say no to the expectations

I have a dress. You know, the big, important, white kind that you see in pictures for the rest of your life. The kind you feel endless anxiety over because you have to make sure that it's perfectBrides-to-be are expected to pour over magazines staring hungrily at glossy photos of stick-thin models pretending to be blissfully happy, learn the names of a thousand designers who exist in a fashion-centric world completely apart from a normal-person-reality, and then be willing to choose between a kidney or your first born to pay for it all. And on top of all that pressure, there's the ever-elusive magic moment when you see yourself in the "right dress" for the first time and you start to cry, your mom cries, your sister cries, your cousin cries, and twinkling confetti and rainbows burst forth on the horizon as a cherub trumpets this momentous event...and everyone knows....knows it's the dress.

Well, excuse me, but I call major BS.

I'm no expert on bridal fashion (obviously) but I have seen/read enough to know that when I was two bridal shops and nearly 20 dresses in with no tears or magic, I was completely disheartened

Not only did I feel I was wasting everyone else's time, but I also had spent entirely too much of the day in my underwear in front of strangers - I mean, can we talk about modesty in a bridal fitting room for a minute, please. Sorry future-mother-in-law, I wasn't planning to get to know you that well just yet! Regardless, after diving through a literal sea of tulle and satin, we narrowed it down to 3 dresses. All pretty, my size, and reasonably affordable (as much as a wedding dress can be, anyways). But still, no magic.

I was overwhelmed by a sense of dread and dashed hopes because everyone knows, if you don't cry, it can't be the right one. And then, it struck me: what's the deal with all these crazy expectations anyways? I get that this is the "most important day of your life" and that the dress will be in pictures forever, but frankly, I think that's trumped up, Say Yes to the Dress, crap.

Find a dress you feel beautiful in and move on. If you're looking at your wedding pictures ten years down the road and all you can see is a dress instead of the amazing man you've just spent the last ten years with, well, you need a change of perspective, not wardrobe

This mentality may go completely against my romantic sensibilities, but the bottom line is that it is just a dress. One dress. And no matter who designed it, or what you paid for it, you will be stunning -- because you're a bride standing before her best friend as you covenant your lives together.

And if you're like me and the "magic moment" isn't there, don't freak out or feel disheartened. It doesn't mean it's the wrong dress, that you should keep looking, or that you should spend far more money than you have to try to find that impossible Disney magic. Just choose one and know that your future husband is going to think you're absolutely breathtaking in whatever you end up wearing...be it couture or corduroy. 

There is a great quote I read somewhere (no idea where) that I have taped to front of my wedding binder. I try to come back to this every time I feel like I'm getting swept up in all the unrealistic bridal expectations or unnecessary wedding "must-haves":
"At the end of the day, if you're married to your best friend,
then everything went according to plan."

And when you think about the dress through that scope, the magic isn't necessary. Have fun, feel beautiful in whatever you pick, and don't get down on yourself if your experience is lacking in rainbows and tears. Let go of unrealistic expectations and putting so much importance on an article of clothing. You. will. be. gorgeous!


  1. Good morning beautiful Sarah! Well written blog and yet I might have had some rainbows exploding around me that I forgot to tell you about...I was in awe of how beautiful you were in many of those dresses and more than that my mind was racing back to my little girl in her Beauty and the beast room .... and back to my beautiful adult daughter in love with wonderful Charlie and how that will look going forward in years.... so amazing and special. This year is so special that one wedding dress shopping event couldn't hold it all in. I love you and celebrate this special time with rainbows, fireworks, and sweet tears of joy at the same time. i love you so much!!!!!

  2. Just found your blog and I love it so far! We're very similar on our thoughts about weddings. We didn't have a garter/bouquet toss (I think it is SO awkward), and I found my dress for $300 - maybe shed a tear or two, but what was most important was that I could stick my booty out and dance in it! :) I still don't feel like I had that "WOW, THIS IS THE DRESS", moment, and I finally feel OK about that. I ended up donating it to Brides Against Breast Cancer, because I know someone else can get more use out of it then I will in the next couple of years! :)


Thanks so much for your comment! I really love reading them and look forward to hearing what you have to say!