There is a lot of pressure put on wedding dresses. They have to be the most beautiful thing you’ll ever wear, they also have to please your mother, show off the groom’s favorite assets, be conservative enough for your dad, be completely you, be trendy yet traditional (because that makes sense), be a certain percent of the budget, and twenty-thousand other things. I’m here to tell you that’s all bullshit. There are only 2-3 criteria your dress must fulfill: make you feel good, make you happy, and fit in your budget. That’s it.
If your groom loves your boobs but the dress has a high neck and makes you look amazing, get it. If the dress has a plunge neckline that your dad might have a stroke over but you feel like a million bucks, get it. If you fall in love with a form fitting trumpet when you thought you’d marry in a ball gown, I give you permission to get it.
I also had assumptions about my dress. I assumed it would be open backed with a long train but without a high neck. (Shocking I didn’t find such a thing.) I assumed it would have some off the shoulder detail and cost hundreds of dollars. I assumed I would struggle to lose weight so I could drop a couple dress sizes to fit into a trunk show dress. I assumed I would get it at a bridal shop while trying on dozens of dresses as my mom critiqued and oohed in turn.
None of that happened.
I did go dress shopping with my mother. Between two shops I tried on 8 dresses. She raved over some, was critical of others. She tried to convince me to buy a couple.
But I didn’t get any.
Months later I was perusing the mall. One shop was beginning to put out prom dresses. I had time so I looked around. I saw a white off the shoulder dress with understated lace on the bodice. I immediately fell in love with it.
But I didn’t get it. I didn’t even try it on. This was a prom dress. It was less than $150 and it was at a mall. There was no way it could be my dress. I kept thinking about it. It would tease the back of my thoughts as I searched in vain for a wedding dress that fit my expectations and my budget.
Weeks later I was going through the budget again. I was trying to figure out how much I had to save per month. More than anything I just wanted the wedding to happen. If that meant we had to skimp on food fine, cheaper dress fine, less or no booze, all fine. As long as we said I do in front of family and friends I would be happy.
I thought about the dress again. The next day after work I went straight to the mall hoping against hope that dress was still there. It was, in my size. I tried it on and it was everything. At $130 it had lace, it was off the shoulder. It was made of stretch material so it fit me like a glove. It even had a tiny bit of a train.
I immediately sent a video to my mother and waited as the phone ringed.
“Open your messenger.”
“Hello to you too.”
After several moments my mother opened her computer and saw the video.
“Oh, that’s beautiful. Are you still at the store?”
“I’m currently in the dressing room still wearing it.”
After getting my mother’s approval all my apprehension went away. This was my dress. I no longer cared that it was technically a prom dress. I know longer cared I was getting it “alone”. I no longer cared about the cheap price tag. I loved it, she loved it, it was as good as mine.
And not a moment too soon. As I left the dressing room, I saw another girl trying on the same dress, the only other one in the store. She was looking for a prom dress. I saw her hang it back up shaking her head no as it was the wrong size.
I gave a relieved breath. If I had come even minutes later, she may have bought the dress that was then in my hands. I nearly missed out on my perfect dress because of my assumptions. Don’t do the same.