I've been holding off on writing this post for a while. Not because I've been waiting for some giant reveal with the dress (you've noticed I haven't shown any dress photos, right?) but because there aren't really any dress photos to show. And it hurts. I have very few regrets about my wedding, but the lack of dress photos is at the top of my list.
Our wedding day was clear but unexpectedly chilly for early April. However, we felt lucky. It had been raining on and off for weeks beforehand. So what if it was cold? We didn't have to get married indoors and could have the outdoor wedding we'd been dreaming about. Although I tried to brave the pre-aisle waiting period without my wrap, I (very sensibly) decided that being warm and present for our ceremony was more important than achieving magnificent dress photos while I shivered and silently prayed for the rabbi to hurry up.
And so, I walked down the aisle in a green cashmere wrap I'd bought for the reception. I bought it to complement my pink shoes and because I'll wear a green scarf more often than ivory. I bought it because I tried 20 different shrugs and scarfs that all felt wrong. I bought it because weeks before the wedding, I was exhausted with the accessory search and this one seemed good enough. I did not buy it with the ceremony in mind. I did not expect that I would be wearing it in nearly every wedding photo.
The scarf and wind conspired against me, with the scarf taking tangled flight as I began walking back down the aisle.
It's not like I had a "gasp! wow!" dress. I didn't. I had a simple, elegant dress that still had some intriguing detailing of its own. I had a dress that allowed me to wear bold pink shoes, a green scarf, and a modern necklace that I loved. I had a dress that fit like it was made for me. It was simple and stunning. And I wish I had a single photo that captured that.
During the indoor ketubah signing photos, I'm standing with my hands across my stomach. During family portraits, I'm holding my bouquet in front of the dress. During my post-yichud portraits with Jason, I braved the cold for about three minutes without my shawl. And in those three shawl-less minutes, Kelly and Holly got a few great pictures of me and Jason, But three minutes isn't a long enough time to ensure you'll get great dress shots. And we didn't. We got some great couple pictures and a few full-length dress shots that don't really do it justice. At all.
You see hints of the detailing, fit, and movement, but the dress never got accurately captured in these few photos and angles (and, um, bad posture). And these are the best "dress" photos we have. However, can we take a moment to discuss how amazing Jason looks in his Theory suit?! (He's owned that suit for two years. No need for a new wedding suit when you already have a tailored stunner.)
Yes, this is silly. Instead of the dress photos I wanted, I got the wedding I wanted. Instead of compliments about my dress (which no one could see under the wrap), I got gasps and compliments about how pretty I looked overall, including about my outfit, hair and makeup, and my bouquet. And since I focused on buying an amazing outfit instead of an amazing dress, this should have been enough. But it wasn't. It isn't. I'm weirdly emotional about this dress and what it represented. I wish people had appreciated a dress I put so much effort into finding. I wish I could show off my dress in photos for some after-the-fact validation. I wish I had photos to show my future children.
I loved my dress. After a dress saga that included buying and selling a designer dress and then buying, trying on, prancing around in, and returning way too many dresses to count, I fell in love with a simple department store dress that felt 100% right for me. And even though the wedding isn't about the dress at all, and even though I love my wedding and photos more than I can say, I'm still sad.
From even these few photos, it's clear that the dress was secondary to anything that was truly important about our wedding day experience. When I see these photos, I care about the moments, not the obscured view of the dress. And yet.
I've had friends recommend a trash the dress shoot to make up for the lack of dress photos (or "rock the dress shoot" as Kelly calls them). To me, these shoots always seemed silly. A wedding isn't a photoshoot and the converse is also true: a photoshoot can't make up for a wedding. Our wedding photos are special because they capture the story and raw emotion of the day. To me, a trash the dress photoshoot misses the point because it's lacking that story, emotion, or any connection to my wedding, aside from the garment. I wouldn't bother framing those photos or putting them in an album.
Moment I first saw myself as a bride, in my dress, with my hair and makeup. How can you recreate that emotion in a trash the dress shoot? You can't. Also, check out that bustline detailing...
However, the emotions about wedding dresses are surprisingly strong. After all, it's the dress I got married in. I felt more beautiful and special on that day and in that dress than I've ever felt in my life. And so, I might have considered a trash the dress shoot, except for one thing: I accidentally trashed my dress as I left the wedding. Yes, you read that correctly. My dress is trashed. Destroyed. Ruined beyond repair.
In the post-wedding glow and excitement, we (I? A friend? who knows) shut the door of the getaway car on my dress. I didn't notice until, during the drive, the dress managed to wrap around the rear car wheel. It ripped and got covered in wheel crud and grease in the mile long distance between the venue and our hotel. Although the grease stains are limited to the bottom of the dress, the pressure of the tire rotation tore my dress along the entirety of the chiffon detailing. Therefore, I can't even shorten the dress and make it a chic knee-length dress like I'd been hoping to do. At least the dry cleaner managed to get out the worst stains, even if he yelled at me (making me cry all over again. Which I also did on our wedding night, and again when we got back from the honeymoon and I saw how extensive the damage was.)
Suffice it to say, I have some very messy, complicated hurts and regrets associated with my wedding dress. Which, in the grand scheme of wedding things, is pretty lucky. I have no major regrets about the wedding itself, so I suppose I can sacrifice a wisp of fabric to the wedding gods. And frankly, I have no regrets at all about my choice of dresses. In fact, after all this ridiculousness, I am especially grateful that I only spent $265, including alterations, on my dress. I bought it off the rack at Nordstrom and it competed with any of the designer dresses I tried on along the way (and I tried on a lot). The bottom line is that: I felt beautiful in my dress (and that sort of confidence is the most illuminating beauty of all), it was too cold to wear my dress without a shrug or get any associated photos, and my dress got destroyed. So thank goodness I didn't spend $10,000 on a dress. Or even $1,0000. Because for me, it turns out that my wedding dress was even less important than I'd hoped for or expected.
All photos by Kelly Prizel Photography