That weekend was the bridal exposé and once I'd said goodbye to my daughter and kissed my fiancé goodbye for the weekend, I picked up Allison and we headed out on the Saturday morning. Allison suggested that I bring my maid of honour but I hadn't decided between Leah or Angela so it was just Allison and I. I had grown so close to Leah over the last few months that it was like we actually were sisters but Angela and I had always been close. I knew that the girls I was going to have were Leah, Angel, Kim, who since she was a wolf-girl too I had spent a lot of time with, and a friend from Arizona - Brooke Fletcher.
The show was held in a hotel and as soon as I walked in I was overwhelmed with the amount of booths, I could see everything from formalwear rental to cake bakers. Allison seemed just as overwhelmed as I did.
'Well, where should we start?' I looked over at her and laughed.
'Who knows,' I replied, shaking my head.
We wondered around for a while before Allison pointed out that there was a fashion show of bridal gowns starting in a few minutes and though I wrinkled my nose she seemed so excited. I could barely let her down when she was so happy so I agreed and eventually we sat down around the cat walk. There were going to be eight dresses on show and I settled myself in my seat and waited for it to pass. However as soon as it started I knew I was going to have to pay close attention so Allison was commenting.
The first dress was a tulle and satin mermaid beaded with pearlized sequins, rhinestones and pearls to enhance the sweetheart neckline accented with flowers. Satin buttons covered the back zipper and complemented the tulle and beaded godets on the skirt with what I was sure was a chapel length train. ( signature_wedding_dresses/9712)
'That's so nice,' Allison smiled, 'but not for you, I don't think.'
The second dress was a little more to my liking, I hadn't like the first one much, but this one was an organza dress with a sweetheart asymmetrically draped drop waist that flowed into an A-line skirt. The neckline was halter neck. Beaded lace and organza petals decorated the hip. There was a flutter of organza on the front of the skirt which turned into a chapel length train again with organza buttons over the zipper. ( sweetheart/6005#sthash. )
'What do you think of that one, Bella?' Allison whispered to me.
'Um … I prefer it over the last one,' I shrugged.
'Yes, I do too,' she agreed and nodded turning back to the show as the third dress was modelled.
This one another mermaid dress and another sweetheart neckline with a tulle and organza skirt, finished with a chapel train and satin buttons. ( wedding_dress/3776)
The fourth dress - sweetheart neckline on a silk metallic, tulle and beaded lace A-line dress which was accented with 3D layered beaded lace appliques. It also had a chapel train and I began to wonder if the theme of the show was sweetheart necklines and chapel trains. ( signature_wedding_dresses/9719)
A lace and tulle neckline on the fifth dress created a jewel collar on the slim A-line gown. Tulle buttons closed the illusion back and the gown, unsurprisingly, ended in a chapel train. ( sweetheart/6013# )
The next one that came out caused a ripple throughout the crowd because it was different from all the others. It was a tea length tulle ball gown with a strapless neckline doing in venice lace and flowers. The dress was accented with a pleated taffeta cummerbund. ( wedding_dress/3720)
And then we were back to our chapel trains and sweetheart necklines. The seventh dress, I was glad to realise, was another ball gown but full length this time made from Soutache and tulle. It had a sabrina illusion neckline, accented with soutache lace at the shoulder. The lace also created a drop waistline with the tulle draping. The back was a v-sheer with tulle buttons or the back zipper. ( sweetheart/6027#sthash. )
'Last dress,' Allison bounced and I smiled over at her: she was so excited.
Another ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and chapel length train. It had a ruched bodice accented by beaded lace appliques. ( wedding_dress/3781)
The crowd stood up and clapped as the dresses made another walk around the catwalk before poising in a line at the end. The music stopped and everyone began leaving so I gathered my stuff and Allison linked her arm with mine as we walked away.
'So did you like any?' she asked, squeezing.
'The last one was quiet nice, really simple,' I replied with anything just to please her.
'It was,' Allison agreed. 'Perhaps that's what we should look for … just somewhere to start?'
She pointed over a wedding dress vendor which was empty at the moment, probably about the only time it would be. There were dresses after dresses on the rack and all I could think about was Alice and her love of playing Bella Barbie. Everyone always said that even if you hate shopping, wedding shopping was fun, so I smiled over at Allison and grinned. She pulled me over there.
People lie. I tried on dress after dress and while it was kind of fun to begin with it got old really quickly. Eventually, I stepped out the changing room and Allison gasped.
'That one looked so perfect,' she said softly. 'Go on have a look at it.'
It was A-line and made of satin with a beaded and corded lace bodice that had a modified sweetheart neckline and natural waistline. Over my arms was a tulle and beaded lace 3/4 jacket with a beaded satin waistband and satin button closure. Flowing backwards was a chapel train. ( wedding_dress/3793)
'Wow,' I whispered softly, smoothing it down as Allison rose her camera - she had been taking pictures of the dresses that we liked.
'Wow indeed,' Allison said as she began digging through my purse and pulled out my phone. She snapped a picture of that and then I went to get changed.
Once I was back in my normal clothing, sad because I really loved that dress, I went and sat next to her taking my phone and bag. After a moment's thought and texted the picture to Leah and Angela.
'Are you sure you don't want to just get it?' Allison asked reading my face and love for the dress easily.
'No, I'm sure it's not even in my price range,' I waved off; Sam and I hadn't even set a date let alone anything else.
Allison sighed and showed me the price tag causing me to begin to smile - it was just with the budget I had set myself for the dress. My phone buzzed with messages.
'Leah and Angela agree with you,' I laughed, quickly scanning them. 'They think I should get it.'
'How is Leah?' Allison asked and I looked up. 'Is it awkward at all … with you and Sam? I mean, they were pretty serious.'
I tried not to wrinkle my nose at the reminder.
'No, Leah's really happy for us,' I smiled. 'It's not awkward at all for us, I don't know about her and Sam. It's not like they spend time insulting each other, they joke around a lot actually. Sometimes it gets a bit tense but usually it's fine.'
'Well, that's something at least,' Allison replied. 'Any closer to making your decision on your maid of honour?'
'No,' I groaned and Allison laughed, patting my hand.
'Go say you have an interest in that dress.'
I did as I was told. The dress shop actually had multiple stores and there was one in Port Angeles so I wouldn't have to drive up to Seattle. They took my name and address and told me that they would send a dress over to that store. Soon Allison and I left that and continued wondering around, stopping for a while at a chocolate fountain which was letting you eat some.
We looked at so many different things: planners, florist, photographers, bridesmaids and flower girls dress vendors, bakers. I was getting kind of overwhelmed by the time we left but soon we were back at the hotel and I was talking to my little angel.
'Are you being good for you dad?' I asked her playfully and Allison looked over to smile at me.
'Yep, I promise, Daddy and I had loads of fun, we …' and she went off describing her day with Sam: what they did, who they saw, and whole number of other things but eventually I looked at the clock at the same time as I heard Sam's voice in the background.
'Else, I think it's time for bed,' I think his voice said. 'Say goodbye to your mom.'
'Do I have to?' Elsee complained.
'Yes, angel,' I laughed. 'Now, do as your father says, it's bedtime.'
'Fine,' Elsee sighed. 'Goodnight; I love you, Mommy.'
'I love you too, Else, I'll see you tomorrow night for dinner,' I promised her. 'Goodnight.'
'I'll be up in a minute,' Sam's voiced said closer than before and I assumed Elsee had handed the phone over to him. 'Hey, baby.'
'Hi,' I felt a beaming smile slide onto my face at my future husband's deep voice. Sam and I spoke for a little while before I teasingly told him to "go tuck our daughter in" and we hung up. I was still smiling as I turned to put my phone back in my bad and once I had I looked up to see Allison smiling at me. 'What?'
She bit her lip as he smile grew, 'you love my son so much.'
'I wouldn't be marrying him if I didn't,' I brushed it aside and Allison smiled.
'He's so … different since he found you,' she said leaning back on her bed, 'happier. He's always been such a serious boy, you seem to have lightened him and you've given him so much. Your love, your trust, your daughter. He's very lucky to have found you … You know, when we was younger, I believed that no one would be good enough for him but I knew I was wrong the moment I set eyes on you.'
'How?' I asked though my main attention was on trying to control my blush.
'Just the look in both your eyes,' she shrugged. 'It was in the eyes, it always is. You're so good for him, Bella.'