We all know a story like the one I'm going to tell. A good girl, went to church every Sunday, volunteered at the soup kitchen on weekends, had her first kiss at 22, with a nice boy from her book club who held her hand and told her she was pretty and then one day- BAM- fell in love with a Hell's Angel biker and spent the next 3 years running after him while he treated her badly and dated strippers.
I thought I knew what I wanted in a dress. I wanted simple, not too frou-frou, not too poufy, not too complicated. And the good girl in my story thought she wanted a nice boy who would treat her right and call her everyday. But really we both wanted something edgy and different, something unacceptable and wrong, something we couldn't really ever have.
That's the analogy I've come up with to describe my feelings for the Pnina Tornai dress of my dreams.
I was at Kleinfeld's Bridal with IC's mom when she saw a row of dresses across the room and said "those are Pnina Tornai dresses". Apparently, Pnina is a huge star designer in Israel and, as previously mentioned, IC was born in Israel. In the U.S., her dresses are exclusive to Kleinfeld's. We picked out a Pnina dress, and several others by other designers, and headed to the dressing room.
I don't know about you, but I've never thought the words "wow, I am a princess" ever before. I looked AWESOME. Pnina's style is a corset top and big poufy, flowing bottom. I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror and twirling all around. This was it. This was it! It felt so good! It had to be right! Pnina was actually in the store and she was completely sweet and came over and chitchatted with us. I was babbling. "My fiance is from Israel, my ring is from Israel and maybe my dress will be from Israel!" Lalaland. Clearly, no dress could be better than this dress.
But, like the girl in my first paragraph, the dress was as wrong for me as the biker was for her. Sure, it felt good and I suppose she and I both daydream that we could fix this crazy, mixed up world so that we could be together (her with the biker, me with my Pnina dress), but we can't.
Oh, did I not mention is was ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?
It's not the fault of the woman helping me at Kleinfeld's. When she asked me my budget, I said "I don't have one" because I thought I was already looking at the highest end dresses at like 6k. I was totally wrong. I was nowhere near the ceiling.
Also, and this part hurts the most--the dress and I are just not right for each other in the long run. The plan is, and has always been, to get married on or near a beach. Where am I going with my poufy dress? How poufy is it? Very:
Posting this pic brings me to one of my top pet peeves throughout this whole process--why do some gown stores, such as Kleinfeld's, not allow photographs (Kleinfeld's goes the extra mile and requests "no sketching"). It's entirely possible that had IC's mom taken a photo of me that day in my perfect Pnina dress that I would have looked at it every day and finally decided, to hell with right or wrong, I'm marrying the biker! Or, something. But I have no image to remind me how perfect that dress was on me and how I had never put on anything so beautiful. And, if I wanted to steal the design or "sketch" it, couldn't I just do it from the photograph on the website? So silly to ban photographs when a girl is trying to spend thousands and thousands on a dress. I might buy a dress from a place that doesn't allow pictures, but it's really unlikely. A purchase this expensive requires thought and consideration and staring at a photo of myself saying "I love this dress, this is the dress I will buy." And frankly, I look better in this dress than the model. Yes, I have a swelled head but really, I have boobs whereas the dress looks big or off-center on her. This picture does the dress no justice.
It took me a long time to get over the Pnina dress. Even now, I sometimes check the boards on Wedding Bee or Craigslist hoping someone is selling their Pnina, maybe at a fraction of the cost, and maybe we can make it work. I realize it's the equivalent of looking at the biker's Facebook and Twitter. But I'm trying to move on, I'm keeping busy, trying to look at other dresses--but you just never forget your first love.