.
The saleslady flinched a little. I don’t think many brides use the word “boobs” in the store.
“If you get the dress tailored to you, the dress will be fine,” the saleslady assured me. She was a perky young thing. She probably had a wedding folder.
I tried on about five dresses. It was awkward coming out and having a stranger clip the back of your gown. I kept thinking, “I should have worn prettier panties.” Then I had to step on a podium in front of a mirror.
Two dresses stood out to me. The one that I ended up with and another one with lots of sparkles. Ball gown style. I wish I had a picture but unfortunately cameras were not allowed in the store. The ball gown style dress was also heavy, thanks to the sparkles. I feel for the women who play Disney Princesses at Disney.
“What should I get?” I asked my mom.
“What do you like?” she replied.
I liked both dresses! If only I were a Kardashian—then I could wear them both.
“I don’t know,” I wailed. “Help me, saleslady!”
I didn’t say that last part. It would have frightened her. She stood off to the side, waiting patiently to unclip me.
I went with the lighter dress. Not as many sparkles but still pretty. Plus, it made me look thinner than I actually was without the power of Spanx.
I had the dress alternated so the top wouldn’t come down and expose my small boobs by a tiny Chinese woman who kept saying, “Oooo. You getting married?” to the point where I was thinking, “Is she taking one look at me and wondering how someone like me could land a man?” Also, I wanted to be sarcastic and go, “No, I’m not getting married. I just bought the dress for fun for a night out in the town.”
Here’s the issue with having the dress alternated 3 months before the wedding though: it meant I couldn’t gain weight or else it wouldn’t zip OR button up. This is why I made sure to work out at the gym. And, you know, watch what I ate. Sort of.
Before I knew it, December rolled around and it was time to go to Branson, Missouri. I’m going to point out now that Tom arranged everything for the vow renewal. He had it planned for the Titanic museum all along because he remembered how much I wanted to go there.
On the day of December 10th, I went to have my hair and makeup done because I’m clueless on how to do either. Thank goodness Jennifer was there. She speaks hair because she went to hair school so she was able to tell the stylist what I wanted. If she wasn’t there I’d have gestured to the top of my head and would have said, “I’d just like my hair…um…up there...on my head…um…area..”
Naturally, getting my hair up took awhile because my hair is so thick. And naturally, the stylist said, “You have a lot of hair!” I don’t think I’ve ever had my hair done and had the stylist NOT say that. I almost want to say as I’m sitting down, “I know I have a lot of hair.” But then I worry the stylist won’t speak sarcasm and might “accidentally” cut a chunk of hair off the back of my head, post a picture on Facebook with the words, “This is what happens when you mess with a beautician,” and she’ll get like a thousand likes with people commenting, “Man, customers have gotten so RUDE these days!”
This is me getting my hair done:
At 130 Jennifer came over and was like, “Are you almost done? We have to be at the renewal at 3.”
I mean, we all had to get ready!
I didn’t have my dress on!
My hair wasn’t even UP yet!
I think we ended up leaving at 2 and by then Tom texted me and was like, “Where are you?” I said we were on our way back and he was like, “You might want to hurry. It starts at 3.”
My palms went sweaty. What if I was late to my own vow renewal? I hate being late! I can’t believe it when brides are late on Four Weddings. It seems rude to keep people waiting.
What if I couldn’t get my dress zipped up?
WHAT IF I COULDN’T GET MY DRESS ZIPPED UP?
By the time we made it to the hotel, it was close to 230. Mom helped me into my dress and it was the moment of truth. Would it zip?
It didn’t, near the top.
I’m not kidding.
“We’re having issues,” Mom mumbled.
ISSUES? That’s a polite way of saying, “YOU SHOULD HAVE LAID OFF THE LITTLE DEBBIES!”
I sucked in my gut.
Would I have to renew my vows with a pin keeping my dress closed?
How unattractive would that be? And my hair was UP so it couldn’t even cover the pin with it. Maybe I could stick a flower back there and be like, “Oh this? It’s ALL the rage in France..”
Mindy helped Mom figure out. It turns out I wasn’t fat; it was some clasp thingy back there. Phew. (Or maybe they just told me that to be polite..)
Before I knew it, I was ready to go. I had the flowers Tom’s Mom made for me. She’s incredibly crafty. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. I try, bless my heart, but I usually make disasters.
Tom’s Mom brought Natalie in and she took one look at me and said I looked like a princess and that she wanted my dress. (Natalie, not Tom’s Mom.) Seriously. She WANTED my dress.
Doesn’t she look like she’s thinking, “I’m totally taking this dress?”
We were able to take some quick pictures before we left:
(Oh, this was my Mom putting on earrings borrowed from my Nana Jo. My ears aren’t pierced. She sort of jammed them in and—I’m kidding—clip ons.)
Then it was time to meet my husband, who was no doubt panicking because it was 251. He’s big on getting places fifteen minutes early (it’s the military drilled into him) so I can picture him pacing the Titanic museum going, “Confoundit, where IS she?” (Maybe minus the confoundit part. This isn’t the 1800s.)
This is me walking towards the van that would take me to the museum..
And this is me, seconds before I saw Tom…and before he saw me in the wedding dress for the first time…
Part 2 to come Monday.
(Please don’t hate me)
(Fine. Hate me. But here, have a cookie.)
(It’s CHOCOLATE CHIP!)