I Do…love a deal.

Back when I was a bride-to-be, my Mom and I decided to stop in at Barney’s one sunny afternoon and try on wedding gowns.    Y’know….just for fun to pass the time. Not because there was actually ever a consideration for one second that I ever would/could WEAR a Vera Wang gown…   But here’s the thing:  putting on that gown (especially when you’ve never worn anything that fancy ever before and even more so if you’re the type of girl who people would consider “dressed up” if you’d just trade your converse in for lipstick once in a while…) wasn’t fun.   It was LIFE ALTERING. (Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic for drama’s sake here, but still.)

I had to have that dress.    I was street size 10 at the time, so the Vera Wang boutique didn’t even have anything that I could properly try on, but when I awkwardly half-wore/ half-held up style #2G155 I knew I couldn’t get married in anything else.   I was going to be that girl.  I immediately started looking into local seamstresses who might be able to re-create the style for me.   I even called that infamous bridal gown copy shop in NY to see if they might be able to help.   And then one day, a little bird (in the form of a close family friend) forwarded me an email she’d just received announcing that the Vera Wang Salon at Barney’s would be CLOSING THE FOLLOWING WEEK.   Turned out they were going to have a sample sale.   A clearance sample sale.    And they were going to sell everything they had in their store at 50%-60% off.   Starting the very next day.

Now, thanks to the great sages Bright, Kauffman, and Crane, I was not totally unprepared for an event of this magnitude.   I’ve seen the episode of Friends where Monica has to beat a bitch down in the middle of Filene’s basement for the gown of her dreams.   And I can be scrappy, too.   So I called Randi and Sara and begged them to meet me at Barney’s that Thursday morning at 7 am.    Since I am lucky enough to have some of the greatest friends on earth, they happily obliged, and so armed with Coffee and Bagels, we sat our butts down on the cold cold concrete of Wilshire Blvd, watching a parade of agents pass by on their way to the office, and we went over THE PLAN.

I had done my reconnaissance.   We were first in line.   (So, step one?  check.)   The doors would open at 10, and they would let us in in the order we had arrived.    Only ten people would be allowed into the bridal Salon at a time (to avoid total destruction of the gowns at the hands of greedy bridezillas, I’d imagine) and you could only try on five dresses at a time.    There was one dress of each style, available in one size only (usually designer size 8, which is apparently street size 4) and when the dress was gone, it was gone.    The dress we were looking for (I explained as I passed out photos of the gown in question) was located towards the back right corner of the salon, about ten in from the wall.    I would beeline for that spot, and R & S would spread out across the two other racks just in case it had been moved since my last visit.   I had called the seamstress that did Sara’s alterations and asked her how close I had to come to fitting in to the gown in order for her to be able to make it work.    Since the two bridesmaids I had brought were both wore smaller sizes than my own, I had a backup “model” in case I needed to gauge the size of the dress on someone else.   I went over all of this and more while two of my best friends humored me, despite the weak coffee and chilly (for LA) temperatures out on the sidewalk at 7am.

It was probably an hour and a half later that the next person in line arrived.   (Apparently Los Angelinos weren’t quite as desperate for a deal as the throngs of East-coasters I’d read about lining up at 4am for Filene’s famed Running of the Brides…or at least, not as willing to break a nail in the name of said deal.)   And by the time 10am rolled around, there were maybe twenty or so of us ready to make a run for the dress of our dreams – all with our defensive lines in tow.   One particularly skinny bitch mentioned she had flown down from San Francisco for the event, just moments before the Barney’s staff finally opened their doors and let the lunacy descend on them.

There was no single file line.   There was no courtesy for those who arrived before you.   The doors opened, and it was like they’d yanked the gates at the Kentucky Derby.   Crazy, over-caffinated bridezillas galloping towards the winners circle with visions of tulle and taffeta dancing through their wedding-addled minds.   Little Miss San Francisco was the most shameless of all, as she opened up the full capacity of her runners legs, attempting to pass by me (already a wheezing, sweating, frizzy mess) on our way up the enormous winding staircase that serves as a centerpiece for the store.   Lucky for my out-of-shape ass (this was pre wedding diet, may I remind you) Sara’s a runner (and a skinny bitch) too.    I started screaming “GO SARA GO! SHE’S WINNING!” and my MOH did not disappoint.    She opened up the full capacity of her own legs, and cut that bitch off at the top step.    Slowed her down enough for me to pull into the lead and be stopped at the Salon doors by one of the [hilariously put-together by comparison] salespeople who held up a calm hand and uttered the words I’d longed to hear:   “You’re first.   You may take your party, and select your five gowns.”

My recon paid off.    Within thirty seconds the dress was in my hands.    Within an hour, I had opened a Barney’s credit card to collect my extra 10% off (and because let’s face it – it was the only option I had to pay for the damn thing on such short notice) and then we hightailed it to Jodi’s office down the street to leave my FUCKINGVERAWANG- WEDDINGGOWN for safekeeping while we went for a celebratory breakfast, and called my Mom and remaining bridesmaids to inform them our mission had been accomplished.

[Oh, the dress didn’t even close to fit.   But in the eleven months that followed, you can bet your ass I whittled myself down to a size four, and it was worth every second of starvation to walk down the aisle in that dress.   I know, not the greatest moral of a story ever told, but I looked good okay?]

(oh, and if you check out the picture {by the brilliant and talented leigh miller} of me in my beloved gown above, you’ll notice that I actually did NOT take my converse off on my wedding day.   I did, however, wear lipstick.


Feed Me Seymour

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