Here’s some dress shopping math: Seven stores. Ten dresses per trip to the fitting room. That adds up to a whopping 70 dresses tried by Jennifer for her son Cade’s July 2023 wedding—all in the course of one month.
“Over and over again, I would try on different styles, colors, and fabrics," Jennifer recounts. "I wanted to give different styles a chance, but it became daunting as I couldn’t find anything I loved.”
This mother of the groom was about to settle for a pink dress at Neiman Marcus that she liked, but didn't love, when her mom convinced her to try just one more store: Dallas special occasion shop Terry Costa. “I didn’t want to go in—I had already been to three other stores that day with my mom, but she convinced me.”
Jennifer tends to favor the anonymity of shopping a department store where she can browse and try on dresses without feeling like she's being watched. The Terry Costa experience changed her view of boutique shopping.
“They have a great eye and have seen most of the dresses on people, so they can tell you what style might fit you best,” Jennifer says. “I pulled three dresses and took them to the fitting room where Ann, the sales associate, pointed to the black one and said, ‘This is your dress.'’’
Jennifer gave her a polite chuckle, thinking, after 70 dresses, it couldn’t possibly be that easy.
“Surprisingly, I put the black dress on and it took my breath away! I said to my mom: ‘This is the one!’”
Initially, Jennifer shied away from strapless because “I didn’t like the way my arms looked.” But those fears slipped away in the black Terani Couture with its fitted bodice, draped and gathered to one side with a slight train.
“It felt amazing to finally be done with dress shopping after finding a gorgeous black dress!”
The wedding took place on a country estate in the North Texas hills. Cade and his bride Maddie grew up in the same town, but lost touch after high school. They reconnected after college and, Jennifer says, "They are the sweetest couple. When they look at each other, you can see the admiration for each other in their eyes."
Jennifer couldn't help thinking how much her father—known to his grandchildren as "Pa" would have loved seeing Cade get married. He passed away a year ago, but his presence was felt: before the wedding, Jennifer presented her son with his grandpa's fingerprint charm. Cade carried it in his pocket all day.
| Photography by Maddie Ray