As many of you know, who may have had the experience of shopping at Ana's it is small, really small. I felt like I hadn't been in such a small space before. There are dresses in every little corner.
The first visit: The first time we visited Ana's was because we had been to Wishing Well and David's without much luck (I didn't mention my visit to Wishing Well on here, because I wanted to focuses on places I had POSITIVE and negative experiences at. The Wishing Well only provided the latter). We actually showed up sans appointment which is a huge bridal no-no. I know this, but my mom doesn't and she is the type to say "let's just go you never know, maybe they can squeeze us in." Which, they did. I had one girl I was working with. Her name was Cassie. She was super sweet, but probably AT MOST 20 years old. I felt like she had no idea what this whole wedding thing was about and she basically agreed with everything I said.. She WAS perfectly nice and helpful, and my mom even thanked her and complimented her many times- which was surprising.
I was stuffed into the smallest dressing room ever. I didn't have on the proper garments and they didn't supply me any (David's and House of Brides had done so). She kept bringing over dresses that were nothing like I explained I wanted. For a moment,. I felt like she was just bringing me samples she knew would fit, without much effort on her part (contrary to Ashlie working less than a mile down the road at Helene's who was going to put every single sample in the store on you, and get it ON you even if it was 5 sizes too small, as if her life depended on it- just so you'd be happy). I then asked Cassie if I could look through the racks and SHOW her what I was looking for.
Eventually she pulled out two dresses. One was a complete lace dress that I didn't love on the hanger. I didn't want all lace. It was fitted and more of an a-line bottom. It actually looked really nice on- she added a crystal belt and I have to say It was REALLY pretty. Good job Cassie. The only problem was , this wasn't the fit I wanted, it was too "sheath" for me and also, the lace had a funny- almost circular pattern.
The next pull was a sale dress that was as is. It was a champagne colors Justin Alexander with gorgeous beading on the top. Even thought it was 4 sizes too small, I was able to get into the dress and pull it on. It wouldn't zip but she clipped me into the back. They would have to do alterations to this dress, because it was the last one. It was on sale for half price, so the dress was around $1000.This dress was going to need a corset back and the beading to be redone in some spots, plus an obvious hem. All the reconstruction was adding up. Finally I could tell my mom thought "no way". She looked at me and said she wasn't going to pay a ton of money for a sample dress that had to be completely reconstructed (she was paying for my gown).
The next few were ok. And at the end of the appointment we started looking through the Paloma and Justin gowns. They were beautiful. There was a gown my mom pulled out that I quickly dismissed. She put it back on the rack. Then I went through and I saw the gown again. It was SO gorgeous now that I looked at it. I hadn't seen anything in the store I liked better. I held it up, but by that point the steam from the appointment was running low, so we left.
Three days later I was still thinking about that dress. So I called Ana's back and made another appointment. This time it was with Ana herself. It was a week night so it was really slow. Again, I was crammed into that small little fitting room. The other piece I didn't mention is that when you have on a gown you have to get in front of the mirrors in front of the whole store. Not my ideal situation. I showed her the gown I loved and asked if she had anything similar. I told her that I had been thinking about it. She wiggled me into the gown as best she could but I couldn't get an idea of it. So I tried on a similar Paloma dress. Except the price tag on this one was TWICE as much. I got the idea of the style and the look of the dress. I told Ana I wanted to look around the entire store to see if I liked anything better. I had heard Ana can be pushy and a bit annoyed with brides, but to be honest, I was delightfully surprised with her. She was really kind and she showed me every dress that I MAY like that was similar or at least was my taste.
I kept coming back to that dress. The beading I had never seen before, the lace, the crystals! It wasn't ANYTHING like I thought I would fall in love with but it was perfect.
I left that night knowing in my heart that was my dress.
In the meantime, I had made my appointment at Helene's to see if I could find anything better.
I went to Helene's with my mom the next night, and as you know, I had a great experience but didn't find anything there.
So back to Ana's we went for our third trip there. They were busy and we didn't have an appointment so I told them I wanted to re-show my mom the dress I loved. When I picked it up off the rack I started to cry. "The lace!" "the beading!" "the construction!" "the fabric" it wasn't just the dress to me, it felt like it came to life. I can't remember the last time I loved an article of clothing so much. It wasn't even on my body and I felt so much love for it. When I think back, I still get that feeling. When I have doubts that it was my dress, I think back to that moment. My mom nodded and we knew.
But....did we buy the dress???????
Well, I will let you think about it over the weekend! Happy weekend everyone, see ya' Tuesday!