Little Girl Wedding Dreams


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Little Girl Wedding Dreams | A Practical WeddingIt’s weird how we get wedding fantasies set in our heads when we are little girls. Everyone always says that they never thought about their wedding until they got engaged, but I’m not going to lie to you. I started dreaming about my wedding as soon as I could talk. When my mom gave me my first piggy bank at four, she asked me if I’d like to save for college. “No,” I told her “College is boring. I want to save for my wedding.” I still remember the horrified look on my feminist mother’s face. “But…” she said weakly, “You know that girls can do anything! What would you like to do?” “Save for my wedding dress,” I said firmly.

At four, I was perfectly sure of the wedding dress I would get. One that was big, poofy, and looked as much like Glenda the Good Witch’s dress at possible. Over the years my idea of a wedding dress slowly scaled back. A five years ago, I was sure I’d get married in a elegant lace sheath dress, and over the past few years I grew to love short wedding dresses too, but I was sure they were not for me, since I would want something ‘more traditional.’ But each time I’ve put on a big dramatic wedding dress – the kind I thought I was going to love- it felt like I was in some sort of wedding dress costume. I just didn’t feel like myself. And I wanted full range of motion, I knew that much! So, slowly, I’ve started to think that a short dress is for me. I’ve tried one on now, and even my mom, who was not on board with the idea, fell in love with it.

The other evening, we were driving by the Legion Of Honor while a formal wedding was going on. The bride walked out on the patio in a full ballgown wedding dress and veil. “Ohhhhhhh….” I said. “Look at the beautiful bride! One day soon I’ll be a bride and look just like that.” And all my hard wiring* kicked in, and I thought to myself – “I have to get a dress like that! It’s my one chance to wear a dress like that!” And then I realized I really didn’t want to wear a dress like that.

I do wish my brain would learn to agree with itself. At the very least. Any childhood wedding dreams you just can’t shake?

*And for the record, my mom only dressed me in blue when I was little. No pink. And overalls, not dresses. And we had no TV for gender programing. The hard wiring is all mine.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://www.bathtubbrewery.com mel

    I have the funniest memory of being young and scared of getting married because I thought I would have to marry (and kiss) a man with a mustache. I have no idea where the facial hair phobia came from, since my dad and uncles are all clean shaven, but that’s what I thought a wedding was…kissing a mustached man (mind you, I was like 4 years old). I wasn’t thinking about the dress or the party or anything else…just the possibility of a mustache down the aisle.

    Needless to say, in the next year I will be kissing a mustached man at my wedding. SOO strange.

  • Krista

    Ok, I really never thought of my wedding until I got engaged but I always wanted to be Glinda the Good Witch!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15103047512463828864 jamie

    crazy how that happens, huh? The fun about 50′s tea length dresses; they have some poof!!!! SO fun for dancing in!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18158492409598444709 Terry

    When I was very young, I was determined to have absolutely no black at my wedding. Not on the tuxedos I was sure we’d have, not even on the guests. Not even on the guest’s shoes! No black at all! Because that would be depressing, apparently.

    Later on, I embraced Goth with all my meager allowance would allow, and it was during those years that I fist became close to my darling Goth-loving fiancé. She gave me the blankest, most dumbfounded look when one of the first things out of my mouth when we were wedding planning was “no black!!” WTF?? I don’t think I’d even thought about that in over 10 years, and it had been longer since it was one of my conscious convictions. But there it was.

    Now, not only are we having black, but the bridesmaids are wearing it. There will be black all over the place. Weirdly, this continued to freak me out for much of the planning process. I kept saying “its too dark!!” and my fiancé kept looking baffled. Turns out, the way to appease my 6-year-old-within was to interject bright happy amber yellow into the pallet with the black, the ivory, and the crimson. She hasn’t taken over my vocal chords since, and it looks great.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17572133516556386284 *Michelle

    Just a thought – it is your one chance to wear a dress like that. You certainly don’t have to, but pretty sheath styles can be worn at other times in life – which can be a bonus or a downfall depending on how you look at it.

    • Kat

      and this is the comment that terrifies me the most… cuz I hear in my head my friend who got married last year saying “I tried on those dresses, and they weren’t very wedding like” Wedding like? According to whom? and I KNOW that I love those “not very wedding like” dresses. Since when does a wedding like dress HAVE to be floor length, poufy, strapless or even a shade of white?

  • http://2000dollarwedding.com 2000dollarwedding

    I had the same Jekyll and Hyde thing going on in my brain, too. One side wanted a very practical dress because 1) I love dancing, and I wanted to be able to really boogey down at my wedding 2) I am a big fan of comfortable clothing in real life, so why not in my wedding life? 3) I didn’t want my wedding to feel like a show. I wanted it to feel sincere.

    But on the other hand, I had a primal urge to be in something big and white.

    In the end, I went the practical route (it won 3:1). Although I sometimes regretted my decision during the crazy wedding planning process, I didn’t regret it once it was all said and done. I did get to dance like nobody’s business. I was comfortable. My wedding felt sincere rather than showy.

    And, if that primal urge rears its head again, I can always put on a bride costume for Halloween!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13289107577109971759 anne

    Honestly, I had the exact opposite experience.

    I had narrowed down my wedding gown choices between one big, poufy (but tailored) dress and the other slim and elegant. I went with my practical side and chose the slim and elegant gown… boy did I regret it! Of course, our wedding was wonderful and we are happily married… if I could redo it I would.

  • Desaray

    Actually, as a little girl, I had no wedding dreams at all! Essentially, I was going to magically beget a female child and travel around the world with her. Man? Marriage? Who? What? Which is kind of a blessing now, I guess — no preconceived fantasies to wrestle with, of my own making, anyway ;}

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01176600641338092725 E

    First off, I have to say that I really love your honesty (here and elsewhere) about dealing with the pull of the traditional wedding :)

    I’m embarrassed to say that I was one of those small girls that had her wedding planned down to every single detail. It would be a Christmas wedding held at a local botanical garden, and the colors would be dark red and green. Naturally, there would be a big poofy dress, but I never wanted a tiara or a veil. Yeah…we’re eloping to Hawaii. Totally the same.

    I do sometimes still get that pang of longing for a fancy dress, and I’m grateful that I picked a colorful sundress instead of something clearly intended to be bridal. I can see myself getting in a mood and looking at a simple white dress and thinking, if only it had such and such it would be a “real” wedding dress, but it’s easier to avoid that downward spiral if your dress is bright blue and made of jersey…

  • http://devilsworkshopcrafts.blogspot.com devilsworkshopcrafts

    My little girl wedding dream was to be a ring bearer. I would play “wedding” with my grandfather, who I’d make be the bride. His role consisted mainly of donning clip-on earrings (!) and walking down the aisle. I would then play ring-bearer with a throw pillow from my grandmother’s couch.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18292191239014356426 Kathryn

    The Glinda the Good Witch factor is exactly why I’m determined to wear a short dress. I’d feel like I was playing dress up in a traditional bridal gown.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07175871681836515445 Sarra Bess

    It’s strange, you’ve always been more interested in dresses and dressing up than I have, but just like you, I’ve always dreamed of that big, poufy wedding dress. With a train. And a veil that reaches all the way down to the train. Now, of course, I’m convinced that I’m going to get married (if I ever do) in the shortest, simplest courthouse wedding ceremony ever, wearing quite possibly a lab coat. But you know what? I still want the damn dress.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14093180424340765395 Ashleigh

    I have the same problem! I bought my dress and LOVE it its modified mermaid technically but pretty dang close to a sheath! i love it i really do! but anytime I see an image of a bride in a big ol’ poofy dress I think “that should be ME” and get mad at my decision. I tried on poofy dresses too, but they were too overwhelming on my frame, and not comfy at all. I know I made the right choice with my dress, but it is very hard to let go of my childhood dream dress too. i feel ya girl!

  • One Love Photo

    What a great post. Love it! I was a dirty little tomboy who loved to look through the wedding section of catalogs. I would cut out my favorite wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses and even the flower girl’s. Then I would glue them down on paper and plan my dream wedding. This would happen each season when the new catalog arrived.

    Since we eloped I had a black lacy simple number to wear for our private ceremony. Lucky for me— Halloween was a few days afterward so off to Value Village I went. I bought a big white gown, gloves and a veil and flowers and was a white bride for the night. A tacky bride but still it was fun! It filled that need a little. But honestly when I am shooting weddings I often think about my next wedding. For our 10 year anniversary I think it would be fun to have a big pretty dress for a vow renewal. I guess the urge just never goes away! Whatever dress you end up getting I am sure will be perfect!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11371172824707301749 Cate Subrosa

    That is such a cute and funny story! It just goes to show, no mater how hard you try as a parent, most little girls are all about the prettiness.

    Although I couldn’t really relate to this issue, having genuinely not started dreaming about my wedding until I found the right guy, I have had the same experience with various other aspects of the wedding – the sense that this is your only chance to do x or y, so you should really do it, just because you’ll never get a chance again and you might regret it.

  • http://www.silvercpu.com/wedding Lissy

    read this post and decided I must add this blog to my google reader.

    karaoke, I’ve always wanted karaoke

  • http://heather13.livejournal.com Heather

    I had a bit of the opposite reaction. I fell in love with a short dress and when I went to try it on, they didn’t have it yet so I tried on other dresses (mostly long) and I fell head over heels for a dress I never thought I would – it’s not huge but it isn’t tiny, either! – and I now can’t picture myself in anything else. It all depends on what happens when you put that dress on. Whatever speaks to you, that’s what you go with!

  • Sarah

    I know this is 2 years old, but I had to comment, because I will luckily be getting all that pink tulle out of the way before my wedding: I’m playing Glinda the Good Witch on tour for 5 of the 6 months before our wedding! By the time I get married, I should be good and happy with the super-simple, cheap white dress I plan to buy on tour.

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