So I get it, I really do. And I understand the doubts that accompany these decisions, with panic often hitting after we've made a costly decision. My dress is a perfect example of the oh-no-but-what-if-there's-something-better panic that sneaks into your brain after overdosing on OnceWed and Green Wedding Shoes. If you ladies hadn't kept me sane in my moment of panic, I might have let my silly dress doubts run away with me. Because, the truth is that I still love vintage style dresses, Wai-Ching dresses, and Monique Lhullier lace dresses, but I don't need to wear them all at my wedding. But the OTHER truth is that I love my dress too, and that's enough for me.
Unfortunately, that's not the case for many two dress brides. Many jump in and buy a dress right away, only to discover that, as wedding plans change, the dress no longer fits the event. Someone else may buy a dress and then realize that what she wants from a dress has changed as she becomes more confident in defining her own authentic wedding. Some get new dresses (East Side Bride), some get reception dresses and keep the original for the ceremony (Bowie Bride) and some of us just decide to stop panicking (me.) So instead of being smugly judgmental about two-dress brides, I get it now.
But you know what's still beyond me? The idea of a five or six dress bride. I can only pray that the New York Times was running low on story ideas and therefore blew this "new wedding trend" out of proportion to meet a print deadline in their story entitled "When 'The Dress' Turns Into 5 or 6." Because wtf. I think I'm pretty open to living by the your-wedding-your-rules credo, but five or six dresses feels absurd by any stretch of the imagination (Or budget. Or patience. Good lord, if I had to go to enough salons to buy six dresses, I'd have a nervous breakdown). But no, as the New York Times reports, women are dress shopping like never before.
Josie Daga, the owner of PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, has labeled the phenomenon multiple-dress syndrome. “A two-dress wedding is old hat,” she said. “Easily 15 to 20 percent of our sellers are two-dress brides. But buying several dresses? This is new."
Mrs. Daga points to dozens of brides who have shared their multiple-dress stories on her site, including a woman who bought seven dresses, and another who bought six.If this more-than-two-dress bride thing wasn't new before, then trend pieces like this New York Times article help make more culturally acceptable and more likely, because other people are doing it too (woohoo groupthink.) Also, when people in the wedding dress industry start referring to two dresses as "old hat" we're all in trouble. Once it becomes normalized, then profit and growth depend on the previously ridiculous three-dress brides.
But back to these five and six dress brides (um, it pains me to even type that). There is no way that at least three of those dresses wouldn't have been perfectly fine if the women had taken a day to breathe deeply and step outside the pressure cooker of wedding hell, thereby giving herself time and space to think. Because I've bought a shirt (or 30) on a whim that languished in my closet until I gave it to Goodwill, but those shirts probably came from H&M and cost $20 apiece. There is no way in pocketbook hell that I could spend $$$ on multiple wedding dresses to let them languish in my closet. And dresses are like cars - the moment you drive them off the lot, they lose significant resale value - even if they're a sample and even if you never altered the thing.
Again, it's a your-wedding, your-priority situation, but my uninformed guess is that most of these women can't afford all these dresses. Some certainly can, such as this woman who bought four dresses for about $10,000 total.
“My husband paid for the first two, I paid for the third, and my mother paid for the fourth,” she said. “Everyone contributed to the madness.”Madness indeed. But it sounds like, even if she fell into the Perfect Day frenzy, she (and her family) were able to afford it. Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion many women fall into that frenzy and put thoughts of budgets aside, like another two-dress bride mentioned in the article.
“My husband and I will be paying this wedding off for years and years to come,” said Mrs. Schneider, a hospital social worker. “I felt guilty about it, but at the same time, I wanted to feel beautiful on my wedding day.”Reading these stories doesn't make me angry and doesn't incite my scorn. Instead, it just makes me a little bit sad . I've talked before about how I'm wresting with my own conflicts about this obsession with Bridal Prettiness (TM)* and my panic about the dress I bought. None of us are immune. But the worst part is how this panicking entirely misses the point and, even worse drives us to make stupid decisions that we have to literally pay for over the next several years. Yeah, we all want to look stunning, but we'll look stunning regardless of whether we wear the first or the fifth dress we buy. We'll look stunning if it's a department store dress, a David's Bridal dress, or a handmade couture dress. We'll look stunning whether we spent $80 on an ebay J Crew dress or $8000 on a Monique Lhullier. We'll look stunning because we're filled with joy about the wedding, not because of our beautiful dress and perfect hair/makeup/skin/teeth. Yes, let's admit we all want a beautiful dress and to feel gorgeous on our wedding day, but let's stop elevating it to panic-worthy episodes and credit card regrets. And let's stop panicking once we've already made a dress decision that felt completely right at the time. Let's trust ourselves for a minute, stand back, and take a deep breath, and let go of the insidious wedding crazy. Because the truth is that we'll look stunning and stunned both, simply because the moment is so huge that we're not going to care one whit about lace details when we're actually walking down that aisle.
*Bridal Pretty is a whole other beast than regular pretty. It's practically a package deal (in its look and its product list)