Let’s talk about weddings. Specifically let’s talk about what we wear to get married in because this is a topic that fascinates me greatly after my first full wedding season as a marriage celebrant. I wasn't always interested in wedding ensembles, but with two marriage-age daughters and now I’m a part of the wedding scene, it has become a fascination. Not just because it’s a pleasure to see a well-dressed wedding party or the palpable anticipation of waiting to see the bride to get that first look, but because it’s an area steeped in tradition and ceremony that’s often tainted with expectation and obligation which shapes the experience in different ways for everyone.
What people wear to get married in, particularly what the bride wears (assuming there is a bride in this day of marriage equality) is always super interesting for everyone involved. Weddings evoke high emotion including but not limited to excitement, joy, fear, bewilderment, tension, conflict and many others and in particular what the bride wears has been the main focus of many a wedding, often at the expense of other details. The reasons for the fuss over the dress are many but cost and tradition are at the top of the list closely followed by the societal pressure to succumb to what a bride 'should' look like on her wedding day! Everyone has an opinion, the media shows us 'perfect brides' all the time, social media adds another layer of pressure and indecision and, if you are not the type of woman who wants to look like a 'traditional' bride, it can be a tough time trying to decide on the dress when your family and friends may have a certain expectation of what a wedding should be like and how you ought to look on the day.
Now I love a good wedding, obviously otherwise I probably wouldn't have become a marriage celebrant! For me there is no right or wrong wedding and in every case the bride has been stunning whether in traditional white, full Indian dress or just simply wearing what makes them happy. The thing that makes a bride beautiful is how she feels on the day and if she is wearing what fits her style and personality, what makes her feel most herself, that is when you have a beautiful glowing bride. It could be a scarlet mini dress, a black ball gown, full white meringue dress with a 12 foot train and mountains of tulle or a bikini on the beach for all I care....as long as she is happy wearing it and feels amazing! The same goes for the groom and the wedding party.
I read an article recently by someone slamming the rise of affordable wedding dresses saying that she thinks it cheapens marriage to wear a dress that is affordable. She says it’s tacky! Well I say that her opinion is the thing that is tacky here and how dare she trivialise someone’s choices simply because they don't align with hers. The cost or exclusivity of your dress does not make your wedding: love is what makes your wedding. Luckily these people are in the minority and most of us are there to share in the moment and get swept away in the emotion of the event rather than to analyse or gossip about how much the dress cost...thankfully, because wouldn't that be a sad way to live your life... measuring everything by what we pay for it?
Some of the most beautiful brides I have seen have been those who dared to be different. Let’s face it, a wedding dress can cost a bomb and most couples could do with that extra money to start their lives together. The bride who wanted to use the dress money for their house deposit and decided to go for a tea length off-the-rack dress didn't have a less romantic wedding than the one who spent $15k on a silk couture gown. In fact some would say she got the better end of the deal not needing to take her attendants to the bathroom to hold her dress up so she could pee! You can never underestimate the value of being comfortable on your wedding day; seriously it’s a long day and comfort is key. The point is, whatever you choose to wear on your wedding day is going to be amazing whether it’s traditional or a little bit funky and off the wall, simple or extravagant, expensive or budget conscious, made-to-measure or off-the-rack. The thing to remember is that it’s 'your wedding’ which means your decision and whatever you choose will add something special to the day simply because it represents you.
The same applies to the groom’s attire and the bridal party if you’re having one. Don't be afraid to think outside the square and hunt around for retailers and suppliers that accommodate quirky or different ideas. I see it all the time now, like the wedding party where the bride wore the colour and the bridesmaids wore the white, or the groom and his attendants in coloured socks and converse sneakers, or the fun Vegas bride in sequins and pink, not to mention the dapper gay grooms wearing matching bow ties with checked shirts and woollen waistcoats. It’s your day - make it really all about you, and who you are!
Now it’s just my personal opinion but I am not a fan of being told what I should and shouldn't do and in these times of couples generally paying for most of the wedding themselves I truly think the days of a parent or family member having any say in what you wear or whether your tattoos are showing are well and truly over. I can't wait to see what my daughters choose to do when or if they marry but I do know that it will probably be far from traditional. Bring it on!
So be wild and courageous, stand your ground, choose what you want, cut the budget, buy the hot pink satin, do your thing and wear it with pride! Anything goes and tradition be damned!