Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a bride.
#4 result when you type "wedding industry" into Google images
This weekend, after a surprisingly enjoyable visit with my parents (surprising since Mom is recovering from hip surgery and I was expecting her to be a tough customer, when she was in fact a trooper) I spent some time shopping for something I don’t typically purchase: wedding dresses. My best friend is getting married in the Spring and needs a dress. We spent Saturday driving around my fair city attempting (in vain) to find a lovely dress at a vintage shop. There were a few, but the styles left much to be desired and the sizes were less than ideal. So then we thought we’d check out the mall. Regular stores might have white dresses, right?
Wrong. There’s this conspiracy that says you can only wear a white dress on your wedding day, and all the stores follow that rule by offering dresses in every other shade but white. We gave up after a few hours and had dinner. It was fruitless. But we did have a lovely dinner where we talked about life, love and marriage.
Sunday, we met up at a wedding dress shop. She had to fill out a survey and had to describe her ideal silhouette. She didn’t really know what she wanted, so the girl helped her with a few different kinds.
Now, my best friend is practically perfect in every way, but she lacks leg length, so the short dresses looked a little like she was playing dress up. She’d thought she would be able to find a short dress, but she was mistaken, evidently, since there’s no such thing as petite in that part of the store. She found a dress she looked great in (naturally!) but was hesitant about the price tag. The dress was $700. I realize now that 700 is “cheap” in wedding-dress speak, but that is absolutely ridiculous. She decided she would look elsewhere for a better deal, and didn’t end up getting that dress.
Meanwhile, in another universe… There was a girl in the room next to my friend’s who was getting married sometime soon. She tried on one dress, and her friends laughed because she looked like a wedding cake. So she tried on another. And she kept twirling around in it, and loved it. The salesgirl said, “okay, so that’s $675. Would you like a credit card? It’s six months zero percent something or other.” She said okay, then she went and looked at veils and tiaras and shoes and other accessories with her friends. The salesgirl came back.
“It turns out you were not approved for this credit card. That might be because you just turned 18.” Red flag #1.
“Let me call my fiancé and we’ll have him apply for this card instead.” Red flag #2.
One of this bride’s friends gets her a phone, and she calls her man. They get his info, and the salesgirl walks away. She’s still on the phone with her man (boy, let’s say, she’s all of 18 years old) and she says, “oh, so my friends and I were talking and August 4th works best for them, so let’s do that.” Red flag #3.
“Oh, and we’re not telling your parents until next year, right?” Red flag #4.
Let me see:
- You just turned 18
- You cannot afford this dress by yourself
- Your fiancé doesn’t want to tell his parents
- Your friends set your date
- You just turned 18!
A dress that takes you six months to pay off is not a dress you should be buying. Full stop. A relationship where you talk about the wedding before you talk about the marriage is not a marriage that has the cards stacked in its favor.
Marriage is not about the dress or the shoes. Choosing to marry is choosing the person you will be in a relationship with for the rest of your life. It’s giving up a part of yourself to be half of a unit. Half of all marriages end in divorce. If you spent $675 on couples counseling to communicate better and be a better partner, and you ended up wearing something else on your “big day” then you’ve done yourself a favor.
My advice? So glad you asked!
- Wait! Date the boy, see what kind of a man he turns into, and decide then if you want him forever.
- Figure out what you want to do with your life, and do it! Then see if he still fits.
- Read Lisa Firestone. Find out what she means by “fantasy bond” and take a hard look at your relationship.
- Find out what you want out of a marriage. Really know the answer to that before you figure out what you want out of one day in the summer.