Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shopping For A Wedding Gown

Fifty-one years ago about now I was running in and out of stores in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri frantically trying to find a wedding dress. Even though I grew up loving the Cinderella story, I knew there was not going to be a perfect wedding nor fancy bridal gown for me. Number one, that wasn't what I wanted. Number two, no Fairy Godmother. Number three, I was paying for everything myself on my $40 a week salary.

Therefore, I wasn't looking for a wedding gown like this. My only criteria were: white, at least slightly dressy, and inexpensive. As for why I was shopping in St. Joe instead of Omaha or Des Moines, I think it was because my bridesmaid who was helping me hunt was originally from the area and familiar with stores in St. Joe. She was sure I would find something there.

I think a dress like this is more what I had in mind. Although I had always been a romantic dreamer, when it came to buying clothes I was much more practical. I wanted something I might possibly wear more than once. As the day wore on, it began to look like I wasn't going to find a dress. Then, on a clearance rack in one of the department stores, I found a sleeveless white chiffon cocktail dress with a champagne lace insert around the waist. It could work. I tried it on. It fit. And the best part? It was only $11.00. I think I paid more  for the brocade flats I bought to wear with it. ($15.00 if I remember correctly.)

My attendants' dresses were a light gold sateen. Mom made Betty's dress and I think Aunt Lois made Marilyn's. And here is the wedding party. Left to right: Bridesmaid, cousin's wife and good friend, Marilyn Carson Mitchell; Maid of Honor, my sister, Betty (what was she so happy about?); me in my not very Cinderellish dress; Kenny; Rev. Howard Wells; Best Man, Kenny's brother, Gary Botkin; and Groomsman, my cousin, Gary Mitchell. Gary and Marilyn and Kenny and I were always together those early years of the 60's. (Even swiping watermelons one night - the only time in my life I ever did that.)

The hunt for a wedding dress when Denny and I were married was not nearly as memorable. I was living in Cedar Rapids at the time and had the downtown stores and Lindale Mall stores to shop in. Also, I didn't have any preconceived notions about what I was looking for other than it be something I could wear more than once. When I found this long sleeved, high necked, lace trimmed, slightly Victorian looking dress in a pale lemon crepe, I knew it was the one. Did I mention it was 1968 and mini-skirts were in style?
I was the only 'related by marriage' person in our wedding party. Denny's sister, Pat Rose, was my attendant, his brother, Richard Fleming was his and his other brother, Rev. Charles Fleming performed the ceremony.

When Bud and I got married twenty-seven years ago on the 19th of this month, I wore a skirt and blouse I already had. The only new item I bought was a woolen Irish stole. Still practical. Still not Cinderella. Still not spending hundreds of dollars for a gown I would only wear once.

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