I have one more thing to add to the list of things that are harder than the first year of marriage (which we determined wasn’t hard – contrary to Amy Elliot Dunne’s first diary entry in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl): The dress code
Should be simple, right? Bride wears white, groom wears black, and the bridal party sports traditional tuxes and stiff dresses that will end up at Goodwill or on Ebay at the mercy of some tasteless soul who deems it a hopeful fixer-upper. Seriously – there are significantly more awful bridesmaids dresses on the market than wearable – as if designers are inspired by the notion that the bride will somehow look better if the bridesmaids look pitiful. We all know someone like that… That aside – Remember when I said selecting the venue determines the path of the planning? Date plays a role as well. I had envisioned groomsmen in dapper, creamy suits sans jacket – an alternative to men in black. And I wanted the bridesmaids in coral or Tiffany blue. Oops, I wanted summer colors for a fall wedding. Wedding rules trump Pinspired ideas. So, at the end of the day, the fellas ended up in black tuxedos – but my smokin’ husband rocked an ivory vest and tie (snuck that creamy ivory in after all) and the lovely bridesmaids wore silk taffeta in teal from J. Crew (fall’s version of aqua).
More rule bending? The tiny ring bearer didn’t sport the jacket and my darling flower girl stole the show in a bright, coral and ivory tutu. I was hoping the designer, Peanut and Friends, made it in a grown-up size for the reception. After a little more thought – we decided to stick with the wedding dress. After all – you only get to wear it once, right?
Speaking of the dress, it was also ivory. I’m far too spill-prone for white. I knew I wanted lace and a sweetheart neckline – and a certain stunning Judd Waddell gown did the trick. In fact, it was the first and only dress I tried on. Love at first sight, perhaps. I try and remind my husband – “I just know what I want when I see it.” When making a big purchase, he likes to explore his options at all price points and think long and hard about the decision – I, on the other hand, know immediately and want it now.
Example: I have an embarrassingly extensive collection of fingernail polish (there are far worse addictions) – and there is a predominate color represented. One evening, we had been grocery shopping and yet another bottle of Pepto Bismol pink mysteriously ended up in the cart. Once we got home, I was summoned to the living room to find a pink polish-parade on our coffee table – My husband was staging an intervention. Needless to say, now I think before picking up another shade – or at least switch things up for compromise and “rational” thinking. You know, garnet polish or…teal. Everybody wins.
Back to the dress. It was simple, with lace detail and tiny buttons down the back (that was a fun project at the end of the night) paired with a lace trimmed Swarovski veil. As for shoes, I opted for a pair of satin Badgley Mischka pumps with a d’orsay heel. At 5’2, sky-high pumps would make sense – but for an evening of dancing and a rather long bridal entrance that included two sets of steps and heel-prone grass (American Ninja Warrior obstacle course no less), comfort won over. Tasteful Corner Cut #3: Storm the outlets. Saks OFF 5th (Saks outlet) had my pumps at half-the cost. I don’t have to grieve over never wearing them again because they didn’t cost a fortune – and I didn’t end up with blisters or bunions (I had to Google how to spell that).
If we’re all honest, the dress code shouldn’t merit half the hype. I actually felt guilty for loving the first dress I tried on. Shouldn’t there be a prolonged, Nancy Drew investigative process? Shouldn’t there be fireworks and tears? Maybe not. Tuxes are easy, and groomsmen aren’t concerned fittings and cuff links (they’re men, come on) – and the bridesmaid dress hunt shouldn’t be too taxing because (let’s all be honest here) it’ll never be worn again. When all is said and done, it’s all about the company. Enjoy being surrounded by the folks who have impacted your life and colored your story. We adore the friends who stood beside us on our big day – and looking back, I don’t regret forgoing the mile-high heels for dance-ready pumps. In a perfect world, we’d all be barefoot anyway.