Honest Motherhood: A perilous journey

 I am sat at my dining room table staring at a pile of dresses. They are new, pristine and gorgeous, with the tags still on. Sadly, they will not be making a home here but will be returning to warehouse life. This unfortunate buy-and-return headache has become the way in my wardrobe. For I am going through something astonishingly difficult, an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. It’s been time-consuming, ego-bruising and downright faffy. 

I am referring, of course, to the labyrinth that is wedding guest dress shopping. I had no idea, when I casually started browsing ASOS for dresses months ago, the perilous journey I was embarking on.Friends think I might be a little too choosy, but don’t you have to be? Weddings are a day of celebration, and you can’t celebrate wholeheartedly if you’re quietly worrying about how hideous your dress looks. So far, the process has gone like this: 
1.) Scroll online, always late at night, for “the dress”.
2.) Find one I love, send a link to either my mother or Joel and sleep on it. 
3.) Ignore any responses, let the dress marinate in my shopping basket, allow five days to pass. 
4.) Return to the basket and either a.) See it is now out of stock in my size and resume search or b.) Order in a frenzy. 
Then it arrives, there is a moment of exultation as I greet the delivery man (“THANK YOU!!”) and I go in for the great unveiling with the highest of hopes and expectations. But then, before I’ve even got it on properly, disappointment sets in for any of a multitude of reasons. – Bad fit, weird style, or simply not what I was expecting. One dress was a completely different colour to that on the screen, another smelt like it had been kept away somewhere cold and damp for hundreds of years.
I’ve only ever attended one friend’s wedding as an adult and I spent most of it struggling to breathe because my dress was so tight. It was the most beautiful piece of clothing I owned and I was adamant that, despite my restricted lung capacity, it was still “the dress”. The rule used to be: if the zip does up, it is wearable. Now the rule is: if you can’t fully inhale, reevaluate your priorities and get the next size. 

Of course I haven’t been keeping this dress-search malarkey to myself. You can’t go through these things alone. Joel has been with me, watching as the packages come and go. 
Me: “Can you come have a look at this?”
Supportive partner: “As long as it’s not a dress, sure..”
Me: “Never mind..”
Me ten seconds later: “Joel I need your opinion!!”
Supportive partner: “Angie..I think I’m going mad darling..NO MORE DRESSES..” 
Men have it so much easier. Especially for a summer wedding. Chinos, nice shirt, smart jacket – sorted. Joel will probably dig his ensemble out the day before. Meanwhile we have short/long, tight/loose, strapless, backless…the decisions are endless. And that’s before considering initial footwear and spare comfy footwear. 

So far Joel and I have six weddings over the next year, though given the rate at which my friends are getting engaged, there will be more in 2022. Thankfully I am a bridesmaid for one, so no dress anxiety. Planning the hen do was far more straightforward than finding dresses for the other five weddings.I have a package arriving later that I feel hopeful for, then it’s off to the Post Office where I have befriended half the staff.