Last updated: June 20. 2014 2:24PM - 999 Views
By Deborah Mitchell Contributing Columnist

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Wedding season is here. It is June, after all! I’ve officiated wedding ceremonies, played music for weddings, and I’m the wedding coordinator at our church, so I have a pretty good idea of how to make weddings run smoothly. I am totally unfamiliar, though, with the drama that can come with a huge wedding. I have heard tales of “bridezillas,” and of attendants spending small fortunes on required clothing, elaborate bachelor/bachelorette parties, gifts, travel, and hotel rooms.

And now those tales are coming home to roost. Emily is going to be a bridesmaid for her friend, Frances, who hasn’t been demanding or unreasonable while preparing for her wedding. I have no complaint about her.

I do, however, now take umbrage with David’s Bridal.

David’s Bridal is a chain of stores selling women’s wedding attire, including the requisite white dresses, and row upon row of “bridesmaidy” dresses that are expensive and unsuitable to wear anywhere other than a wedding.

Until last week, I had never darkened the door of David’s Bridal. After our experience, I’m not sure I will again.

I must first say that though I love our daughter, she is not blameless in what happened; however, to be fair, she had never participated in a wedding and, like me, didn’t know that bridesmaids’ dresses must be purchased months in advance.

Emily went to David’s Bridal in Little Rock six weeks before the wedding, expecting to buy her dress that day; however, the dress was not in stock, and it was no longer available in “iris” (code for “pale lavender”). Anywhere. Frantically, she called Frances, who graciously told Emily to buy any iris dress, that Emily’s participation was more important than the dress style.

A salesperson located an iris dress in another store; Emily tried on that dress in another color for fitting, and then the other store shipped the dress in that size to Emily. The dress arrived four weeks later, two weeks before the wedding. She and I were going to go shoe shopping, so she tried on the dress so we could determine what kind of shoes to buy.

Well, the dress was so tight that it wouldn’t zip. We looked like horribly surprised characters in a cartoon — eyes wide, mouths shaped in an “O.” “But it fit in the store!” Emily wailed.

We, Max included, hit the phones, trying to find any David’s Bridal anywhere with a long iris dress. Finally, Emily found one — in Cleveland. That store would mail it to Emily and the Little Rock store could do an exchange. Emily then called the Little Rock store, explained the situation, and was told that the exchange would work.

Giddy with relief, we drove to the store, where we found another iris dress — a short one, but an iris dress nevertheless. We found the young woman with whom Emily had spoken, and she called over the manager, who enthusiastically greeted us and explained in an exaggerated Southern drawl that they would not do the exchange with Cleveland. “Your receipt says that all sales are final.”

That meant Emily could exchange the ill-fitting dress for the short dress in Little Rock, but if the one arrived from Cleveland, she would own TWO iris frocks, neither good for anything but Frances’ wedding. By now, I was more than a little irritated. I entered the fray, pointing out that Emily had not gained weight since the fitting. I also pointed out that the other bridesmaids were wearing long dresses and Cleveland’s dress was long. I finally said it was extremely unfair to penalize the customer for following the store’s recommendation.

The eventual outcome of our jaunt to David’s Bridal was that the store accepted the dress that didn’t fit and agreed to do the exchange. Happy ending, right?

Well, almost. The dress must be hemmed, and to hem that particular dress costs $60. Because it has to be done within a week, the store adds a $25 “expedite” fee.

And because of my involvement, Emily has to write an essay detailing the lessons she learned from this episode.

The lesson I learned? Other stores sell bridesmaid dresses.

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