As promised, Kim & I want to “lift the veil” a little (pun TOTALLY intended), and share with y’all more about the real “behind the scenes” miracles that continued to unfold as we began to plan & prepare for saying “I DO.”
For every bride, one of the most exciting items to prepare for & “check off” our “wedding to do” list is finding the PERFECT wedding dress. At almost 31, I’d been a bridesmaid over 5 times, but NEVER a bride. I had been near addicted to all the TLC shows dedicated to weddings and bridal dress shopping since I was 15 and got cable for the first time!
I’d heard from many friends shouts of joy when finding the perfect dress for them, and even some horror stories of how many countless stores, dresses and fittings they’d attended to find a dress they could FEEL and LOOK their best in.
Before Kim & I even decided to officially get married when he was here in the States, I had already made an appointment for a David’s Bridal in Upstate New York. Even though I didn’t know WHEN I’d get married, I knew it was NO coincidence but a beautiful gift from God, that in the season before I would be wed, I was gifted the privilege of being around two women that helped shaped me & mentor me into the woman I am today…my tenacious & strong, 91 year old Grandma Grace & my vivacious, hilarious & honest Godmother, my Aunt Shirley.
Separate from my mom being there herself, I KNEW if there were any two people in this world who would help me find the PERFECT dress, it would be these two. Not only are they incredibly HONEST New York women, but…they also have been two of the closest women to me – especially as I navigated life as a struggling, uncomfortable, unsatisfied, obese child & teenager, to a strong, confident & fierce woman.
This was a day back in my “larger days” I used to be fearful of. Any woman who’s struggled with her body weight & self-confidence, I am sure can relate. I have so many memories of being in dressing rooms, crying in my mom’s arms, after yet another failed attempt to find anything that would fit me or I could feel beautiful in.
So what about THEE dress? Would I find anything that could EMBRACE this fully transformed woman I’d become? Would it show off all the HARD soul & body work I’d put in? Would it REFLECT an image of a woman who FINALLY found herself beautiful – inside and out? And heck – would it also remain in my BUDGET?!
There was only ONE way to find out – in the words of NIKE – Just. Do. It.
So, on November 11 of this past year, my grandma & I got in the car and met my Aunt Shirley at David’s Bridal. I went in with no expectations to actually walk out with a dress – I was just looking forward to enjoying this special moment with these two ladies.
From the moment we walked in, I can honestly say – I felt MAGIC in the air. Every single person on staff, made us all feel so welcomed, celebrated & at ease (especially my bridal consultant DONNA! I adore you girl!)
In the beginning, I felt a little overwhelmed. I am sure EVERY bride can FEEL me there. Not only where there SO many dresses, with difference styles, cuts, textures, price tags, sizes…but I ALSO wasn’t used to having all this attention on ME.
I am a very easy going girl, who typically goes with the flow, and doesn’t always have strong opinions on simple things – like to me, FASHION. But it was time for me to stretch & grow and realize – this WAS a big thing. This was the DRESS for MY wedding. Time to be decisive!
I took a risk, and asked to find any dresses that would help me embrace my fins, errr I mean figure, and went for a some MERMAID dresses! (These were the type I always seemed to SWOON over when I would binge watch “Say YES To The Dress!”)
Dress after dress. I couldn’t believe it. They all seemed to fit…like my man…like a GLOVE. I was so used to “having to” deal with whatever dress kinda worked – and yet, with the over FIVE I put on in the shop – I loved them all! This was SO new to me.
Finally though, the ONE was revealed….the one that brought TEARS to our eyes when I stepped out of the room. I still will never forget my grandma and my Aunt Shirley’s look that day. It was MAGICAL to see myself in their eyes. Even my mom through FaceTime got to share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After only about an hour in the store, I had found MY dress!!!!
- Fit me like a GLOVE! It needed NO alterations!
- Was in my budget!
- Made me feel like a Queen!
- Got my Gram & Auntie’s approval!
Just before I took the dress off to pack up & bring to the register, I was bestowed with the time-honored tradition of “ringing the bell” and making a WISH!
I’m ecstatic to say – my time constrained wish came TRUE – and EARLY! I had wished for a certain something to happen by my wedding day – and God gave it to me a week early!
Now that I had the dress, I could focus on more IMPORTANT things…like…the spiritual direction of our marriage and how we would focus and grow in the following weeks.
I began to pray about the “WHO” that would perform our ceremony in San Diego. I quickly came to the decision in my heart that the best man for the job was my Pastor Armando who came to be a significant spiritual mentor in my life in the past few months of living in Imperial Beach.
I reached out to him shortly after getting my dress, and after a SWIFT “YES”, he began sharing with me the importance he felt in his spirit to not just MARRY Kim & I on January 5…but getting us to the end of a 50-60 year happy marriage together.
In order to do this, he wanted to help lay us a strong & solid foundation through guiding us through pre-maritial counseling.
To fully share how we managed to do that over 3 time zones & the incredibly life-changing book that guided us through it all (And continues to bring us incredible wisdom to this day), THAT I will leave for the NEXT POST!
Thank you for saying “YES” to us and continuing to follow our story!