Monday, June 7, 2010

Very Superstitious

Working with wedding gowns, it does not surprise me the superstitions surrounding THE DRESS. I mean, after all, the dress symbolizes the start of a new journey, and everyone has wishes that this phase of their life will be fulfilling and joyous, right? So if members of a sports team will all get mohawks to ensure a big victory and my husband will wear his lucky underwear to a big presentation, doesn't it make sense that we might see this kind of behavior at the bridal salon?

Everyone has heard that it is bad luck to see the bride in her dress before the wedding. Mothers will commonly admonish their daughters as they take pictures of the dress they are purchasing, "Don't you dare let your fiance see these pictures!" But did you know that this widely-held superstition is really just a culturally specific practice? In Jewish tradition, the bride and groom would see each other before the ceremony for a "veiling". In some Asian cultures, it is common for the fiance to shop with the bride and select and pay for her gown.

The most common superstition at my store is the "it's a sign!" superstition. People are always expressing their belief that a higher power, or fate, is telling them which dress to wear. For example, I'll have a bride on a pedestal in a dress she loves. She is gazing adoringly at herself in the mirror when all of a sudden she will realize that our sound system is playing the song she and her fiance are going to use for their first dance. Yes! This is it! It's a sign! This dress is the one! Now I am no expert in the existence of a higher power, or his/her interest in women's fashion, but I will tell you that I will NEVER mention to this bride that our sound system is stocked with music commonly played at ceremonies, first dances, father daughter dances, cake cuttings, etc. My boss is no dummy!

Then there's the name game. If you have been reading my posts, then you already know that many designers are giving their dresses names instead of style numbers. Another smooth marketing trick! How many times have I had a girl named Becky tell me she just had to try on Maggie Sottero's "Rebecca" and then end up buying it, all because they both share the same name? Are these girls under the illusion that the dress was made for them and that's why it has their name on it? And the marketing people at Maggie are no dummies either, because they keep naming dresses after the common names of the day, yet there is a distinct lack of "Mavis", "Bertha" and "Hortense".

Then there was the bride who had been searching forever for the right gown. I can only assume that in her mind she felt like she needed to try something different, because what she was doing was not working. So what did she try? She decided to stop shaving. Okay. A little strange, but certainly doesn't bother me in any way. But I'm not sure of what connection she felt like her grooming had with the lack of ability to find the right dress. She did buy a beautiful gown with me that was "the one", and as she stood in her strapless gown with just a hint of fuzz peeking out from her armpits, she said, "It has to be the one if I can still feel beautiful." So maybe there was some wisdom to her method after all.

And for my final story. I had a bride arrive for her appointment who had been all over searching for a gown (are you seeing the trend here of brides held hostage by superstitions?). We had a wonderful appointment and she looked beautiful in a number of gowns. There were several she really liked, but I noticed that she was quite deliberate in the way she examined each dress she considered. That is, most brides will put on a gown and spend most of the time looking at themselves in it in the mirror. In her case, if she liked a dress, she would spend quite a bit of time examining the lace or appliques quite closely while her lips moved silently. Maybe she's seamstress, I thought, and she's examining the quality. Either way, dress after dress was nixed for reasons I did not understand, until we came to a dress she clearly loved. Her face lit up as she wore it, and it looked as though it was made for her. But as she began her close inspection of the gown, she announced that it wasn't the one; she looked crestfallen. I didn't understand, and asked her why she wouldn't get the dress she clearly loved. She pointed to a tiny embroidered flower on the bodice, just one of many embroidered and beaded flowers of varying shapes and sizes throughout the gown. "It has six petals," she said, "I need a dress with flowers on it, but all the flowers need to have an odd number of petals." She must have seen my confusion, for she continued to explain, "You know, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not..."

I was able to save the day by getting her the dress she loved, and having the offending flower applique trimmed down to a five petal variety. And as soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going to get my wedding gown out of its acid-free packing and examine it closely, as I hadn't thought to before, to make sure my husband and I have a future together.

Wish me luck!


Kim said...

That is some crazy stuff. I must admit, I'm still cringing a little from the fuzzy armpits. And that was really interesting stuff about the marketing involved in selling wedding dresses!

Madison said...

This is your funniest post yet. I just love the line "I am no expert in the existence of a higher power, or his/her interest in women's fashion." I laughed out loud. My dress had a lot of beading and on my wedding day I noticed what appeared to be a beaded starfish. How d you think that figures into the potential success of my nuptials?

purplume said...

I love this post, especially the ending story.

How beautiful and how sensitive and wise of you.