Cheap and lovely

Never in my life have I visited a bridal shop. My first wedding dress I made myself and had family members embroider sections. It was a hippy dress, a kaftan with a Peruvian motif which was all the rage in 1980. My second wedding dress was an a regular summer dress I already had. Sita’s wedding dress we bought in Beirut when we vacationed there with the girls in the spring of 2010. We walked by a boutique off Hamra street and saw this exquisite dress made from cloth found in Central Asia. It was love at first sight. We walked around the block one time to take some distance, as the price was rather steep, but came back and Sita tried it on. We bought it right there and then. This was 6 months before her wedding. Problem solved.

But with Tessa, our one and only fashionista in the family, things were bound to be different. She researches things such as clothes, especially a piece of clothing as symbolically important as a wedding dress. She signed herself up for a wedding gown trunk sale at a small wedding dress boutique in upscale Beacon Hill in Boston and the invited her mom and sister to accompany her. A trunk sale, I later learned, is somewhat like a chain letter: you get the trunk, invite people to try out the dressed that are packed in the trunk, try to sell some and then pack everything up and send the trunk to the next wedding gown place.

And so we headed towards Boston in the snow. The bridal boutique is located on the top floor of an old brownstone, with industrial size roof windows and everything painted white. The snow outside, looking over one of Beacon Hill’s main streets complemented the indoor white nicely. The saleslady, understanding my concerns when I saw the three racks with fancy dresses, told me which racks were 2000 dollars and under (I don’t think there was anything under) and the rack where prices ran as high as 7000 dollars.

Tessa tried on about 8 dresses and modeled them to us as if she was a professional model. Sita and I accessorized her with various hair pieces we found in the display cases. I noticed one tiny little bejeweled hair comb for 250 dollars and hoped that Tessa would not be impulsive.

Of course she wasn’t. After the selection of dresses we liked was reduced to four we received the price list. Our favorite was 3000 and the other three were 2000. It’s funny how your perspective changes when you know dresses can be up to 7000 dollars. Suddenly the 2000 dollar dresses seemed like a bargain. Tessa now has a focus for her bargain hunting on the internet, something she is very good at. I don’t think we’ll be spending 2000 dollars on a wedding dress.

We said our goodbyes and told the sales lady we would think about the dresses, had a cup of coffee and then lunch at Life Alive in Cambridge, a very creative vegan restaurant that catered to all our wishes. It was a lovely girls outing and I feel so very blessed with these two remarkable women who entered our lives 29 and 34 years ago.

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