Friday, April 16, 2010

Dress stress - a decision?

I'm definitely keeping that question mark on the end. I'm making a dress decision and lack of time is making this decision final, but I'm sure doubts are going to resurface. And that's ok. I'll just have to deal with it. Because I've given this a LOT of thought and I have to trust myself in making this decision. I have to know that I made the best decision for myself that I could in this moment...and however it turns out in the end - whether I love or regret my dress decision - that's all I can ask from myself.

I'm sticking with my current dress and am going to focus my energies on making that dress mine. Its a great, flattering dress, and I'm sure it will make me feel special. Plus, my mister's jaw is going to drop. And that is all I need to feel great in any dress!

Now on to the Dress Stress Lesson of the Day!

Our culture puts enormous pressure on women to look beautiful on a daily basis. Mucho money is wrapped up in the beauty industry – they show us these false, unattainable ideals and the dollars flow in as we try to achieve that photoshopped look. (Ok, we stand no chance when up against a photoshopped Jessica Alba. Not even Jessia Alba stands a chance against a photoshopped Jessica Alba!) It’s no wonder then, that with “one big day”, the pressure is just unimaginably amplified. And I’m not sure how to combat it. There are lots of great discussions about it, and I think the best we can do it support each other and work to reaffirm ourselves. Over and over. Because this shit is well ingrained.

Even with my best efforts, I feel prey to expectations hardcore. I may have tried to deny it, but I was totally shopping for the ‘one’, ‘perfect’ dress. Even though I think that ideal is BS, I wanted it to be perfect. And I somehow expected to find this one perfect dress for under 500 bucks!? What bizzaro world was I living in!?

One of the things I most feared most was looking too ‘bridal’ (whatever that means). I don’t feel like a typical bride, so I didn’t want to look like a typical bride. I was scared that if I did people would place typical judgments on me – like spending frivolously, being shallow, being bossy, and all those horrible, stereotypical, and downright nasty labels. It’s hopeless to worry about what other people think, though. No matter what I choose, there are going to be people who think I should have done it differently. So eff it.

Perhaps the best thing I learned through all this dress stress and searching for the perfect dress to represent me is this; I simply can not be summed up by one dress. No dress, no matter how beautiful or well crafted, can represent the complex person that is me. I am bigger than any dress. I can shine more brightly than any fabric put together can. The dress is merely going to provide, for one day in my life, an accent to my already bright self– and that’s all I need. It may not be the "one" but its MY dress.

(Note: That’s my pep talk to myself. But I also want to say thank you all for your support and helpful comments! The blog community has been crucial for keeping my sanity. I can’t even imagine the mess I would be in without the safe and sane sounding board that blog land provides. Thanks you thank you thank you!)


  1. Yeah, Jen! Own that dress! I'm glad to see a follow up post to the dress stress because it sounds like you're in a better, happier place with your decision. I always appreciate reading the follow up posts because 1. it reminds me that regardless of our budgets, our wedding colors, or the size of our guest list- we're all worrying and overcoming the same things and 2. it's encouraging to listen to another bride who doesn't pretend to know all the answers at first and isn't afraid to now know the answers all the time. Sometimes you just have to blog it out, hear helpful words from other people and then make your own decision. I think you said it best- we have to trust ourselves and our decisions and know it's the best we could do. (You and Josh must be the smartest folks ever because he had similar advice for me last night.)

  2. You put it beautifully- "No dress, no matter how beautiful or well crafted, can represent the complex person that is me. I am bigger than any dress. I can shine more brightly than any fabric put together can."

    Although you seem to give yourself a very insightful and powerful pep-talk, I would talk to your guy about this. Hearing him say how beautiful you are to him always will fix image issues.

    On your wedding day, you will look like YOU, just "you" getting married. Loony smiles, happy tears, and sweaty dancing. Enjoy it, forget that dress until you put it on that day.

  3. Thanks so much ladies!
    @Angie - You are right, its so helpful to blog it out. And also, I'm glad that me sharing my crazy is helpful! I think we all do go through similar things and its nice to have blog land as support! :)
    @P,S - When I was super stressed about it I talked with the Mister and he made me cry even more. he says, "You could walk down the aisle in your jeans and t-shirt and you would still be the most beautiful woman in my world." Hearing that makes the dress stress just WHOOOOOSH away!