She asked me what my dream dress looked like, and my heart slightly dropped. I hadn’t found something quite as perfect as a dress from three years earlier, the dress that belonged to a girl who had gotten married right around the time I moved to Missouri for college. I had loved that dress from the moment I saw the picture – black and white – of that bride with her groom, perfect ruffles cascading as they slow danced.
I showed Laura, one of my best friends and soon-to-be cousin, several pictures of knock-offs I’d found. None were quite right, and she could sense my discontentment. Sighing, I gave in to showing her my impossible dream. “Let me show you what I really love.” I dug through Facebook with forensic-type ability until I dug up that picture I found three years prior.
“Emily,” Laura gasped, “that’s my dress.”
My jaw dropped. How could this be? She urged me upstairs while her husband and my Silas played cribbage. “Nothing!” we replied, in a sing-song voice, to their inquiry of our mischievousness. She shut the bedroom door and pulled out a fluff of white polka-dotted tulle.
“Try it on,” she instructed.
Shaking from excitement, I slipped into the gown, and Laura zipped me up. It fit perfectly, and we looked at each other in disbelief of what we’d just realized.
The Perfect Dress, Gone
I couldn’t believe it, but Laura was just as excited that I found the dress I’d loved for years. She couldn’t stop smiling, and insisted I wear it, but only if you really want to! If I really want to?! Of course – this was meant to be! I left that night with fresh encouragement and praise to the Lord on my lips (silently, though, as to not tip Silas off on our bridal plans!).
A short while after our engagement, Laura and I boxed the dress up to be sent off and cleaned. We never expected it to be the last time we’d see it. But two weeks later, I received one of the worst phone calls a bride-to-be could get thirty days before her wedding.
“You lost my dress?” My heart plummeted to my stomach. “You don’t understand. I need that dress. I’m getting married in one month and it’s my best friend’s dress!” The exhale on the other line was lined with a horror of the situation they found themselves in. Trying to keep me calm, they reasoned as best they could and ensured me they’d do everything possible to find the missing gown.
Heart pounding, I called Laura right away. I didn’t know what to expect – would she scream, or yell? Would she sob uncontrollably? Would she walk away from our friendship?
The perfect definition of grace flowed out from her voice after I gave her the terrible news. She felt just as bad for me as I did for her, but we insisted on remaining positive and petitioning to the Lord in prayer.
One week later, still no dress. I could only ask the Lord, why? Why, Lord, would you give me the perfect dress – the dress I’d loved for years – the dress that belonged to my friend and future family, that somehow fit me? Heart heavy, I informed Laura we had no choice but to start shopping. I knew I would be lucky to find something I liked that could be altered in time for our ceremony. But even with the impounding stress, I couldn’t stay worried. The most important thing was marrying Silas, and the wedding’s focus on glorifying God would be accomplished regardless if I wore lace or tulle. What I wore on the first day of our marriage didn’t matter in comparison to a lifetime with my person. Still, I kept on praying that the dress would show up, if not in time for me, at least to continue to be treasured by Laura. I had a peace that the Lord knew what he was doing, and possibly the only purpose my dream dress had for me was encouragement while I waited to marry Silas.
Read about our Wedding Ceremony here: Myrick Marriage: Our Little White Chapel Wedding
Even still, I kept on praying that the dress would show up, if not in time for me, at least for Laura’s safe keeping. I had a peace that the Lord knew what he was doing and came to terms with the possibility that the only purpose my dream dress had for me was encouragement while I waited to marry my Silas.
One Last Occasion
Laura and I spent hours searching for a new dress. Arms full of tulle, lace, and chiffon, I tried on gown after gown. My mindset of not wanting anything that resembled my dream dress (so as to not feel like a knock-off) turned out to be my only option after all – there was nothing like it available anyway. With an open mind, I tried on everything that seemed like a possibility.
Some dresses didn’t go with the style of our wedding, some were not very flattering on me, and some were just not practical. We finally came across one that would get the job done. It was white, I liked the way it lay, it matched the style of our wedding . . . it wasn’t my favorite but it grew on me. Laura’s praise over how it fit in just the right way was just enough encouragement for me to proclaim “this is it!”
I had something to wear to the wedding. I could finally move on from this nightmare because I was marrying my person in twenty-three days. But it was still a Plan B dress. I looked through the pictures over and over, trying to fall in love with it. It was a dress, but it was just a dress – it wasn’t special like the one sitting in a lost mail pile.
Two days later, I was just about to sit down for lunch in Topeka, Kansas when I got a call. I had been fighting back thoughts about the dress all morning as I worked, and I really didn’t want to rehash it all again now. I almost didn’t answer, but at the last moment, I hit the green button on my phone.
I almost screamed in the middle of that Subway.
“Wait, for real?” I’m sure the lady on the other line was thrilled to finally be the bearer of good news. I had a million questions to ask, but all I could muster was thank you over and over. My mind glazed over all the details she spoke to me, all I knew was my dress would be back in my apartment within the next few days. Heart pounding, I praised the Lord for the answered prayers. Hands shaking, I called Laura.
My grin grew bigger and bigger as Laura’s high-pitched squeal of joy rang through my ears. FOR REAL! I squealed back, the other Subway customers fading into the distance in my mind. I simply couldn’t believe it – in just a few days I’d have my dream dress to wear for my wedding, and Laura would possess a dress that was even more special than before.
Twenty-one days later, as my husband and I took our bride and groom pictures in the woods, he asked me if I’d wear this beautiful dress all the time. With delight and mystery, I proclaimed, “sorry honey, can’t do that! But boy, do I have a story to tell you later!”
Special thanks to Ziegler Photography for the Featured Photo.