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Staying Loyal to My Wedding Dress

Spring Day in New York

I bought my wedding dress months ago.

I’m not getting married for over a year.

I’ve procrastinated on mostly everything else wedding related.

And now that I have her, and still have to visit wedding web sites to find ideas for all the boring stuff, I am fighting the temptation to cheat—to spend hours online flirting with other dresses. I’m trying to remember how we fell in love, and how much I’ve invested (literally).

Weddings are anxiety breeding ground. I could look at thousands of slight variations of the same thing, like a white dress or a bouquet, for days, each time imagining some profound effect that particular choice might have. It can consume me, even though I’m pretty sure my actual choice won’t matter much in the long run. We’ll have bigger days. We’ll take other photos.

But I do want to have fun. That’s pretty much all I want.

How I Found My Wedding Dress

I wasn’t planning to buy my wedding dress so soon. She was unplanned, and completely unlike what I had expected to wear on my wedding day. Maybe wedding dresses are like dogs in that way, “You get the dress you need…

It started on Facebook. The creepily accurate ad bots fed me a picture of a gorgeous gown by a designer who has a boutique in Manhattan. This was not a wedding gown per se, but white is in right now. I was going to Manhattan for work the following week, so I called my best girlfriend in the city and asked if she’d come play dress up. I called my mom next, and assured her, “This is just a try-on. I will not be buying anything up there.”

“Go have fun,” she said.

It was a classic New York spring day. The picture proves it. The boutique was lively. We grabbed the dress we’d come for and the only other white dress in the store, just to have an extra thing to try on—to make the trip worthwhile.

The gown we came for looked …blah. In the pictures my friend took of me in it, you can see it on my face. Just blah. It didn’t feel right: heavy, confining. It looked great on the hanger.

The second dress, the one we grabbed for kicks, looked a little odd on the hanger. On me, though; My friend gasped and said, “That is your dress.”

I sent my sister a picture and she said, “I have never seen a dress that is more you.”

And me, I could not stop smiling, or spinning, or dancing. And those are the three most important bridal duties.

Keeping My Commitment

This is not a major designer, and the very model I had on happened to be worn by an up-and-coming starlet to a minor awards event, which was picked up on a few websites. It was selling out. They had one left in my size.

My friend snuck online with her phone, in the dressing room, to verify. It was true.

The thought of leaving my dress, the only one in the world that fit me, made me all panicky. A lot of things make me panicky, but this time I could very clearly picture myself trying on dresses on pedestals, surrounded by loved ones, pining away after the one I let go, just because it seemed too soon.

Since the dress was nothing like what I had planned, I tried to talk myself out of it that way. I voiced these doubts out loud, even though they sounded fake in my head, and the (very good) sales girl said, simply, “You set the tone. You. Set. The tone.” I think she hypnotized me a little.

“I do set the tone!” I said.

“I’ll take it.”

And everything was sunshine and rainbows for weeks.

But since then, with roughly 13 months to go, doubt sets in intermittently. That she’s not the right dress. That the tone I’m setting is crap. That I’ll regret not looking around more, for something better.

Because isn’t there always something better? This industry is designed to make brides second guess themselves, to set insane standards, and to give in to the temptation to spend more. No thanks.

Me and my dress are very happy together. For now.

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