Monday, August 31, 2009

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING: RIDICULOUSNESS VS. GRACIOUSNESS (PART III)



This is the moment.

This is the moment I remembered so vividly before the wedding ceremony, when I realized that everyone in attendance would finally get to see "the dress".

Maybe it wasn't such a big deal to everyone else, but it was a big deal to me. After months and months of searching, I finally found "the one". While it took me 3 return visits to commit (as "the one" was a little over budget), I knew that my Oscar de la Renta ballroom gown was one of the most important elements of the wedding planning.

And, right before I walked down the aisle with my father, this was the scene. This was the moment. And I was so excited to see TallGuy down that aisle, and walk proudly down the aisle to "the one" IN "the one".

Therefore, I UNDERSTAND how stressful finding a dress really can be. All I can say it this; no matter how you get there, you'll get there. I definitely had not-so-positive bridal gown shopping experiences (at places about which I had heard nothing but amazing things).

But - you will get there. You will get to that moment. And when you walk down the aisle, you will be in "the one" which is "your one". I can promise you that.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING: RIDICULOUSNESS VS. GRACIOUSNESS (PART II)

My future sister-in-law (I'll call her BroadwayGal (for her love of Broadway shows)), my mom, and I went to Saks a few Saturdays ago, as BroadwayGal wanted to show us an amazing Vera Wang dress that she had seen at the store on her first visit.

BroadwayGal had told me that her first visit to Saks was not the most positive. In fact, the saleslady (who I call, instead of "Cruella deVille" - "Cruella de Saks") was rather rude, and questioned BroadwayGal as to why, in heavens, she had not looked at bridal magazines and clipped photographs of dresses for her visit to the store.

BroadwayGal's reaction (and I'm paraphrasing here)? "Why should I be questioned about how much "research" I've done? Why can't someone just be happy to help me and work with me, based on what I've seen or not seen?"

I don't think any bride should be made to feel as if she hasn't done her "homework" when it comes to looking at dresses. I know that I was NOT looking for a ballgown dress. Yet, I ended up buying one--regardless of the fact that I was looking for an empire waisted dress!

So, not everything is as it seems when it comes to dresses and trying them on. AND, even more so, not everything is as it seems when it comes to professional and well-thought of bridal boutiques.

It seems that things could only get worse with Cruella. See below for a list of the faux pas-ness which was going on that day:

1. First, Cruella de Saks did not offer to have my mom and I sit down, while BroadwayGal was in the dressing room trying on the Vera Wang, and a few others that she wanted to show us. Cruella, after realizing we were standing for several minutes, made a half hearted attempt to find us a chair. That lasted about 5 seconds, but then she went to attend to something (or someone) else.

The "someone else" is #3 of this list, below. After about 15-20 minutes of my mom and I getting tired of standing, especially after my mom noticed an empty dressing room -- with chairs -- adjacent to the dressing room BroadwayGal was in -- my mom made the unfortunate mistake of going into the dressing room and sitting in a chair.

Cruella came dashing over (from where, who knows, since she was supposed to be attending to BroadwayGal), and basically chastised my mother for going into a room "of someone who has an appointment". The mystery woman with the appointment, shockingly, never showed up while we were there. We were absolutely amazed that Cruella had the audacity to throw us out of a dressing room that no one was in - at least for the time being - or even offer us 1 measly chair from said room! My mom and I would have shared!

Now, listen. I am NOT a high maintenance girl. I'm really not. And my mother is not a high maintenance woman. Having said that, I don't think it's unreasonable for a salesperson who is SUPPOSED TO BE doting on someone you care about- and who may spend thousands of dollars with that person - to offer basic seating - especially to a 65 year old woman.

I ended up sitting on the floor. No joke.

2. Cruella de Saks may also have been David Blaine in a woman's body- as she was really good at disappearing into the back room. BroadwayGal was inside the dressing room, struggling to get into certain of the dresses (those clips can be a bitch!), and Cruella was no where to be found. Was she watching Beverly Hills 90210? Performing some mystical ritual in the back? Playing tennis? We weren't really sure, but what we WERE sure of is that there was absolutely no attention paid to us whatsoever.

3. When Cruella DID emerge, she made the unfortunate mistake of showing us JUST how uninterested she was with being a part of BroadwayGal's experience. A mother/daughter team, which definitely did not have an appointment, showed up at Saks bridal in order to buy a veil. They were obviously well heeled, well monied, and well prepared to make a purchase - and Cruella made sure that they had a seat in the dressing room area, and were attended to by Cruella herself.

THE NERVE!

Not to be ignored or mistreated, and certainly not to have my future sister-in-law ignored or mistreated, I was "this" close to saying something.

But then I had a better plan.

After the dress appointment ended, and BroadwayGal showed us the Vera Wang she loved (which we loved too), I suggested that she call Joan from Bergdorf's, and see if Joan could order the very same dress to her store. That way, BroadwayGal could work with someone professional, poised, elegant, and EFFECTIVE - instead of giving Cruella the satisfaction of a commission which she did not earn.

BroadwayGal called Joan up, and that was that. While BroadwayGal didn't end up with the Vera Wang dress (and instead chose an even more beautiful option!), we all learned a lesson that day about the varying levels of customer service that come with wedding dress shopping.

All wedding dress stores are not created equal - and those which you think may be wonderful could, in fact, turn out to be the very opposite (and vice versa).

It's amazing how competitive and tough this industry can be. It may test even the most gracious and patient bride-to-be. But if you can get through experiences like these with a smile on your face (even while gritting your teeth!), you'll be all the more prepared for the next hurdle.

Stay tuned!