Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Dress

Yesterday, I was presented with 2 boxes at my front door that my dad had sent from Hawaii over a month ago (yes, there really is a Slow Boat). I knew exactly what was in one of them...my wedding dress. Taking it out and unzipping that white garment bag brought back some good memories...I don't think I've ever shared my hilarious nightmare of a wedding dress story, so here you go:

A week before our wedding day, Ryan asked me what I planned on wearing on the big day. We were getting married in the Hawaii LDS temple, and really hadn't told the whole world about it. The thought had popped in and out of my mind for months and I'd decided that if I didn't feel the urge to go out and spend money I didn't have, I would just wear a nice long, fitted, white stretchy-satiny dress my aunt had made me to dance a hula in 10 years prior. The dress was in a box, and I thought I'd have it cleaned before the wedding, but that was nothing to stress about.

When I pulled the dress out, it was pretty yellow. My mom offered to alter it a bit since I had lost some weight. She came over that Thursday night (I was living with my dad) and stayed up till 4am Friday sewing and pinning and fixing. Our big day was on Saturday, so as I went to run some errands, Mom dropped the dress off at the only cleaners on the island I could find that would do a one-day "wedding dress" cleaning. I was to pick the dress up at 4pm, just in time for my big day the next day.
At 2pm I received a call from the cleaners: "Uh, your dress is ready for pick up."
"Wow, that was fast, thanks," I said.
"There is one problem."
"Well, the dress, it kind of shrunk when we cleaned it."
"What?" Blood rushed to my face.
"You better come down here and see."

Ryan and I rushed down there. I was so nervous and mad, I didn't want to go inside, but Ryan said he'd talk to them for me. The girl at the front desk said they do wedding dresses all the time, but they'd never seen a material like this before. It had no tag of care instructions--duh, it was handmade--and they decided to wet clean it instead of dry clean it. Yeah.

So I asked for the manager/owner. He was so un-apologetic about the whole thing. "There's nothing we can do. There's nothing we can do."

I told him, "You are professional cleaners, even I would know to do a spot test before dunking the whole dress in solution!" I raised my voice, I cried, I even threatened to get a local news channel that has a segment on bad consumerism to pay them a visit. I remember Ryan stepping a little bit away from me at that point. After the threat, and my tears, the owner said he would pay me for it. "Do you realize I need a dress tomorrow? Where can I find one in 4 hours before all the stores close?"

The owner said, "Well, I'll give you $50 bucks and you can go across the street to Goodwill or something," as he opened the cash register. I was so T.O.'d, I started crying and ranting again, and the owner finally showed some sympathy. "Okay, I'll give you more than $50, and we're sorry." I calmed down and asked if I could see the dress, and he kind of smirked trying to keep from laughing. The girl brought it out, and when I saw it, I couldn't keep from laughing.

It was about 2 feet tall. It looked like a dress for a dwarf, it was perfectly proportioned, and...clean and white. He gave me a check, and I walked out, looking towards Goodwill across Kam Hwy. In 24 hours, my I-don't-care-about-the-dress attitude had become a crisis. I guess b/c my mom had spent so much time on it...and I was getting married in the morning!
Ryan was soooo helpful. He suggested a few stores, and that I call my friend, Moana, to come and help us. By this time, it was 5pm, and I was about to say forget it and wear one of those white dresses they have at the temple for the sealing, and just a fitted muumuu for afterwards. I did look in Goodwill, just for the record. Nothing.

We went to 2 or 3 different malls...department stores, boutiques, in and out as fast as we could...inching towards 9pm when they would all close. My feet never felt so heavy, and Ryan was going to be late for his bachelor party at someone's house. I was ready to go home. Moana and Ryan encouraged me to look at just one more place. It was 8:55pm and the lady inside this last store mentioned a little wedding dress boutique upstairs. We ran up the stairs and found the cutest little store and a Japanese lady inside so eager to help once we told her our story, despite they were closing in 2 minutes.

They even had a "modest dress" section. I tried on 3 dresses, and the 3rd was perfect. I was so excited. A few days prior, my dress had hardly crossed my mind. Now it was the most important thing (besides my husband) about the wedding. Now, how do we pay for it? Ryan said he'd pay $100, Moana wanted to buy me the matching bolero that went over it, and I think the whole thing only came to $300 something. Luckily, my grandma had sent me money for professional wedding photos. Thank you, Grandma!
So, here are shots of the dress I thankfully ended up wearing on my wedding day...

Lifesaver, Moana:

While I'm showing all these pics, here are some from our honeymoon at Turtle Bay Resort, a whole 5 miles from the temple (but at least 40 minutes from home). The lady at the check in desk must have been Mormon, because when we told her we just got married in the temple, she upgraded us to a honemoon suite for free: (why are all the blinds shut?)
Staying where you are for your honeymoon ain't so bad when you live in Hawaii. The view from our room: we went snorkeling a couple of days, got to eat at our favorite restaurants, and didn't have to ask for directions!

Here is the dress hanging up in our honeymoon suite closet:

On one of our honeymoon days, we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. In the Marquesas Islands village they had the newlywed men come up and do a "boar hunt" dance. Ryan actually danced well with his spear. When I look at this photo, the most profound thought I have is: "What did I do with that cute bag?"

Now that I have the dress back in my possession, what will I do with it? Maybe save it for Kiki.


  1. Wow! What an event! That story is crazy! I'm glad everything worked out for the best. The next time we're up - I will tell you about how someone hit my car while we were at the Temple being sealed. Always some drama to help you remember the day, right? But the dress is BEAUTIFUL and I know exactly why those blinds were shut!!!

  2. Wow Nance... I think i would of reacted the same way you did...What a crazy story! Your dress is beautiful and the shoes too. You are so pretty!

  3. Wow, that story is CLASSIC!!!! LOL!! I am SO glad it worked out for you!! You need to write a book someday you know!! Take care you!!!

  4. Nanc, That is the best story. I had forgotten about it. What it tells me is how important our wants are to Heavenly Father. He truly knew you cared. Your dress is beautiful and it fits you perfectly. I still can not believe how young you look. Love ya!

  5. I love this post Nancey! Especially because it sounds just like me to think that way about something that other women spend their whole lives obsessing over: I did that exact thing with my hair and makeup. All of a sudden, it was the night before and my sisters asked me who was doing my hair and I realized that I hadn't really thought about it. I was just going to do it. :) Apparently, that was a no-no to them, so they set something up with some girl somewhere and it all worked out. Anyway, kudos to you for finding such a gorgeous dress! Look at all those months of looking you saved! :)

  6. I can't believe your stories, Mindy and Andrea! What would such beautiful, deep experiences be without that "reality" tap on the shoulder, huh? If anyone writes a post on something like that, please email it to me!

  7. Holy cow, I loved reading this post. I'm even sad about your hula dress because I remember how gorgeous it was; how did you even make it out of the drycleaner without strangling someone? That is a great story; your wedding dress is amazing and you looked ravishing (still do). The shoes are my very favorite part, though. Tres chic!

  8. Nancey!! I was laughing out loud while reading this. I never knew. I was first laughing about the little person dress and then I didn't think you had it in you to get so angry with someone!! Well you looked beautiful anyway :)
    Miss you

  9. You look so pretty! Both of you look happy and excited. Great pictures.

  10. I can't believe you found a dress that fit perfectly the night before your wedding! That is amazing! And it is really beautiful too.

  11. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  12. Thanks for the comment on my blog.
    Yes, I LOVE Ikea As-is section.
    The little "M" I have is called a "fav icon".
    It's a little detailed to explain, so do a google search for it and there will be websites where you can download something to make one.

    and I'm glad that you're almost done with the carseat cover. Woohoo! At least they have about a year of sitting in that chair so hopefully it'll be done before then :)

  13. moana... what a good friend. i was the same way about my wedding dress, the first one i tried on at davids bridal was the one i bought, just 2 days before the wedding :D

    i was laughing out loud when i read your first dress shrunk to two feet!

  14. I love your blog. Reading your story a few years after you wrote it. And I am laughing. What a nightmare. I'm glad it all worked out for the best. Did you get the small dress back? That would be funny to have your daughter wear now. We got married in UT during a blizzard - what do you expect January 2nd? My sister was driving me to the temple in the morning and the car got stuck in the snow. I was out in my dress pushing the car hoping I would make it to my own wedding on time. Glad we can look back and laugh at these moments that had us in complete tears and frustration.


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