Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Wedding Chronicals - "The Dress" Experience

When most people think of a wedding, the first thing to come to mind (besides lots of love and sappiness) is "the dress". 

I'm not one of those girls who has planned her wedding from the time she was a little girl. I was too busy mountain biking, playing sports, climbing trees, or singing at the top of my lungs (often from a tree top) in order to dream about who would be bridesmaids, what they would wear, what kind of flowers I'd have, much less what I would wear!

I didn't start thinking about weddings and attire until I was well into the journey seeking the man I would share my life with. In the past couple years, several of my friends have let me look at wedding gowns with them for their impending weddings. When I started to follow Carly's blog, I started to give the topic more thought.

Yes, as a kid, I was a pretty solid Tom-Boy in a lot of ways, but things also changed as I got older.

The only man I'll ever share my Mickey Bar with.
See, my parents introduced me to theater early on. It's a passion I keep even today by voulenteering for Community Theater whenever I can. So I've also had a chance to experience costumes and dressing up.

This is where I feel a wedding dress is different.

A wedding dress isn't just "dressing up". It's not another costume. Bring a "bride" isn't a scripted role I'll be playing. It's not a character someone else invented. 

It's me. 
It's me marrying my best friend.

And a wedding isn't just an expensive party.

It's a celebration of over a decade of friendship, growth, faith, and love that has lead us to the point where we are ready to step into whatever the future may hold hand-in-hand.

It's an occasion I know I will cherish the memory of when he's deployed under the sea and far away from me, out of contact for months at a time.

So for me the dress is part of a memory I know he'll embrace as well when he's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and missing his wife. (Due to the highly classified nature of his work, we can expect 2 90-day deployments each year, with little to no contact during this time.)

In picking out the dress, I decided I wanted something unique, and startling enough to surprise my friends and family, yet keeping that timeless, classic flavor that best reflects the love Sean and I share.
Yes, every bride wants her groom and her family to think she's beautiful when she gets married. I'm no exception to that. But have you ever heard a groom get to the altar and say, "I... don't. I'm sorry. I just can't marry you in that because I realize how ugly you really are... in that dress. Sorry. Wedding's off until you get some something with more lace."

I sure haven't. And I'm confident that Sean won't run in terror either.

That said, here are a few things that I've been considering when it comes to dresses:

*Budget  - We are trying to pay for this even ourselves. I can't justify blowing our entire budget (which is currently WELL under the average wedding expenditure) on a gown I'm going to wear for 1 day, and then store. By the same token, no one in my bridal party is well off either, so I've exchanged having a matching bridal party for having everyone attend. They will have to travel to our wedding, so I've asked my bridesmaids to find a black dress, roughly knee length. I'll spring for matching wraps or accessories or something to tie them all together. The up side? They'll wear these dresses again, and may already have one in their closet. I wish I could sponsor all of my ladies to travel to us AND not have to worry about what to wear, as they've all been so wonderfully supportive over this last crazy year. They deserve a little vacation as much as I do, and their willingness to help so much with their time and talents for this wedding is truly touching. The least I can do is let them wear something they may not have to buy, and can still feel as beautiful in as they are in my eyes.

* Feeling good in my own skin is up to me - not a dress, but a flattering cut can still help. - I scar. Badly. From everything. It's something that is just part of my DNA and not something I can fight. The most prominent scars are on my left shoulder blade and right shoulder. I could use make-up to cover them or get a gown that covers these areas, but instead I've decided not to give these "flaws" an special attention. Sean knows me for all of who I am, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the scarred. A wedding is a public commitment to acceptance of all Sean and I have to bring to the table.

*White, while never out of season, isn't for everyone. -  The idea of the white wedding gown is fairly new, and Sean and I have something timeless. I tried on a dress accented with strong colors and have decided I love this style. So a true white isn't on my color palette. Ivory, Dark Green, and Gold are in the color palette too.

So in selecting my gown, I'm going to flatter my hour-glass-ish figure, feel beautiful in the colors I've chosen and really just be "me".

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