Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Classic W42 - Big Weddings and Big Dresses

I wrote this post when I was first gripped by fears that my wedding might not be "blogworthy", or worse, not cool.  I forgot for a moment there that I'm not cool, and thought that at least I was cool with the other uncool folks.  But the truth is kids, bloggers with their hip-indie weddings are cool.  Like in high school, the rest of us are just trying to be ourselves without getting swallowed whole.  Just repeat after me: "Do what you want, and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter."  

Lately, I've been gripped by a feeling of inadequacy and insecurity. I look at these gorgeous real weddings, and it seems like for all of them, the bride has a wonderfully simple, flowing or fitting column or mermaid style dress. I'm beginning to feel like maybe I'm dowdy and out of style with my princess dress. It seems like everybody else is rejecting the big puffy ballgown and the traditional wedding. We're rejecting the traditional wedding, so why do I still want to look like a giant cream puff?
To be honest, part of my reason for picking a dress with a fuller skirt was that it's more flattering. I carry most of my extra weight around my midsection, and a full skirt creates the illusion of a more narrow waist. So of course, looking at pictures where the bride is wearing a beautiful, simple dress makes me feel like a total failure because I cannot possibly look that good in a dress that style. I looked ridiculous in all of the mermaid style dresses, and had too much room in the top and not nearly enough in the hips. My dress, which I think is supposed to have a big puffy crinoline, accommodates my pear shapedness quite nicely. Plus I look gorgeous. And I love my dress. And Mark had already told me that he didn't like mermaid style dresses or dresses that didn't look like wedding dresses, but I know he'll like mine. Somehow, none of this knowledge helps.
We're having this wonderful outdoorsy, whimsical, hopefully fun and raucous nature center wedding. And all the inspiration boards I can find for a fantastic forest wedding imply that I should ditch my fabulous ball gown and order a dress from J.Crew. On top of that, simple is trendy. Non-wedding wedding dresses are trendy. And when we get so bombarded by all the latest styles, trends, and fashions on the blogs, well, it's natural to start to feel like we should be doing that too. Subverting the WIC has become so trendy that I'm starting to feel that there's a BIC (Blog-Industrial-Complex) in which we have created this competitive force-field to make our weddings as non-WIC, as interesting and unique as possible. It's like in high school when to be in the cool kids crowd, you had to hate all the popular kids and only buy your clothes from a thrift store and not wear anything from Abercrombie.
Posts by other people who talk about a "wonderfully simple" wedding (which I have seen a lot of lately) just make me feel frustrated and insecure, because we can't have one. And also...I don't want one. And I think it's okay to want a complicated wedding that's a big to-do. Why do we no longer applaud the wonderfully complicated wedding? Or the wedding by the couple that struggled to involve everybody they love in their ceremony even though it made the planning process incredibly difficult? Why don't we talk about the couple who did their wedding by the book, because believe it or not, it is sometimes simpler to just do what the knot and your mother tells you to do? Even the wonderfully simple weddings I've been to, where the bride wore a non-wedding-dress and we did the decorations an hour before the ceremony, have been enormously complicated. Constantly telling people that weddings can, or should be, "wonderfully simple" is going to give us all a complex.
So lets be real here. Let's tell it like it is. Life is complicated and weddings are not, cannot be, an exception. We do what we can to keep the process sane, to keep the budget under control, to keep our families happy, to stay true to ourselves. Even our engagement party, for half as many people as our wedding, is starting to turn into a complicated mess. And you know why? Because life is complicated. So I think that we should all try to remember that, and also, as always, weddings aren't like high school where you had to do what everybody else did to stay in the cool kids crowd. And maybe if you do, that's not a crowd you want to be a part of. Also lets remember that simple is as simple does, and what looks wonderfully simple to people who write about a wedding from the outside may not have any idea what went into the planning, and maybe it's not so simple after all. 

I would also like to point out that my puffy princess dress took me 4 hours shopping, total, to find.  Sounds pretty simple to me!


  1. Personally, I'm really tired of seeing all the indie weddings on the blogs. They think they're so unique and untraditional, but the truth is is that they all look the same. They're not unique to me anymore because the web is saturated with them.

  2. This is a great post. Even though I COMPLETELY get it, I think it is a little crazy you felt like you had to defend wearing a big princessy dress to your wedding.

  3. Great post. I hear ya!

    I'm getting married in Feb. 2011 and we are having a higher budget, fairly modern wedding. More and more, I feel "judged" because I'm paying a $2500 for flowers, that I'm not having a ton of "DIY" details, or I didn't do everything I possibly could to make my wedding "lower budget".

    Different people want different things out of their weddings. For us, we are spending a crap ton of money on the wedding. But that's OUR decision, and OUR money--why should anyone else judge us for that? Why does someone CARE that we want a wedding that is a little more traditional?

    Our wedding will not be blogworthy. Our wedding is a bit of a "production" and is not in any way "simple". It's a wedding that represents us--a little high maintenance, and pretty entertaining.

    At 4 months out, I've developed the mindset "if they can't say something nice, eff them". It's bitchy, but I'm done with judgmental comments on my wedding. Don't like it? Don't come. Don't read my blog. End of story.

    P.S--I have a poufy princess dress too :)

  4. I'm definitely not much of an indie or creative person when it comes to our wedding. I want a wedding dress that looks like a wedding dress!

  5. I just got married in June, and while our budget forced us to see the beauty in some details being "wonderfully simple," I can definitely relate to how you feel about the dress. I went dress shopping and found out that while I really wished I was the kind of chic laid-back bride that would have a simple evening gown style dress, they just didn't feel special enough. I was never going to get to wear a wedding dress again! I wanted lace and an underskirt and a train!

    Its impossible to not feel like you might be missing out on something after you pick your dress, because there are SO MANY styles. As long as you feel beautiful, thats what matters

  6. PRINCESS DRESSES ARE DA BOMB! I know what you mean though. I knew from the start that I wanted a princess dress, but I still felt the pressure for a sleek mermaid, especially because those actually kind of look better on me. But I know in the end that I never would have been happy with another dress...and I'm trying to sell the first dress I bought to prove it.

    There's so much pressure to make your wedding look amazingly awesome and perfect, but when I feel overwhelmed by everything I have to do and everything I want to do, I just remember that most of the guests know nothing about wedding trends, and then I feel better.