The time-honored tradition of wedding dress shopping can be so pure and so wonderful. It is a time when family and friends gather together to help the bride-to-be select the gown that she will wear before the eyes of God as she vows eternal love to her spouse. The bride may browse hundreds of dresses before choosing the one that is just right for her, and all the while, she is given gracious and well-intentioned advice from family, friends and, of course, the sales associate. At the age of 19, I had never wondered what the bride-to-be must feel like in those moments, but thankfully, I got a glimpse into a similar world as I was apartment hunting this year.
All that my posse of roommates and I wanted was to find a place that we could make into a home during the following year. All that we had to do was pick one apartment — no big deal! Just like an engaged woman, I had already decided the people whom I would be contractually linked with for a period of time, and this was just a small part of the process. In hindsight, the apartment or the dress should not be the focus when building a happy home or a happy marriage. But, let me tell you, as seen in shows like “Say Yes to the Dress,” it makes a BIG difference and causes a hellUVA lot of stress in the short-run. Sadly for those of you tuning in to the story of my life, there was not a camera crew, a sassy aunt or a televised meltdown in this episode. However, highlights in this episode include a sassy realtor, a crushing sense of reality and many other fun perks.
Our first step was to make an appointment to tour the apartments. We met our “realtor” in an office building that was un-ironically bougie and looked eerily similar to the lair of Fegan Floop in “Spy Kids 2.” Her personality was very Randy-esque — the fun and sassy sales associate in “Say Yes to the Dress” — without an iconic sense of style. Although we did not come in with magazine clippings nor had we made a Pinterest board of ideas, we did have a list of things that we wanted in our prospective home. She talked to us through her deceptive seeming smile about all of our wonderful options as we toured a variety of places. Just like when wedding dress shopping, we didn’t fall in love with the first one we saw. No big deal — we then saw about 12 others.
The idealized version of wedding dress shopping is much more romantic than in reality and I am here to report the same is true for apartment hunting. The professionals in each situation like to say that you have a lot of choices, but you do not. Like the women on “Say Yes to the Dress,” my roommates and I had a budget. And we made the same mistake that the women in the show do when they try on the most expensive dress in the store — we toured the nicest and most expensive apartment they had to offer. BIG MISTAKE! For the brides who try on the designer dresses, all the rest of the off-the-rack gowns fall short after you’ve had the cream of the cream-colored crop.
Like them, we were just not having that “Yes!” moment after seeing what an apartment that has monthly rent equal to the price of a first year meal plan. Unlike the brides on the show, we did not have a rich parent who just needed to be persuaded, nor did we have an NFL-star brother who wanted to spoil us. So, we settled for the apartment equivalent of off-the-rack, and that’s just alright.
By the end, I did not feel like an adult making a life decision. Instead I felt like the bride-to-be standing on the pedestal, surrounded by the tear-stained faces of my loved ones and the sales associate being pressured
to say yes to the dress to sign a 12-month lease!
Riley Power is a Humor Columnist at The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com.