If you have been reading the blog, you know that Frank and I will be eloping while we are in Italy. It has been fun (and a little challenging) getting all our legal documents in order and trying to plan our big day, almost always in Italian.
But one thing I did not have was a dress. I never dreamed it took so long to order a wedding dress, and we were heading to Italy before I could do any real shopping. I figured I’d wear something I already had (when you elope, you sometimes just have to go with the flow!).
Shopping in Florence
But on our last afternoon in Florence, Frank and I split up so I could do some souvenir shopping. I told him I’d meet him in an hour at Scudieri, our favorite tea and coffee spot, and hurried off. Well, I happened to stumble upon a dress shop that seemed to be my style. I walked in to see if, by chance, their spring line included at least a pastel color, but there were no dresses at all. Very strange. The clerk asked me to describe what I was looking for and they would bring the dresses to me – kind of like “Pretty Woman.” I sheepishly said I was looking for a white dress for a wedding (I didn’t confess that it was MY wedding). The clerk looked me up and down for size, walked off, and came back with an armload of garments, including a simple, knee-length, sleeveless, ivory lace dress that I loved. I finally told them it was for my wedding, and soon the whole shop (customers too) got in on the action with insight and opinions, mostly in Italian. Before I knew it, I had a dress, shoes, jacket and purse. Wow! (It was such a whirlwind that I’m sorry to say, I have no pictures.) And I still made it back only a few minutes late to meet Frank for tea. Needless to say, he was very surprised when I walked in and told him I’d just bought a wedding dress!
The Finishing Touches on Burano
While the dress was beautiful, it did need some alternations – and we were heading to Venice the next morning. So I brought the dress to the little Island of Burano way out in the Venetian Lagoon, where they have expert lacemakers. The ladies at Martina Vidal knew exactly what to do. They took over and re-vamped the dress, added a few flourishes, and made me feel beautiful. When they found out it was for my wedding in Italy, they called other little ladies in to kiss me and give advice. Men came and shook Frank’s hand. It was quite an experience!
We have made a couple of trips to Burano for more fittings and loved it each time. It is our favorite island now (we will describe the amazing restaurants there in another post).
I know that some brides visit multiple shops, try on numerous (maybe hundreds) of dresses, and order the perfect garment months in advance. My dress is simple and has been created with a little bit of hodge-podge, but I cannot think of better memories. I will carry the wisdom and well-wishes of a dozen Italian shopkeepers and lacemakers with me when I walk down the aisle.
[You will have to tune back in to see the real thing!]