Looking Like Yourself (not just like everyone else)

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

I am staggered and confused. You saw this amazing dress on Offbeat Bride, right? And you thought to yourself, “That dress is unbelievable! I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I inexplicably want to touch it. It looks so right on her. It’s amazing.” Right? Or something like that? Because girlfriend is even selling me on a train, and I’m very mmmmeeeeeehhhh about the train as a concept.
Which brings me to why I’m confused. The bride said that she got all these comments from people* who said things like, “Well, your dress is sure…. different…..”


Were they searching for the word gorgeous, and had a complete meltdown? Have we really gotten to the point where weddings are so homogeneous that if we see a bride who’s not wearing the standard issue strapless poof that she got at engagement academy, that we have a nervous breakdown? That if someone gets married in a color that’s not white, we think they are “trying to make a statement?” That if a bride rocks a dress this awesome, all people cant think to say is “it’s different?” Because it doesn’t have to be this way. It didn’t used to be this way, even an generation or two ago.** This is it, kids. I’m fed up.
I just have one thing to say: Paula, you sassy sassy self assured bride, with feathers in your hair and teensy black buttons going down your back – you inspire me. You are clearly a woman with taste and poise and a strong sense of self. You’re dress, may I say, is excellent beyond words.

*Clarification, not from her friends, from people who didn’t know her well. But effing still.
**More on that thought later.

Pictures from Flicker, via Offbeat Bride, of course

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Great post. I agree completely!

  • DITTO.

    On a certain mass-wedding community site, there is posting after posting of girls saying they would love to do something just a teensy bit different – I’m talking pastel shoes instead of white shoes different – and they’re getting shit from their families because it’s not “appropriate,” so they’re not bothering. WHAAAAAT??????

  • I wish some people could understand this. They just can’t comprehend that people want to express themselves. It never occurred to me before getting engaged that not having my groom in a tuxedo or wearing a cream colored dress (not black, not red for crying out loud!) would cause any stir. I’m completely surprised by all the expectations.
    Thanks for sharing your views on the topic!

  • I have always said I don’t want a white dress because white is just NOT me and people somehow take this as a personal insult. I have the need to make our wedding as “us” as possible otherwise it’s just a lie to placify others expectations of how a wedding should be.

    And that dress? All sorts of beautiful!

  • I have known Paula from a NZ discussion board for the past year, and just want to comment on the feedback she received from those of us on the board.

    We all adored her dress, and as a group we drooled over and envied her gorgeous wedding. So, while some people in Paula’s circles may have used the word “different”, I promise that most of her fellow planners in little ol’ NZ recognised her dress and her wedding for what it was.

  • i hear ya! i saw her dress and was really impressed. it was beautiful!

    i’m going to be wearing a dark chocolate dress at my wedding and i just wanna hear someone say something about it. they’ll get a big ol’ punch in the neck. ;)

  • Mo

    She looks gorgeous, and what a beautiful setting as well!

    Thank you for this post–I’ve gotten comments such as “oh, your ring is…interesting”. I’m sure what they meant to say was, “wow! I am so jealous of your incredibly stellar taste!”

  • Awesome post … like usual :)

    I think she looks hot!

  • the dress pretty much screams awesome to me. it looks very 20s/30s with the low waist, the V/sash that pins to the side of the hip, the straight skirt. i think her hair and carriage are perfect for something that brings to my mind a period of strong women cutting their hair, breaking the mold and being bold all around.

    i get a ton of "hunh's" & elipses personally.

    " … you don't have theme? … hunh."

    " … you don't have colors picked out? … hunh."

    " … hunh. well, you know… that's cool. i mean… its your wedding, right?"

    damn skippy it is.


    Very much looking forward to “more on that thought later.”

  • I was really confused when I read that on Offbeat Bride, too! I kept scrolling through her pictures looking for something that showed the dress actually looking “different,” to no avail. It’s beautiful!

  • Ha! We heard through the family grapevine that my MIL thought our whole wedding was “different.” Well, good! That’s what we wanted.

    This dress is a-maz-ing and she is so rocking it.

    Great post, Meg.

  • Go different!

    I thought I was from a really laid-back family that didn’t care about such things, but recently my mom got all crossed-eye when I tried my dress in front of her (she’s going to rework it a bit) and explained that I wanted a bright sash and colorful shoes. “You mean you want a tone-on-tone sash, right?” she couldn’t help but saying.

    And really, my dress is really not that different, so I’m about an inch outside the box here…

  • Anonymous

    I feel the pain of being different. I had a great idea for my reception – a brunch! And our venue does so many fun things, like mini-burgers, and mini-pancakes, and mini-everything! When I was proposed a menu that was “chicken and beef” at tables, I felt like it was too different from what I originally envisioned. When I pressed about getting the sandwiches, I was told, “finger foods aren’t elegant enough for a day as special and unique as your wedding day.”

    It’s MY FRIGGEN WEDDING. I know how special and unique it is! Anything better than a church gym and potluck is elegant in my books! GAH.

    I really hate that everything I’ve envisioned is looked down upon because it’s not your typical wedding.

    THIS is why you get married when you’re older. If you’re over 25, people think you know what you’re talking about.

    PS. There is NOTHING more INSULTING or INFURIATING than being treated like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Especially by a generation of people renowned for their divorce rate and causing the financial crisis.

    Sorry. Just needed to get that off my chest. I know why women become bridezillas, btw. When people offend you there is only so much you can take before you hulk out.

  • f that s. the bride is gorgeous and her dress is slammin.

    i’m completely and totally indifferent to “oh… that’s… different/ cool/ interesting…”s. heard it a million times, still listening to the drones, and i refuse to explain myself to people who don’t GET IT as to why white wedding shoes just. don’t. matter. to. me.

    cheers to being “different”, if all that means is not doing everything by the WIC-book. srsly.

  • Meg

    Ah yes, there are advantages to marrying at almost-30. I’m much better at staring people down, and I can pay for things on my own, which makes it easier to tell people to shove off. That said, being almost-30 doesn’t make the comments *stop.* It just makes you cooler in the face of them.

    But don’t worry. Grace and grit are not the provience of ane one age. If you’re old enough to get married, you’re old enough to make judgment calls about the party your are throwing. Done.


  • Anonymous

    The engagement academy!!! BA HA HA HAHAHAAA!!!!!!!!!!

    You’re hi-larious.

  • I saw that post at offbeat bride also
    her dress is beautiful and she wears it well

    I am blessed to have a Mom who embraces “different” and who HATES to show up in exactly what everyone else has on so she has supported me when I almost caved to the “academy” and helped me steel my resolve to go with the dress I loved even though it won’t be at all what anyone expects

  • When I came down the aisle in my very un-Barbie wedding gown, my three-year-old second cousin whispered to her mom, “When is she going to put her dress on?”

  • April

    You know, I soooo needed this post today. Very few people responded positively to my gown when I showed them. FMIL told me I look like Jessica Rabbit, not a bride. Nice, huh?

    Mean people suck.

    And that bride’s dress is GORGEOUS! Love the styling…

  • I had precisely the same thought process! And yes, the dress IS different, and unique, and lovely and wonderful and gahhh! Seriously, there is something seriously wrong with most people out there if they don’t see the merits of that gown, or even just the merits of choosing a gown that’s “you” and not “wedding industry”. My gown’s also “different”, sure, but it’s mine and no one else’s, so any folks with snide remarks can just bugger off.

  • What’s interesting to me, is I don’t even think the dress is that “different.” I mean, it’s a beautiful dress and she looks amazing in it, but it doesn’t strike me as something completely dissimilar to all other wedding dresses.

  • i feel this pain daily when people ask to see my engagement ring(i have a rough cut diamond, that yes, i chose!). i always get this shocked looked of wonderment then the "oh thats different." and I always want to say to those people "you meant to say, oh thats BEAUTIFUL!"

  • KatyDidCrafts

    I saw that original post and loved the dress too. To me, it looks so classy and elegant and still bridal. I honestly didn’t get it when people said “different”.

  • I wore a green wedding dress, a champagne colored hat with a birdcage veil and black and green feathers. Do what you want and what is you, who cares what everyone says (I had my fair share of ‘Its WHAT color?’). Buck tradition. Its only tradition becuase of the lemmings of the past.

  • I love her dress, its beautiful on her! Thanks for the post!

  • This dress is stunning! truly amazing and I just don’t understand what is wrong with people. thank you so much for this.

  • White bridal shoes? Do people really get criticised for not wearing EVERYTHING white? Maybe its just me, but weddings are kinda white overkill! When I went dress shopping I brought along my purple heels with me to try them on with…everyone at Davids Bridal (staff and customers alike) seemed to LOVE my purple shoes with my knee length (white) wedding dress! So it never really occurred to me that you are supposed to wear white shoes!