"Come in out of the darkness"

Lace, Tulle and Manolos in NYC

Lace, Tulle and Manolos in NYC

My friend Kate is getting married in April and wanted to try on all the pretty dresses NYC has to offer with me and her longtime friend, Nikki. The only problem? You have to book appointments months in advance to get into the elite bridal boutiques. So Kate switched the plan to shoe shopping. Nikki, who's the planner of the group, organized the whole day full of shoes, food and shopping. 

On our way to Kate trying on blue Manolo's she had her eye on, we popped into several stores (Urban Outfitters, Tiffany's - where we swooned over the gorgeous diamonds, and Express). Once we hit Sax, Kate realized she wasn't so in love with the heels. I'm so excited and honored to her bridesmaid. She's funny, caring and smart young woman and I'm thrilled to be part of her wedded journey. Even though she wasn't in love with the Manolo's, I know she'll find the perfect pair. 

We had reservations at the iconic Carmine's in Times Square. It's a busy, Italian family-style restaurant where they are renowned for their big dishes that the whole table can share. The food was amazing! After all that walking, it was great to sit down and have a meal. After we were done, we headed out to the Bridal Garden in Midtown West. Bridal Garden is a very unique boutique - located on the 9th floor of a quiet building - it's a nonprofit organization. They offer discounted designer gowns and the proceeds benefit Brooklyn Charter School in Bedford-Stuyvesant. It was a different sale approach compared to other bridal boutiques too. Instead of a saleswoman giving you dresses, you pick whatever gowns you want to try on. No pressure, no sales tactics, just you and the company you came with. Kate tried on so many gorgeous gowns but I know she didn't find the "one". It was fun seeing her in all different types of gowns - ballerina, mermaid, lace-y, beaded. It was a whirlwind of tulle and white lace in the city. 

Kate wanted me to try on a dress since she never saw me in a bridal gown. I got eloped a little over a year ago. It brought back a lot of memories which in turn made me start thinking. I remember being so excited about my wedding which was going to take place in my hometown library. What made the library extra special is a remembrance plaque for my dad in the sports section. For me, it was the closest thing to him being there. But that wedding never happened. I started realizing all my long-winded love notes on social media and my smiles were hiding the fact my relationship was incredibly toxic. Each day I felt further trapped into something that I knew wasn't right. Relationships are tricky because people don't realize what happens behind closed doors. As much as I wanted to tell everyone, I didn't. But I decided on making a huge step for myself and mental health and getting out of that relationship. It was incredibly hard but I don't regret doing it. I won't go into detail, but any woman in my position would have either done the same thing or kept pretending everything was shiny and great while knowing the truth. 

Months and months later, though, we worked things out extensively and decided to elope. I wore a ballerina style dress from Anthropologie and a silver and white scarf.  We got eloped in our favorite, funky town. It's a fun and funny story. Getting eloped you have to go into it with no regrets. You have to tell yourself you aren't going to have the gown, the dancing, the tears of joy from family and friends. I was always okay with that. I guess yesterday though, I started to think about it. Kate insisted sweetly to try on at least one gown. I found a unique, beaded dress that looked vintage and lovely. I tried it on and it made me smile. If we had our wedding and things were actually good - this, this would have been the dress. 

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But, that's not how my life happened so at least I get this picture of me in a gorgeous, beaded Badgley Mischka. I also know writing about this time in my life may not make some people happy - but it's the truth and and I have a voice, too.

Moving on to happier topics - after Kate tried on many, many gowns and didn't find "the one", we headed back out the windy, cold city. We stopped at stores and looked around. We ended up at Bryant Park and perused the cute pop up shops. We found seats at the bar and watched the ice skaters. It was really beautiful. I was so happy to be with in this beautiful city with my dear friends. 

We headed back to the train and all morning I've been thinking how inspiring the city is. It moves so fast, there's so many places and spaces, so many lights and colors. And sometimes on the 9th floor of a building, it inspires you to think. 

It's sweet to see Kate enjoy all the excitement of being a bride to be and I can't wait to part of her beautiful wedding. 

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