When we arrived, however, the other bridesmaid and I decided to try on our dresses one last time before the big event. She hadn't tried hers on in a while, and I hadn't had a chance to try mine on since having the zipper replaced. When I finished zipping her up, she could barely breathe. When she finished zipping me up, she was holding part of my zipper in her hand and my dress was still gaping open at the back. Panic ensued.
We changed back into our other clothes and held our dresses in front of us in disbelief, she expecting her zipper to spontaneously fall apart at any moment and me wondering where to find espresso-coloured body paint at that time of night. The guys, bless their hearts, marched into the room and declared that they would fix my dress once and for all. We were sent away, as our nerves were getting on their nerves.
The other bridesmaid and I jumped in the car and drove around the suburbs for an hour in search of a 24-hour drugstore. Every locked door and darkened storefront reminded me why I choose to live in a big city. At long last we found an open store. One Tensor bandage, two sewing kits, three stretchy hairbands, fifty safety pins and a tube of Krazy Glue later, we departed for home.
We found the guys in the living room drinking beer and claiming success. Scott had determined that the slider part of my zipper had been stretched open too wide to push the teeth together. Pliers were no help, so he had bitten the slider closed. I remained dismayed, as I was sure that the slider would simply stretch open again after I had worn the dress for a while. I didn't sleep very well that night, visualizing my dress bursting open and falling to the floor as I climbed up to the podium to do my reading.
We had no time to fuss with the dresses the next morning. The guys drove us to our appointment at the salon and we begged them to venture out in the pouring rain in search of scarves or material that we could drape down the backs of our dresses. The only store that was open at that hour was Wal-Mart, a chain that I do not ordinarily patronize. This was no ordinary situation. We were planning on sewing, pinning and gluing each other into our dresses and we needed the scarves to hide the evidence. I was in the middle of having a hairdresser do exactly the opposite of what I had requested with my hair when Scott called and reported that Wal-Mart had nothing like what we wanted.
I gave the other bridesmaid the news and we fell into a defeated silence. Then she said, "Call him back. Wal-Mart may not have scarves, but they have a fabric department." Scott was not receptive to the request, as he and his fellow groomsman were already on their way to a restaurant to enjoy a big, greasy breakfast. The salon's receptionist, overhearing my pleas, suddenly stood up and said, "I can't take it anymore. I'm going to Wal-Mart!" She asked us what colour fabric we needed, grabbed her car keys and marched out the door, a woman on a mission.
By the time the guys arrived to pick us up more than two and a half hours later, I had several metres of chiffon, a head full of frizzy ringlets and a pair of raccoon eyes. (The other bridesmaid had not given the hairstylist and make-up artist such latitude, so her look was elegant and understated. I must learn from her.) Scott had managed to find some champagne-coloured material that matched our shoes quite well, far better than the pink chiffon that the well-meaning receptionist had purchased.
We had to race to meet the rest of the wedding party and the photographer. There was no time for sewing and pinning, so I was zipped into my dress and sealed with Krazy Glue. The other bridesmaid decided to forego the glue on her dress, as she needed me to unzip her every so often so that she could take a deep breath. The matron of honour tried to pin the fabric that Scott had found to the back of my dress but she gave up, saying that it looked like I had accidentally caught someone's scarf in my zipper. That was it, then. I was to enter the church with a broken zipper slathered in glue, walk down the aisle past a couple hundred people, and climb the steps of the altar to the podium to deliver my reading. Even the groom couldn't have been as nervous as I was.
Somehow, ladies and gentlemen, it worked out okay. The ceremony was a success, with no unnecessary exposure of flesh. The photo sessions were unremarkable. Three times I climbed into the limo, and three times I climbed out. At the reception I greeted all the guests as they entered the hall, I stood and sat when required, and I danced the minimum number of dances to avoid being perceived as completely anti-social.
When we finally got home, I was prepared to cut my way out of the dress. Much to my surprise, I was able to undo the zipper and remove the bodice without a problem. When I tried to zip it up again, of course, the teeth refused to mesh and the bodice hung open. Scott's repair job was only temporary. The Krazy Glue ended up being a version of Dumbo's feather, giving me just enough confidence to make it through the event.
May I never, ever, ever be asked to be a bridesmaid again. I'll cheer from the sidelines, ladies, and throw all the confetti you could want. But no more single-wear dresses, no more $200 salon appointments at ungodly hours of the morning, no more frantic trips to the 24-hour drugstore at one o'clock am. No more Krazy Glue. No more.