Image: One Love Photo


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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#5: Four wedding dresses and an identity crisis

                                                      (Gown by Lazaro)
Dress drama.

I thought that this would be the easy part of the wedding planning process - all I have to do is find something I like that's within my budget. Simple. Right?? Wrong.

It's starts off with this harmless question: How would you like to look on your wedding day? There are lots of looks to choose from, which would usually make the selection process fun and easy. The more freedom, the better, right? Well, for me it felt overwhelming because there is such a thing as too many choices.

If you know anything about me you won't find it surprising that my dress hunt turned into a whole soul-searching, identity crisis thing. (Sigh.) Here's why: Should I...
  • Stick with my usual style, albeit a tad fancier and more expensive (Casual and fun with an I-don't-give-a-rat's-butt-if-this-dress-gets-dirty kinda attitude)
  • Try looking how I've always wanted to look but could never quite pull off (Sexy mama. Woot-woot!)
  • Go for what I drool over in bridal magazines (Vintage! OR flowy, romantic, and bohemian! Yeee!!!)
  • Wear what I won't be embarrassed about 20 years from now (Pretty, simple, classic A-line.)
This is a soul-searching process because choosing a dress involves examining how you perceive yourself, how you would rather perceive yourself, how the world expects you to look, and how you want to be perceived by the world.

So for the past few months I've been grappling with all of these concerns. Here's what happened:

Since I consider myself fun, casual, and unique, I had my heart set (from the day after we got engaged) on wearing a vintage 1950's short dress.

Ooh...fluffy, floaty, and ruched! Plus delicate chiffon rosettes! ("Milan" gown by Dolly Couture)



Fun, flirty, and flattering! ("Beverlywood" gown by Dolly Couture)

Yup, I thought I knew who I was and what I liked. But when it comes to issues of identity, things are never that simple. Or at least not for me.

When I went to David's Bridal out of curiosity, I was surprised to find that I felt so pretty in the long and lace number shown below. (And who knew that I'd ever be so smitten with looking delicate and pretty? This was a shocker for me.)

On a second trip to David's Bridal I put on a hip-hugging gown that the sales lady picked out. This dress made me feel good about curves that I'd previously felt ashamed of. (Holy crap, I think I want to look sexy for once- gasp! So why not try to on my wedding day?)

So, you see...the Dress is not JUST a Dress. It's about who I am and who I wish I was, and finally, reconciling the difference between the two. There are some (advanced?) souls out there who either perceive themselves to be exactly who they hoped they'd be, or perhaps they've come to accept themselves fully, no matter what -- and good for them for feeling at peace with it all. And then...well, there's me.


  1. I had a meltdown when I tried on dresses because the saleswomen weren't listening to me, my mom had no opinion (she loved everything on me)and I hated everything on me. I had to go another time with a friend who actually had an opinion. I found my dress but I cried a lot before I found it.

  2. Aww, man. Crazy! I think if you and I were on "Say Yes to the Dress" we'd make some pretty entertaining reality TV characters. I wasn't in tears but I probably e-mailed my dress maker about 10 times because I kept changing the design of my gown!

  3. I love both the Milan & Beverlywood. Personally I think the Milan may be a bit more comfy since the sleeves on the Beverlywood are a little long (and I'm a short-sleeve dress bride!). But with Dolly you can't go wrong!

  4. Hi Tamar, thanks for checking out my blog! I ended up going with neither the Milan or Beverlywood even though I do love them both. I designed a custom gown (full length skirt, actually), that inspired a new addition to Dolly's official collection! It's called the "Avila Bay". It hasn't made its debut on her site yet, but there is a pic of it in her FB album of custom gowns. (The one with lace illusion sleeves.) Let me know how it goes with your gown!

  5. OMG - yes i saw the short version of this in her storefront window. when i went to pick up the dress we got there before dolly and my fiance and i were just gaping at it. it's so gorgeous and classy and elegant. i showed it to my friend too because i couldn't get over it. i mean, i totally love my dress and it's just what i wanted... but i totally love yours too!

  6. Thank you! If I stuck with a short dress I'd be walking down the aisle in what you saw there in the window. I'm going with a much more traditional style (long, lace, trumpet) just because I fell in love with one at David's Bridal. But of course, I wanted to still wear a Dolly Couture original, so I had her make it. :)

    How are things with your dress? Have you decided yet on the sash/ bow issue?

  7. Did you get the one you are wearing, or the one in the Internet-snagged pic above? (Or are they the same dress and I'm just dense? I don't think they are, because the top one has a V-neck and sleeves and the bottom does not).

    Because I loved the one in the top pic back when I was looking at cut inspiration (not as an actual dress: white is not for me, lace is not for me either) - it's still on my hard drive somewhere...but damn you look great in #2!

  8. I ended up getting a custom dress that's kind of a mix of the two! I kept the v-neck, cap sleeves, and lace (like the David's Bridal dress), but my custom dress gives me more curves (like the strapless one below the DB dress).

    Thanks for your input!

  9. I love this post. I went to David's Bridal because I wanted to try on the long lace dress with the cap sleeves but it didn't fit so well. Then I thought I'd prefer to wear a very simple/no frills dress because that's how I perceive myself to be. But when I tried said dresses on, I didn't really like any of them. I left the store with a strapless lace gown that shows off some of the curves I've never been too fond of, and now I'm sitting with the recognition that I'm a bit fancier than I imagined myself to be!
    -Lauren, NYC

  10. Hi Lauren. NYC in da hiz-ouse!! Welcome to Brave Bride, lady. :)

    Isn't it crazy how much we can surprise ourselves? I'm curious - how does it make you feel to know that you're "fancier" than how you perceived yourself to be? Have you gotten married yet? I'd love to see how it all turned out...


Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

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