Gilman, pictured Jan. 5, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C.,
found her wedding dress for a bargain price on
N.C. — When we were girls, my sister and I joked that
we would marry our future husbands in the backyard,
barefoot, and the reception would be a potluck. And
though I filled a hope chest with doilies and cooking
supplies, I never dreamed up any other details of that
"perfect day," such as a color scheme or a
when the Marine veteran I love proposed two months ago,
I was caught somewhat unprepared. After flirting with
thoughts of eloping that very night, we decided instead
to have a proper wedding. We’d invite lots of friends,
wed at my old country church and have a big feast.
meant that I had better start to dream.
mother and I plotted to alter her wedding dress from the
1980s — a Victorian-style gown complete with puffed
sleeves. Not knowing what I wanted it to look like —
except that I did want it to look unlike this one — I
turned to Google images for ideas.
my search for "wedding dress" became
"chiffon wedding dress"; and finally,
"chiffon wedding dress with cap sleeves."
an image of a flowy, chiffon wedding gown stopped me in
was beautiful. A band of delicate flowers trailed from
the left shoulder of the tulle cap sleeves down the
front and around the back. The base fell into a subtle
train. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
clicked on the image.
a Chinese company, had posted it on Etsy.com. I’d
heard about Etsy, where small-business owners sell their
creative, often handmade wares. Handmade?
the price was incredibly low: The company wanted $252
and $30 for shipping for the custom order.
I read all of the reviews of Airuisha on Etsy. Online
scams were fresh in my mind after narrowly avoiding a
travesty while buying a car on Craigslist. Some of the
reviews of Airuisha were scathing, from "This
company is bad news!" to "I didn’t get what
I ordered." Most, however, were favorable, and the
company had a four out of five star rating.
looked at the dress, looked at the reviews and looked
back at the dress. Needing a sanity check, I called my
for $280, what could you lose? And it might work out
fine," he said. With 10 years of experience in the
military, he doesn’t tend to panic at the little
things that rattle me. So I calmed down and ordered the
had questions about the logistics (and safety) of making
the payment online, so I reached out to the seller, and
we had a conversation over Skype.
the end of our call, I was confident Airuisha was
legitimate, and I made the payment over PayPal.
dress came two weeks ago, sealed in a plastic bag. Alone
in my apartment, I carefully cut it open and tried it
on. The flowers droop a bit, but that’s nothing a
needle and thread won’t fix. And it even zipped —