Ah, the wedding dress. The supposed focal point of the entire day. I started off not believing in this. I kept telling myself that I would find the perfect dress on my own terms, from whatever store I wanted, and that it was my sole decision. I quietly bought a dress online after a month of being engaged, sight unseen, received it alone, and loved it immediately. It was very much my style – elegant, feminine, whimsical, romantic. It wasn’t bridey at all, had few embellishments, and was downright cheap at $200. I didn’t want to make a big deal about dress shopping. I’m self conscious enough about my body as is, the last thing I wanted to do was draw any more attention to it (despite this body-positive post on A Practical Wedding that I read almost daily).
In July I semi-reluctantly agreed to go dress shopping with my mom and sister. I waved a hand at the thought, knowing I was confident with my original choice, “dress shopping” only for posterity. That was where everything came to a screeching halt. I tried on several dresses at the shop, received constructive and helpful input from everyone involved, and then ended up conflicted. Of course. Here are the things that changed my mind, in order:
1) The shop. I went to Camilla’s in Arlington, MA which I cannot say enough amazing things about. Read my Yelp review, you’ll understand.
2) My mom and sister’s opinions. And by that I mean their honest opinions. They pointed out all of the flaws in the dresses I tried on. It sounds harsh but it was more helpful that way. I knew each dress was pretty, that’s not really the feedback that was going to help me buy a dress. Objective opinions on fit, style, shape, price point, and modernity is what I couldn’t see myself that they pointed out.
3) John’s opinion. He expected something bridey, extravagant, show stopping. I didn’t know!
4) My own deliberations on what I wanted to look back and remember about the dress. I struggled for a long time with vanity vs. practicality, timeless vs. timely, comfort vs. function. I gave it a lot of thought.
5) The dress as a concept. The dress is a concept in a way much like the venue or food, etc. These things dictate a very specific level of elegance and style that accompany your wedding day. It’s unavoidable. And is very important to me.
5) The dress itself. The Second Dress is quite bridey, I mean, it is definitely a wedding dress (lace, beading, a train). It’s dramatic and beautiful. It creates a silhouette to die for, I couldn’t believe that it was my body in this dress!
And I purchased the Second Dress! No pictures here, sorry all. But I can tell you some things: it’s a Maggie Sottero dress, it’s both modern and vintage feeling, it will be freakin’ snug (because it is corseted), but it is blindingly beautiful and I cannot wait to get married in it.
In the game of wedding planning there are two extremes: lambasting tradition and blindly accepting tradition. I knew I didn’t want either but in a way wanted both. As we plan our wedding I realize everyday that it’s the biggest learning experience I’ve ever had. There are just things I don’t know, that I need help deciding on. I’ll say it again, I have no interest in being a bridal island. That doesn’t mean I’m admitting defeat or shirking my own individuality. It just means I have open headspace and that I don’t doubt myself.