I remembered the day I tried it on for a rehearsal weeks before D-Day, to make sure everything fit right and I wouldn't trip over any loose ends. It took me a minute to gather all the folds of my dress and get used to those heels before getting on to the platform and showcase myself like a mannequin. While my dress was being admired and gushed at, the only thought that hit me was "God please don't let me trip and fall in the chapel."
The dress hung pretty in my closet for the next few weeks, with me occasionally opening it up to look at it now and again. "I'm just checking if everything is okay!" was my lame excuse when my mom asked me to stop messing up the dress's folds and packing. A friend of mine who is as good as a professional in photography came by and took a few pictures of the dress, laying it in different positions and locations. I loved every minute of the attention it was getting, like it was my child!
The night before the wedding, my mother caught me slyly zipping up the dress bag and she knew I had opened it up to look at it, AGAIN. But this time, she just smiled and hugged me. She was too overwhelmed with emotion to say anything. My father and brother were in the living room, and instead of retiring to our respective bedrooms, we all decided to camp out in the living room that night. We all lay there, staring at the ceiling, nobody wanting to break the silence. My dad finally broke it, walking us through the events of the next day. My BIG day. It did not even hit me then, that I'm going to be married the next day. It all felt so surreal.
The dress rode with me in the car on our way to the chapel, nestled neatly in its bag and on my lap. Nobody spoke much on the way. Emotions hung heavy in the air. On reaching the chapel after posing for a few pictures and feeling like a celebrity, I entered the dressing room with mom. My bridesmaids waited there for me, dressed pretty in blue. When I put the dress on and looked at myself in the mirror, it felt like I was putting it on for the first time. My hands moved over the embroidery, the beads, the net and then fell short. It took my breath away. I gasped and looked at myself in the mirror again, and this time I saw a bride. It hit me then, I was going to get married.
On hearing the music to which I was to enter the chapel with my parents on either side, I took a deep breath, gathered up the folds of my dress and took my first step forward. The rest of the walk was almost a blur; all eyes were on me but my eyes were focused on the man right in front of me, waiting for me to hold my hand and say our vows together. 30 minutes later, I was a wife.
I remember asking my husband once, "What did you think of the gown when you saw it for the first time as I walked into the chapel?" As per tradition, the groom is not supposed to see the bride's gown until the day of the wedding. And he says, "Yeah, it was pretty." Vague. I probed more, "What did you like most about it? Did you even notice it properly?" "Honestly, I didn't. I was too focused on you to see anything else." Aww. Good save Mr. Kuruvilla, good save.
p.s. the gown to the extreme right in this collage is 'the one'. :)