Home Event Planning Wedding Dresses: The Sea of a Million Gowns

Wedding Dresses: The Sea of a Million Gowns

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If I hear the term “dream dress” one more time…

Wedding dress shopping has been a weird task. The idea that people everywhere descend to speciality stores to rifle through the largest plastic bags you’ve ever seen to pull out constructions of tulle, lace, beading, and who knows what else, in the hopes that one of the gowns produces just the right amount of approval from the person and their entourage to the point where they cry, lay down a credit card, and drink champagne, is a very strange custom to begin with.

When it came to planning a budget wedding, I knew one thing: I was paying for this dress myself. Wedding dresses are rumored to be hideously expensive for a good reason. Moreover, I didn’t like white/ivory/eggshell/creme/off-white dresses and certainly not enough to spend several thousands dollars on one.

Then I thought about what I would do with the dress after the wedding. It would probably sit next to the dress I wore for my dad’s retirement party. Worn once, too formal to wear again, and now too small for me to fit into. Am I really supposed to fork over funds I didn’t have for a few hours in a dress I would probably never touch again?

People like to get sentimental about dresses and it’s easy to see why. But at the end of the day, few people wear their wedding gowns to the grocery store, and fewer still can afford to put a mortgage payment towards their wardrobe for a handful of hours at a party. At the rate I was going, I didn’t have the money or storage space to be sentimental.

As for the, “your daughter could wear your wedding dress at her wedding one day!” argument: can we all agree that this argument needs to die a slow and painful death? I can’t have and don’t want kids and even if I did, who’s to say, I would have a daughter, who’s to say that daughter would want to get married? Who’s to say that daughter would want to wear a dress to her wedding? And who wants to spend all of their time trying to piece together the life of someone who doesn’t even exist, just in case they might want my wedding dress?

Because I don’t.

As I continued searching for a dress, I realized the more dresses I looked at, the less I knew what I wanted, and the more frustrated I was becoming. Finding formal wear when you’re a size 22/24 is hardly a walk through a field of daisies. Trying to find reasonably-priced formal wear for plus sizes is even more difficult.

I set a $100 total price limit on my wedding dress search. The price limit included alterations, shipping, tax, so on and so on. After Facebook learned I was looking for plus size formal wear, it started helpfully (?) throwing up ads to clothing stores which ranged from gowns in the $1000s to dresses that didn’t go past size 16.

Eventually, the clouds parted, heavenly light washed over me and iPhone, and there, was a dress. I decided, “yeah, that will work.” $35, including tax, shipping, and a Honey coupon later, I had a wedding dress.

On one hand it feels like I was pushing myself towards finding some kind of dress perfection and failed at finding it. But on the other hand, perfection is never a good goal.

My fiance and I booked our honeymoon trip a few days ago. I find myself more excited about going on a cruise to the Bahamas than picking out a piece of clothing to wear for a few hours.

It’s difficult to look a well-loved societal expectation in the face and tell it, “This isn’t working for me.” But the good news is that having a wedding should be a reflection of your own values, not those you were told to have. If something doesn’t work for you, there are other options out there. Sometimes you just need Facebook ads and entirely too much free time to browse the internet.

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