Friday, August 7, 2009

wedding clothes

All photos by Nicole Allen

One of the biggest expenses for many weddings is the bride's dress. In fact, the average bride spends $1505 on her dress, according to the Bridal Association of America. It seems silly to me to spend that much money on something to wear exactly once. I thought my best options were to wear a non-wedding dress, or to buy a used wedding dress. Just like the real diamond, I wanted the real princessy/white dress experience, so that left the used option.

Digression on the topic of being "princessy": Today I was dragging Sebastian through Target, unshowered, hair uncombed, wearing my black clog sandals that I've had forever and this funky knee-lengthish black cotton tank dress with black embroidery, a diagonal zigzaggy hemline and lacing up the bodice. A little girl, probably two years old, walked by, pointed at me with wide eyes and said, "Look! It's a princess!" I laughed out loud, and so did her mom.

Anyway, back to wedding clothes...Everything gets a bridal markup, I guess, because dresses I found at thrift stores were still $90 and up. Craigslist was even worse -- people wanted hundreds of dollars for dresses that were pretty hideous even in 1981 when they were brand new. I was bitching about this to some of my coworker/friends, and one of them offered to lend me her dress.

This was before Will and I were officially engaged, but I was too excited at the prospect to wait, so we stopped by her house right before my birthday dinner (Waffle House, the kids were too hungry for the wait at the restaurant I chose first) and everyone sat in the car while I ran in and tried it on. Might not be the most romantic wedding dress story ever, but as it turns out, Tara and I are just the same size, and I absolutely loved her dress. Here we are together at the reception. Yes, we were doing the dance commonly known as "the shopping cart":

So. Dress problem solved. Can't get cheaper (or greener) than that, and this was seriously the dress I would have chosen if I had walked into a bridal shop to buy the dress of my dreams.

As it turned out, the dress thing was much, much, much easier than figuring out what Will would wear. He knew that I wasn't a bridezilla kind of bride, but I think the first time he realized that our wedding was about US and not about WEDDING was when I suggested that he wear this shirt:In case the image is too small, yes, there are guitars! And yes, it does say "Rock & Roll Religion!" To make a very long story short, we looked at probably hundreds of shirt options, and I told him I thought he should wear whatever he would love and be comfortable in. He really struggled, though, because many of the shirts he loved seemed like they would only look good untucked, with jeans, and he worried that people would think that he didn't know how to dress for his own wedding, or that he wasn't taking the occasion seriously. It wouldn't have bothered me if he had gone untucked with jeans, but we decided that he wouldn't be comfortable unless he felt more dressed up.

In the end, he chose a new bright blue button-down shirt and black pants that he already owned. I found a guitar tie on etsy, and he looked great!Instead of the traditional "wedding party," we had an adult flower girl (my sister) and ring bearer (Will's brother) and our kids stood up with us.

I told my sister to wear any black dress she wanted. She was silly and emailed me beforehand with a pic of the one she chose, all worried that it wasn't what I wanted. Of course, she was gorgeous!I told Will's brother to wear jeans and any button-down shirt he wanted. He was silly and came over beforehand with shirt options, all worried that they wouldn't be what I wanted. Of course, he looked great!

With a little help from my internet friends I found the perfect black sundress for Will's daughter. You obviously can't see them in this picture, but she also wore the cutest black suede mary janes that I got for $3 at the thrift store.

I put white clay flowers in her hair to match the ones in mine.

And that just left the boyz...I found them Hawaaiian shirts with guitars that totally matched Will's tie, and they wore those untucked with jeans.

I think it worked out beautifully -- they were way more comfortable than they would have been in formal outfits, they looked great, and all of the kids have worn their wedding clothes several times since the wedding.

On Offbeat Bride I saw this woman who had the sweetest little shrug over her dress, and I started thinking about how nice it would be to have a shrug to keep my shoulders warm, not necessarily for the ceremony, but beforehand.

My lovely sister-in-law, Heather, saw that on my list of stuff to do on this blog, and offered to try to make me one. She said try, because at the time she was nine months pregnant, and we were just about 3 weeks away from the wedding, and she had never made a shrug before. We went shopping for yarn on a Tuesday, and two days later, this little bundle showed up:

Amazingly, Heather finished the shrug in time anyway! Thanks, Heather!
You can see it pretty well in this picture (on the left is my dad, who played flute during the ceremony and went with the black/jeans thing, and my mom, who has much better fashion sense than I do)

And I had to include this picture, not only because it shows off the shrug, but also because I have no idea what the hell was going on when Nicole took it, but it makes me laugh so hard every time I see it! I also bought a dress for $25 on sale so I would have something to change into at the reception. I picked it because it was cheap and comfy and would match Will's shirt and my shrug, and was also something that I would wear again. I didn't change until the very end of the reception, but it was nice to have, especially since we were riding our bikes away at the end of the night and I didn't want to wreck Tara's dress.