wedding dress shopping

Wedding dress shopping is a really interesting phenomenon. The experience of shopping for your Perfect Dress parallels a lot of what they say that your Perfect Romance is supposed to be like.

“Supposed to be” — key words that turn on alarm bells in my head, cause of this season I’m in, you know.

Are you supposed to have that THIS-IS-IT feeling that all the TV show brides-to-be talk about? Are you supposed to cry tears of joy? Are you supposed to ring that bell as you commit to your dress, hoot and holler and make everyone’s heads turn with your choice?

Are you supposed to be flooded with emotion? Are you looking for a tingle in your tummy? Will there be a light bulb moment over your disheveled little head?

I’m skeptical. As I have been, throughout this entire wedding planning process. Just questioning all the “supposed to do’s” and “supposed to be’s” because there are endless ways to spend your money on this single (admittedly, very special,) day.

This high-stakes decisionmaking based on a fleety feeling is also an interesting kind of logic, because, how the heck are you supposed to know what “perfect” feels like, if you’ve never found the perfect wedding dress before? How are you supposed to know what “bridal” feels like, if you’ve never been a bride before? How are you supposed to feel about hemlines and trains when you’ve never ever worn a dress for gettin’ married in before? I don’t have any personal context for any of these questions.

They’re all borrowed ideas, you know. Those ideas in your head of what you think you’re supposed to look and feel like. From TV shows and Pinterest boards and wedding blogs — they hail from all corners of the internet, in loud, ringing voices. But you’ve never actually been here before — it’s totally new territory — so it’s probably an okay thing that you feel awkward and a lil out of place in those expensive white dresses. As a first-time, usually mostly casual kind of gal, my bride-to-be-ness feels a little uncomfortable and discouraging in some of these dresses.

But I totally do get that tingly feeling sometimes while shopping — about the perfect pair of jeans, cuffed to just the right leg length, or a silky dress in mustard yellow. So the feeling itself is real, is attainable. I know that. It must be the context that’s throwing things off.

[Western] Weddings — and all things wedding related — are probably one of the most hyped up of human experiences. They hit that sweet spot of a marketing perfect storm, swirling somewhere between Specialness and Ubiquity — lots of people have them, but all with the hopes of only doing it once. With the exception of wedding planners, you’ll never get to practice enough times to get good at the thing, but there’s incredible pressure for you to present, sometimes to hundreds of guests, a Perfect event.

The only hope, really, is to remember yourself and to remember your main purpose (psst: it’s to get married and to have enough money left over so that you can live life after the wedding day too). And ask, once in a while, along the way:

Who are you, and how do you normally dress? Is that the way you want to present yourself at your wedding, as your normal-days self? Or are you looking for something different?

And, seriously, how do you LOOK in the dress? If ya look good and ya know it, you’ll feel it. (Clap your hands!) And that’s a virtuous cycle, if I’ve ever seen one.

And, of yeah — if you don’t know what it is that looks good on you, try on lots of different silhouettes, cause what your heart leaps at might surprise you. Those feelings are sneaky.

What the heck. What am I doing here. Shopping for wedding dresses. Blogging about the experience. Okay the blogging part, that feels right. Is it still you, ladisonmee?? When did you become a lady who shops for wedding dresses and has feelings about different kinds of white fabric? Life is a mystery.


Update, 3/4/17:

Found it.

Had the feeling.

Don’t care that I am a foolish girl; I’m excited for this dress.

Emotional support cred goes to RH on the journeys to and from Annapolis on this drizzly Saturday.

IMG_1738
and props to mompops Lee, who dashed all the way up to nova to inspect my rash purchase and promptly took it home to Charlottesville to get second opinions on how to get the thing altered to fit me. I am well loved.

 

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