Getting engaged is exciting. It's awesome. It seems like everywhere you go, people are eager to wish you well. Now, I've never been the kind of girl to obsess over when this would happen. I never felt that if I wasn't married by a certain age that I had somehow missed an important womanly rite of passage. I don't even like weddings! With that said, getting engaged has a few significant perks. For one thing, it puts an end to nagging questions from well-intending relatives about when it's going to happen. I've known for a while that Jim would always be "my person," so, in many ways, this isn't a dramatic shift in commitment for us. It is, however, an excuse to share what we've known for sometime with the people closest to us, and on our own terms, and that's pretty cool. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
On January 17, 2016, just a few days shy of our three year anniversary, I went on a celebratory date with my boyfriend, now fiancé, Jim. I wore this 1950s pink knit dress, a dress I will now forever associate with that memorable night, and he wore the tie that he wore on our first date. It was snowing and we were outside my old apartment in Somerville, the site of our first kiss. We were there recreating the night we met, a coffee date that ended up lasting about five hours, much of which was spent walking around Harvard and Porter Square, plus a stop into the Lizard Lounge for poetry night, where we witnessed a wedding proposal in the form of a spoken-word poem. As Jim knelt in the snow, addressing me by my full name, he told me that he knew that first night that I would be the one he'd marry, and he asked me. It wasn't a complete shock to me (Jim is horrible at keeping secrets and there were signs that gave me an inkling--more on that in a bit), but it was happy moment for us. With a laugh and a kiss, I said yes.
Shortly thereafter, we asked some passersby to take our picture and the snow caught the flash, casting an awkward spotlight. They're not the most perfect pictures, but I love how happy we look.
Now to the ring. Flashback to last summer when Tayla and I were vending the Somerville Flea, and she had "casually" asked me about my ring preferences (she was already enlisted as a covert agent in Jim's plot). Truth was I had seen vintage engagement rings on Etsy and Instagram, but as I told her then, I'd never seen one I actually liked. I shrugged, and figured I just didn't like engagement rings. That is, of course, until I saw mine.
It's a 1950s atomic starburst design with gold and white gold. I honestly couldn't imagine anything more perfect. He modeled it after my favorite midcentury print of the same name. For months, he had been searching for an atomic starburst ring until he happened upon this one on Ebay. Come to find out, the store listing it was 5 minutes from our house!
So, once the news had been shared, the ring had been re-sized, and dust had settled a bit, we began the planning. The practical aspects like the venue and catering occupied about 2 weeks straight of pouring over details and costs. Neither of us are "wedding people" so this definitely was the unfun part. It was daunting and nerve-wracking, but ultimately, we found some creative ways to make a wedding that we could envision ourselves actually enjoying and being able to afford. We found out that getting married in November and on a Sunday would save us a buttload (that's the technical term), and we weren't quite financially ready to get married this year, so that's how we came up with November 5, 2017. Plus getting married on Guy Fawkes day felt kind of badass (Remember remember, the 5th of November save the dates?!). We still need to finalize everything within the next few weeks, but it's safe to say we managed to find our dream venue within our budget (more on that in a future post).
With those practical aspects of the wedding mostly sorted out, I felt confident moving on to the part I was most looking forward to--other than marrying Jim, that is--finding my wedding dress. I knew one thing for sure; I wanted a vintage dress.
It feels cliche to say my dress found me, so I won't say it. Fittingly, the woman who knows me best happened on a dress the week before I was engaged. Remember how I said I had an inkling? Anyway, she tagged me on Instagram in a photo of the bodice of this incredible 1940s wedding dress, and I was in awe of it, but at that point, didn't give it much thought.
Once we were engaged, I immediately started looking on Etsy and Ebay for vintage wedding dresses from the 40s and 50s. I knew that it would be difficult to find a dress with my measurements, so I widened my search by looking at dresses a few inches smaller than my current measurements, but even then, it was pretty slim pickings. Most vintage wedding dresses from that era are a size extra small or small. Mediums are few and far between, and the ones that were my size were pretty enough, but nothing gave me pause. Around that time, I remembered the dress that Tayla tagged me in. It just so happened to be my exact measurements, and the shop owner, Dana of Concetta's Closet, just happened to be located about an hour and a half away. So, I made an appointment to try on my first wedding dress. And I decided to wear my favorite something blue for the occasion, this 1950s beaded cardigan, a gift from my mother a few years back.
Dana's studio alone was amazing. If you haven't seen her shop, take a peek. She runs one of the most stunning, well-curated vintage shops out there, and her studio is a reflection of that exquisite beauty. My mom and I were in complete awe of the space, and Dana was so helpful and accommodating. Plus, it was lovely to be trying on one really special, one-of-a-kind vintage dress instead of browsing racks upon racks in a bridal shop filled with other brides to be. It felt so much more personal.
Now, back to the dress. Somehow it happened that the very first wedding dress I tried on was also my last. It was that perfect. So perfect that it requires no alterations. So perfect that it's killing me not to go around showing it to everyone I know. So perfect that I wish it wasn't approximately a year and 8 months until our wedding. So perfect that once I put it on, there was never even a question as to whether it was the dress. I can't overstate this; it's the most beautiful garment I've ever worn. I wish I could show it to you, but there's a rule about that. Here's the next best thing, my shoes.
They're an exact reproduction of a late 1940s shoe, and you'll just have to trust me on this, a perfect compliment to my dress.
Stay tuned for more posts. On Sunday, Tayla and I are off to Crompton Collective's Vintage Wedding Week with my mom and Jim's mom. In the meantime, you can also check out my Pinterest boards (Vintage Bridal Inspiration and Our Wedding).