Almost seven years ago I stepped into Betsy Robinsons Bridal Collection for the very first time. I was armed with a bridal notebook, a bestie, and an idea. Well, a loose idea anyway, of my wedding dress.
The first time I came to Betsys I came as a bride. I visited the salon twice before making my final decision, and I had such a great time that I came back to look at bridesmaid dresses. My experience overall was so good that I wanted to be a part of the place. I applied for a front desk position and fast-forward about six years, and here I am, experienced at just about every aspect of how the store operates.
Full disclosure, I still dont know how a bustle works. Shhh.
What It's Like to do the Shopping
With all my time and experience here it can be easy to forget what things are like for a bride. Its even easier to forget what things are like for the bridal entourage. Just what is it like to sit around that pedestal and help someone you love pick a dress?
Turns out, its hard. Hats off to all the groups that come through here daily and do it. There's pressure and emotion. I got to experience all of that first hand as my oldest sister, Stephanie, said yes to her dress.
I really shouldnt have been nervous heading into the appointment, but I was. I wasnt the consultant. There was no work to be put in on my part. We put ourselves in the hands of Kim, and she did not let us down. I knew this would happen, but still, as the elevator doors opened onto the golden-etched glass doors of the salon, I got a little flutter.
Would she find a dress she liked? Would she have fun?
Stephanie is a very indecisive person, and years of shopping with her as a teenager left me a little leery. Would this be another time that I watched her try on so many things that I felt myself slowly melt into the carpet?
I also knew that she wouldnt necessarily be jumping up and down or crying tears of joy. That's just not Stephanie. Any reaction that a dress would elicit would most likely be subdued, and it can be hard to work off of minimal feedback.
About ten minutes into the appointment I wasnt even sure if Stephanie could decide what dresses she wanted to try on let alone which one she wanted to buy. But then I got to watch as friend-Kim morphed into consultant-Kim. She knew exactly what to do, and it turns out, Stephanie did too. She knew a surprising amount about what she liked and didnt like, and she was able to articulate it.
When Stephanie came out in each dress I was conscious of not influencing her decision. I didnt want to pick the dress for her, but I also wanted to make sure she chose something she would be happy with later.
I must say, our little group, was a good group. We offered nothing but compliments for each dress. Even the ones that werent the one were still pretty. The second or third dress that she came out and showed us was a pretty clear favorite, but still she stood in front of the mirror for a while perplexed. This is the Stephanie I am used to. The hem and haw-er. Hmmmmmm.
Saying Yes to the Dress
So she tried on some different ones before coming back to the favorite. We all loved it. We all thought it was the one she should get, but would she say the magic word? Kim put a veil on her head and a bouquet of artificial flowers in her hands and that was that. We asked, and she answered.
Still a small part of me worried that we had influenced her, and that we had convinced her she would be more comfortable in the one she had chosen.
But then she smiled. Like a real smile. Not a polite smile or a nervous smile. She smiled a real deep down smile. She looked like a bride, and she smiled just like one. Then I thought, shoot, I might be the one who cries at this thing.
And so Stephanie had her bridal moment, and I had a moment, too.