Recently we have been looking through our wedding photos and deciding on how we want to display them for ourselves and for our family. I was flipping back and forth between Pinterest and the hundreds of beautiful photos from our day, and I realized that the dress I wore on my wedding was not my dream dress. I only went to one dress store (it was more fun to just be with my mom and sisters than to actually try on dresses), and when I did eventually find a dress I liked, I didn’t cry when I put it on (in fact, since I ordered it online, if I had cried it would have been because it didn’t fit). It was nice and all, had an empire waist like I wanted, was off-white chiffon like I hoped for, and it had an asymmetrical strap since I especially didn’t want a strapless like it seemed everyone else had.
But here’s the truth: my dream dress is a Claire Pettibone. The flowing, faerie-like styles, with straps that look like flowers growing across your shoulders and gauzy open backs…those were my dream dresses. Those dresses are literally worth nine hundred percent more than the dress that I got. I still look at Claire Pettibone’s on Pinterest and think, “Wow, now that is beautiful.” She’s my be-all end-all when it comes to dresses, people.
Still, my wedding day isn’t plagued with any sense of regret. I don’t look on our pictures now and think, “If only I had spent a little more on my dress. If only I had gotten my dream dress…” The view on weddings these days seems to be just do it. It’s your one day, your only day to get the very best things, and it’s your day so you should get whatever you want, the things you’ve always been dreaming of. And I wonder what the follow up to those statements are. It’s your day, do it your way, or else you’ll be unhappy. You should get the things you really want, or else you’ll live forever in regret. There seems to be a driving fear to make The Wedding Day the perfect day ever or else… what?
I know there are many articles already that talk about the point of the wedding day not being about the details and traditions and instead about the person you marry and the lifelong commitment you are giving to each other. Many of us already know in our heads that truth, so I don’t need to reiterate it. But when it comes to the actual event, the fear of making it perfect kicks into overdrive.
I just wanted to give an example from my own life, for those who are getting married or planning on it someday, of how it wasn’t perfect and how there was actually no need to be afraid because… well… who cares. Honestly? Who does? And I’m relatively not very far from the day we got married. Technically the depression of not having the perfect dress could still be fresh in my memory and the memories of those around me. But nobody actually cares. The people who love me thought I looked beautiful on my wedding day and now they’re wondering if Will & Kate are pregnant again or hosting Superbowl parties or planning on having surgery or traveling the world or looking for new jobs or wondering how to create positive change in Haiti or planning their own weddings or pretty much anything else other than thinking about what dress I wore. Honestly. Honestly.
I know that we are all different and different priorities. Where we skimped on wedding attire, we splurged on wedding photography. And while I could rant and rave about the importance of good wedding photos, another person could take everything I just wrote and replace “dream dress” with “amazing photos” and how they also are totally fine and they would be right. One of the couples whose marriage I admire the most didn’t have a photographer at all, and they are fine. They are beautiful. They don’t live in regret.
So feel free to stand up to the pressure that our culture puts on people to make the wedding day the greatest day ever. It’s a fun one. It’s a special one. It’s a unique one. But it’s not the perfect one.