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The Gift of Rare Perspective

Baby Puke

Everyone’s got a backstory, but some brides have stories that are really moving and make us just a bit more grateful for what we have. Amy and her fiance found themselves unexpectedly pregnant, which made them decide to delay their wedding plans. Life throws a curve ball sometimes, but that wasn’t even the curve ball part. The pregnancy turned out to be twins who were born 4 months premature.

Amy and her fiancé went from planning their dream wedding to living at the Intensive Care Unit in the blink of an eye, and it wasn’t until now, with the twins just about a year old (minus that extra 4 months) that Amy finally got to take a deep breath and relax enough to let herself think about being a bride. I think Amy received a gift of rare perspective…I doubt she will get flustered by the minutiae of the wedding as she looks forward to marrying the father of her children and joining together her miraculous little family.

Seeing Amy pampered and feeling beautiful in her fitting, made possible through Roula’s expert attention and Debbye’s babysitting, was a joy to behold. Having rambunctious babies take over a bridal fitting is not the kind of thing that happens every day at the Amsale salon, but it was kinda fun, especially since we didn’t have to babysit! Debbye valiantly took over childcare while Roula attended to the more delicate aspects of Amy’s gown fitting. And yes, she even had to clean up some baby spit-up! Made me wonder what Debbye was like as a young mother… Now that me, Emily, and Kori are somewhat newly wedded– a little over 2 years for me, one and a half for Kori, and 6 months for Emmy-Leu, the next question on everyone’s mind is when we’re all going to have babies…Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted. In some weird way it might be fun if we were all expecting at the same time, but most likely a nightmare for Debbye trying to run a bridal salon!

It’s been a long hard road for Amy, but we’re very excited about her big day!

Perfection Perfection

Here’s a random factoid: Amsale is very big in Korea. Maybe not as big as David Hasselhoff in Germany, but for reasons not entirely clear to us, she’s a rock star in the Korean bridal world. Amsale has been touted the epitome of chic and regularly gets mentioned in the Korean press, having outfitted celebrity after celebrity for their weddings.
So there’s already a lot going on this week at the salon, but topping it off is the arrival of a Korean film crew that needs to be accommodated. The crew is here specifically to cover Amsale and her flagship salon, so it needs to be immaculate and we need to be on our best behavior. Unfortunately, things got off to a rough start– beginning with Amsale’s arrival at the salon. It was a Tuesday, and that means van day–the day when dresses pinned during fittings go back to the design studio to be worked on, dresses that have been requested for bridal appointments, new samples, and dresses that are newly ready for fittings come back from the design studio.

A necessary, but unglamorous aspect of the job, dresses that are bagged up in plastic and hanging on industrial racks await transport in the gallery of the salon… in other words, a perfect time for Amsale to stop by. (Yikes!)

We try not to let brides see the metaphorical “seams” of our operation, as we want to keep things posh and dreamy for our brides, but no one demands that we keep the dream alive more than Amsale. It’s what she’s worked to create and it’s how she lives. There is a mandate for pristine beauty in all of her surroundings, and getting caught with “our pants down” can be… traumatic. Even though Amsale understands what needs to happen to keep her company and her salon functioning, she doesn’t really want to see the “seams” either. She was decidedly not amused by the rack of plastic bagged dresses staring back at her when she entered the salon. We had about 20 seconds to make everything right but failing to impress Amsale left a dark cloud over the morning… But, the show must go on, and so it did. The Korean crew got the footage they wanted, and we managed to get the dreaded plastic garment bags off the floor….


Meanwhile, the marathon is getting ever closer. Emily is training with great focus, and enjoying the side effects of a leaner figure, but not so much the bum knee. Like a special delivery from a higher power, Emily’s next bride is a seasoned marathoner with a lot of pointers and inspiration.

Gianine began running as a way to deal with the passing of her father. Although Emily is not running for the same type of cathartic reasons, she is trying to prove some things to herself, and is seeking out some interesting challenges. Never complacent, and never showy, Emily keeps up a strong, energetic front at work in spite of the rigorous training schedule. It’s almost inspiring enough to make me and Lauren want to do it too…. Almost.

But seriously–it was a good thing that marathon bride happened to be working with Emily because although we Amsale girls can offer advice on just about anything, marathoners we ain’t. All we can do is gawk from the sidelines and cheer her on. And even without a community of runners to give her support, Emily keeps up the faith. In most things, her steadfast, well-mannered Midwest upbringing doesn’t allow her fears or concerns to bubble up to the surface too much, and with this challenge it is no different. Still, my guess is that encountering a marathon veteran who was enthusiastic about sharing her experiences with a novice was a nice power boost.

Yes, Emily finished the marathon. Did anyone doubt she would? But the emotional road to the finish line wasn’t easy.

Can I Back it up in THIS?

Kiesha Jackson may have been the Tasmanian Devil of brides. Lovable, but a tsunami of emotion, diva posturing, real sweetness and flat out craziness. Her story itself is moving–a military girl with a twenty-year career in the armed forces who was left a single mother after her husband died. Her son now grown, serendipitous forces brought her back together with someone she dated 23 years ago! With that kind of history, it wasn’t long before things were rekindled and a proposal was not far behind. Keisha, now engaged to her childhood sweetheart is giddy with this second chance for love, and is pulling out all the stops for wedding number 2. In the show I mentioned that brides sometimes show up in professional makeup and hair for an appointment, What I didn’t mention is that 95% of the time, this is for their first fitting, when they are 2 months away from their wedding and are testing out some looks for the big day.  What we really don’t see is a diva walk in with her stylist Bingo in tow, to spend the first half of her appointment getting her hair and makeup done before a single dress is even tried on! Have I mentioned that appointments are an hour long?  Not sure if things like that happen at other salons, but it was a first for me. [Did you do anything special to prepare for your bridal shopping appointment? Anything diva-like?]

After Kiesha’s beautification by Bingo, the entourage was eager to get the show on the road, and I was eager to see if our gowns would be enough for what she had in mind. Kiesha was an occasionally self-conscious diva, worrying about various parts of her figure as we picked out dresses. I had some ideas of my own about what would work for her, and I was hoping she would be open-minded enough to let me try them on her. In my opinion Kiesha actually pulled off some of the more fitted looks, but I could tell from her reactions that what she truly wanted was a dress that made her feel like a queen. When I cinched her into Caterina, Kiesha felt like she had the perfect shape, and the full skirt gave her the grandeur that she had been craving.

Breathless with excitement, the bride turned this way and that in the mirror, as her stylist, her family and her consultant (that’s me), admired what we were seeing. It was a perfect fusion of gown and personality.  Some moments later, a very serious Kiesha turns to me:

Kiesha:  “Linda, can I ask you a question?”
Me:  “Of course”

<long pause>

Kiesha:  “Can I back it up in this?” With bawdy, booty bumping motion and thunderous laughter from the entourage.

I really can’t wait to see how this wedding turns out, because this appointment was a par-tay!

The Most Fun Job in the World

Some people ask–the same people that think our job must be the most fun in the entire world–whether all we do is try dresses on in our spare time. What do YOU think? Of course we try dresses on! Not that often though. Like, not every day. Kori is the newest to the world of bridal and therefore still the most excited about trying things on. Oh, and she generally fits the sample sizes really well. Kind of hate her for that. But it’s funny how each one of us will gravitate towards a specific dress, and rush to try it on when it finally comes in.

Emily and I have a tradition of doing the “Robot” when we get into dresses. Trying to make it a trend among the newer girls, but Lauren’s not quite game. Shock!

The new Kenneth Pool collection is pretty damn gorgeous! Anastasia had been declared Lauren’s dream dress when we first saw the runway show, and being the over- the- top sparkle fest/flower explosion that it was…it was perfect on her. Emily rocked the sexy Rochelle while Samantha looked regal in Naya. The highly anticipated Estelle did not disappoint…even I tried it on and had a tearless, silent cry.