Not Just Another Day in New York
From the outside, I guess we would have looked simply like a mother and her two daughters strolling around Manhattan to take in the sights, grab a bite or do a little light shopping. We knew, however, this was a pretty monumental day.
To understand this, I suppose you must know a little bit about us. We three are close- very close. There were a multitude of triumphs and then a whole lot of very painful tragedy in their formative years. The three of us held on tight to one another and took turns keeping each other from drowning, which knit us together in the strongest way possible. We also, when not rushing off to early morning horse shows, would settle ourselves in the living room on Sunday mornings, with huge steaming mugs of coffee to watch “Say Yes to the Dress”.
We exited the Uber on Wooster Street, in the heart of SoHo and waited to be buzzed in at Gabriella. A small elevator took us up one story and a short hallway led to a large showroom, with huge windows and creamy-peach walls which set off the white and ivory gowns that lined its perimeter. It’s a relatively small boutique so the feel is very personal and the three of us almost jumped out of our skin when we saw not one but two consultants from “Say Yes to the Dress”. We tried to be cool but our eyes widened when one of our favorites from the show was assigned to us. “OMG!” we silently mouthed to each other when she left the dressing room to pull dresses for us.
She, of course, nailed it right away, completely understanding the style and cut we were looking for. There’s something about that moment when she puts on the dress and you all look at one another. This just might be it! She walked out to the main salon and stood on the pedestal before a large oval mirror. A veil was placed on her head and we all teared up. Write this one up!
We still had two other appointments we had already paid for so, why not keep them, we thought. There would have to be something pretty incredible at one of the next two to beat this. We thought that unlikely and vowed to return.
We had a little time so we strolled over to West~Bourne on Sullivan Street, an LA-inspired cafe with a charitable mission, serving breakfast, grain bowls, coffee, beer & wine. There was a fridge stocked with juice and rosé. Next to that, there are some shelves full of branded t-shirts, tote bags, and napkins made from “reclaimed denim.” The rest of the little space is filled with some communal tables, a counter surrounded by little wooden stools, and a window nook overflowing with throw pillows. Factor in the brick walls and wooden ceiling beams and it just felt homey and comfortable. We settled ourselves at a smooth wooden table for something clean and pure and very high quality – just as our morning together had been; no fighting, no complications, just simple, unadulterated joy.
The bride to be ordered “Over the Rainbow” which is brown basmati rice, lentil falafel, tri-colored cauliflower, kale, delicate squash, pickled beets and jalapeno tahini. For Sarah, it was Canyon Calabaza Soup – butternut squash, coconut milk, curry and a rye walnut crumble. I opted for “Center your Chia”, a coconut chia pudding with rose halva, toasted almond crumble, raspberries and mint. Our feast was bursting with color and flavor and absolutely zero guilt!
We happily tried each others’ dishes and talked non-stop about the dress and what a lovely, personal experience we had just had until it was time to head uptown to Kleinfelds – the bridal salon the three of us had watched on TV all those Sunday mornings together, critiquing dresses and shouting our opinions to try to steer the brides from making hideous, tacky mistakes!
Upon entering, it felt like a giant wedding factory teaming with brides and their families all warily getting ready to crack open their wallets just enough to make their daughters’ dreams a reality. This was so very different from the previous salon and we doubted we would like it here. We saw a few more consultants we recognized from the show and then were thrilled when they assigned Diane to us. With her warm demeanor, signature blonde bangs and Herculean New York accent, she swept us into a private dressing room in the back. Sarah and I waited while Diane and Christina walked the floor to choose dresses that fit both my daughter’s and the venues style. They quickly chose five and one by one Diane choreographed the experience, saving the one she knew would be the winner for last like a crescendo in a musical piece. Could it be? This one even surpassed the first. We walked to the main salon and literally all heads turned. A veil was chosen and tears were once again shed. They called the owner over to ask the big question in their best Fran Drescher tenor, “So Christina, are you saying yes to the dress?” She nodded happily and everyone cheered.
A celebration was in order so we found a little pub and ordered a crisp cold bottle of rose. The words and the wine flowed easily as we talked about the day, the upcoming wedding, our lives currently, all we had been through together and what we hoped the future would hold for each of us and cried some more. Like the meal we had earlier, it was beautiful, enjoyable and just so good for us.
We had that one last appointment. She found a jumpsuit that would be quite nice for the courthouse ceremony in NY before the real ceremony in Tuscany but the price was too high so she passed. What a sensible woman I raised. And what a lucky woman I am to have had this day with these two.