Operation Bridal Recon

Writers, I am on a mission of the utmost romance. And when I say romance, I mean all of the seductive razzmatazz conjured by that most opulent of occurrences:

A wedding.

But I need to log some hours in the research department, because I eloped this year. For the sake of my wallet and blood pressure, I married the human of my dreams without ceremony.

And here’s the predicament with that: I think I really want to try on some of those bridal gowns. You know, the fancy-fancy ones. The poufy numbers that make you wonder Am I going to fit through this door frame? Do I even need a chair to sit down?

I’m drafting a speculative story that takes place in a bridal boutique. Wedding gowns are the core items being described and propelling the plot. They make or break the story, and they’ve been swirling through my mind like a tulle tornado.

I always research as I write. When I wrote a story about a library, I visited libraries. Making observations helped me to revise. When I wrote a story that involved heavy rain, I stepped into a couple of rainstorms, just to make sure I got it right. Research helps me hone my words into something more accurate, more impressionistic, more…believable. Because speculative or not, we want our writing to taste believable. We want that earned suspension of disbelief.

So now that I’m writing a story about voluminous, expensive wedding gowns, I’m a bit out of my depth. How does it feel to pull a cathedral veil? How does it feel to step into a mountain of silk and be zipped or pinned or cinched into a bead-encrusted bodice? To sense the weight of it as you walk?

Imagination is important, but I like it best when paired with exploration. Making the realistic parts of my story precise will make the speculative parts easier to follow. And the fantasy aspect of this story is so out there, I need what plausible bits exist to read effortlessly.

What should I do? My discarded idea is to play the part of “bride-to-be.” To call a boutique and

  1. Pretend I need a wedding dress
  2. Pretend I want to purchase one
  3. Pretend I can afford something extravagant
  4. Waste the time of someone who works by commission

As fun as it sounds to play dress-up, I’m not into the deception. So for the time being, I’m headed to the craft store to fondle some fabrics. I’m all about due diligence, and just now I don’t know charmeuse from chiffon from a hole in the ground.

It might take some time, but I’m excited for this story to work.