Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Say No To The Dress

So I’ve been watching a lot of Say Yes to the Dress lately--because we don’t have cable, it’s on Netflix instant, and I am kind of strangely fascinated with it--and I’ve noticed a few things I just had to talk about.  

First off, I know that styles change and people have their own personality and we’re all special butterflies of uniqueness who just want to express our individual inner beauty, but does ANYONE pick a dress that’s not completely hideous?  In all of the episodes I have seen (which at this point is a substantial number), there have been maybe two dresses I would even consider wearing.  Maybe.  If there were no other choices on the entire earth.

Second of all, I know it can be hard when your body type doesn’t fit what’s popular right now, but you have to know what looks good on you and what doesn’t.  For example, I look absolutely horrible in anything that’s long and strapless.  I’m way way WAY too short for that nonsense, and the effect of me in a long strapless wedding dress would be akin to that of a half-melted candle.  I’m just too stumpy.  So!  Body type: identified.  Things that do not look good on me personally: long and strapless.  It isn’t that hard.  And yet, these girls seem to choose what’s most popular and NOT what looks good on them, over and over and over again.  If you’re well-endowed in the chestal area and have shoulders like a linebacker, don’t go for something that’s strapless and straight across the top.  You’re probably going to look like a refrigerator wearing a wedding dress.  Instead, maybe listen to the stylist (who does, you know, do this for a living) and at least try on a halter option or two.  

Third, let’s be reasonable here people!  I mean, I am coming at this from the complete opposite angle than most of the girls on the show (since I’m the world’s biggest cheapskate who figures that if I ever get married my mom can probably whip up something on her 40-year old sewing machine, right?) but it’s ONE DAY.  It’s ONE DRESS.  It should not cost more than my first and second cars combined, especially if it’s way over your budget and you choose to purchase it anyway because “it just looks so pretty!”  If you start to think that these prices are reasonable, here’s what you do.  Step out of the dress.  Put your street clothes back on, go outside, and walk away from the store.  Get a few blocks from the scene of the crime and you will realize that an $11,000 Pnina Tournai dress is not absolutely essential to your lifetime of marital bliss.  Hey, if you have the budget to spend as much as you want on the dress and that’s the absolute best thing you could ever think of to do with that cash, go ahead and knock yourself out.  Keep Pnina in business.  The other 99% of y’all need to realize that in some places this amount is a down payment on a house, not something you should impulsively spend on one dress that you will only wear once.  And if you do have that kind of change, maybe you could put it in a high-interest savings account, not spend it on something whose cost-per-wear is in the thousands of dollars.  

Fourth, I cannot help but wonder if some of these girls are conflating their anxiety over the search for the perfect dress with their anxiety about having ended their search for the perfect guy.  Most of them seem genuinely excited about getting married, and I’m super happy for them.  That part where they show the pictures of the couple and get all sappy?  I love that shit.  But.  There are a few girls every season who just can’t let go, can’t commit to a dress.  And their rhetoric around “settling” for a dress becomes really...weird.  They say things like “But what if I find a better dress?  One that’s more perfect for me? I just don’t want to stop looking because it needs to be perfect and know me and my body and my soul and be the absolute best dress and what if I haven’t found it yet?  I have to keep looking!”  And then Randy, in his infinite wisdom, will say something like “It’s like looking for the perfect guy. When you find him you just know. And then you stop searching.”  And instead of looking happy and relieved, the girls look even more panicked.  Like if they find the most perfect wedding dress, that means the wedding (and maybe also the marriage) will be perfect by extension.  I’m not married, but I don’t think that’s how it works.

I know it’s much easier for me, as a single, never-married person, to say all of this, and rather tongue-in-cheek at that.  But I have a big problem with how weddings and marriage are often talked about in this country.  I don’t understand why they have to be so expensive.  I don’t understand why there has to be so much pressure, most of it falling on the bride, for everything to be big and fancy and perfect.  And I sure as hell don’t understand why people keep buying Pnina Tournai dresses.  They. Are. Hideous. (Sorry Pnina! You seem really nice!)


Kaorichan said...

Since I ordered my wedding dress in November, I have watched Say Yes to the Dress exactly ONCE. It gives me anxiety to watch it. Pre-engagement I loved that show.

1. Totally agree with flattering your body type and not just choosing what's popular. This girl next to me during my appt. must have been about 250 lbs and kept trying on frilly ballgown dresses with petals/feathers/layers and she looked like a big round poof ball. NOT flattering.(Altho very entertaining)

2. On the other hand, be open to everything. I was sure that the dress style I picked was one that I would look horrible in, b/c I've watched 23489723 episodes of Say Yes... and knew what would look good/bad on my body type. Wroooong. I tried this dress on "just for fun" since according to the rules it would never work, and it ended up being the one!

3. Why would anyone WANT to try on hundreds of dresses? It's fun, but it's also exhausting, stressful, and time consuming. I found my dress on the first day of my search, at the second store, and haven't looked back since. And I'm still SUPER excited about it. If you need to try on 300 dresses and can't commit, maybe you need to rethink your LIFELONG commitment to your fiance.

4.I did not spend $11,000 on my dress, but I will say, in the moment, it's easy to "not care" what the cost of the dress is when you're in it and you love it and never want to take it off ;)

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I've watched Say Yes to the Dress for years now. I was fascinated with it before marriage, during engagement and after marriage. What I've discovered (now that I've also entered parenthood) is wedding mean different things to different people. You and I both are practical people who very much get that a wedding is just one day. But, for a lot of women, their wedding day is something they have dreamed of since childhood. It's definitely more than a day, because it's deeply ingrained in their psyche that to be married is a achieving such a monumental milestone that the wedding must match the achievement. Plus, some women really like to be the center of attention ... dress shopping? You're definitely the center of attention and some women just don't want to let go of that. So, I watch that show being thankful for who I am, but also truly enjoying getting to see dress shopping through the eyes of women whose fairytales are coming true!

Alice said...


i totally agree! with everything! although the OTHER thing i can't get over on this show is how much the MOMS project their own feelings/opinions onto their child. like, mom, that's great that YOU PERSONALLY would prefer a turtleneck on your wedding dress, but refusing to pay for a dress that *you* wouldn't wear - or worse, telling your beaming daughter that she looks ugly/fat/terrible in a dress she loves - is maybe a liiiittttle controlling.

Alice said...

(this is not to say, btw, that i don't think moms [or whoever] should gently nudge a gal out of a dress she looks terrible in, due to the aforementioned body type situation. but most of the times the women look gorgeous, but the mom "doesn't like mermaid dresses," and then is a raging ho-face to her own daughter about it.)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I have never really watched that show, but I think I am not missing anything. Who needs to be even more annoyed with society? Not me.

I am like you, a single, never been married or shopped for a wedding dress, practical (or you may call it cheap) person. So I don't really understand all the hype. It's one day and then? You have a "down payment for a house" sitting in your closet. That is the worst investment I have ever heard of. You may as well throw the money straight out the window of the changing room and then go get a Slurpee.

I think this may be completely wrong, but if you are a person whose goal in life is to Get Married, this is essentially like graduating from college or buying a house or any other big milestone/goal in your life. So you make it a huge deal. Because to you, it is monumental and it isn't just one day; it's life. And, I think Nilsa said it right when she said that some women really like to be the center of attention.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ha, yah, I am shocked and amazed by how much people spend on wedding dresses.

I have been dress shopping with my sister, sister-in-law, and 2 friends and while they enjoyed the process, none of them were all 'I am the center of attention/bow to me'. thank God. ;) Actually one of my friends, who loves fashion and shopping, really disliked dress shopping. She said it was way too much attention and pressure!