A Practical Wedding (a great site full of smart, feminist women, and not just about weddings) has a guide to wedding dress shopping up today that is reasonable and informative. It talks about how much dresses actually cost and how not to lose your mind while finding one:
The best way to deal with it is to just be your confident self. Be the woman that you are, and say, this is what I’d like to see, can you help me with that? If they ask if you’re going to lose weight for the wedding, just look them in the eye and say no, and it’s none of their business.
I am supposed to be getting married at some point in the near-ish future—or you know, plan to, want to, will eventually—so I have done this dress trying thing exactly once, wanted to die, and have avoided facing it again for the past six weeks. I should say that my experience was as lovely as it could have been, considering a woman I have never met before was putting clothes on me and taking them off of me, and then stood there with my family and watched me as I faced myself and the chasm between how I imagined this would feel and how it does feel, all in a three-way mirror. Which doesn’t even factor in paying for it.
We will be footing the bill for our hypothetical wedding ourselves, so while I suppose we could technically afford something insane, I think I would rather spend money on something like a house or a honeymoon or a $429 blender. When I think of what is a “reasonable” amount of money to spend on a wedding dress, I imagine something between $200 and $800. Not that I begrudge anyone who loves dresses and wants to spend big money on one whenever. But I am happy to see that a $500 dress is not impossible:
You can get a super cute dress, that totally looks like a wedding dress in that traditional sense, that has some embellishment for under $500. You will be buying poly. You may or may not be buying domestically produced. So you have to pay attention if it matters to you. The only thing you typically won’t get is an underskirt. It’s the weight of the dress that translates into a really stunning fit that you won’t get until you hit probably $800.
Once you hit $1,000, you’re typically going to get a train. You’re going to have more structure. The dress will have more layers of lining. You might get into lace.
You might get into lace! Actually I love lace in theory but I look like a chubby doily in practice. I may have a poly blend in my future, underskirt or no, which I am totally okay with, mostly because I don’t know what it means. The confident self who knows what she wants, though? More of a long-term project.
Photo: two stout monks