During my brief stint in the apocalyptic wedding planning hellscape, I’ve started to feel enormous pressure to make sure my wedding is “timeless” and “classy,” since those are easily the most common adjectives used on any mainstream wedding website.
But the really threatening words are the other ones. There is the vilified D word: “dated.” Or even more nauseating, the T words: “tasteless” and “tacky.” Why do these words terrify us so much? As if bad taste is a death sentence. As if it is somehow the ugly, hulking gatekeeper that stands between ourselves and an idyllic married life.
After many months of tortured reflection, here is the terrifying secret I’ve discovered: bad taste is almost entirely subjective. My aunt might find plastic cutlery at a picnic reception disgusting. My dad might think a yellow wedding dress is ugly. But I have an even scarier wedding secret to share with you: bad taste changes with fashion, which means it’s almost entirely unreliable.
When I decided I wanted a crop-top wedding dress and took to the Internet for inspiration, I discovered the venomous voices of Internet commenters: “TACKY!” they screamed. “CHEAP!” “YOU’LL REGRET IT!” Have a look at the comments section of this Buzzfeed post. One of the more atrocious ones read:
If I ever try to wear a crop top to my wedding, I believe that I do not really love the man I’m marrying, because I didn’t want to be as elegant and beautiful as I could have been.
My mother was married in the early nineties, when sleeves were big and skirts were bigger. My mother, however, wore a sexy, skintight minidress with a detachable mullet skirt that she could take off for dancing. She looked fierce, confident, and beautiful. She looked beautiful because she FELT beautiful, and from her I would have expected nothing less. I’m sure there were people who told her that her dress was tacky (or worse “not timeless”), but she wore it anyway. Yes, the skirt was appliquéd, shimmering, huge—and currently totally un-hip. But does she care? Nope. Absolutely not. She and my father have been married for more than twenty years now, and they have built a rich, full life together. My mom isn’t going to waste time worrying that her dress isn’t in fashion now, because she was happy THEN, and that is all that matters.
We can’t approach our wedding days with the intention of presenting ourselves as beautiful and stylish, not just for that day, but for every day afterwards. That’s just not how fashion works.
On my wedding day, I hope to look like nothing more or less than myself, whatever that may be at this time in my life. I will bare my scandalous sliver of midriff proudly, and I fully expect to look back on my photos and find one day that my dress is no longer trendy at all.
But you know what? I’m happy now. And that’s what matters.