I don't want to have a wedding. In fact, I don't think I even want to get married and yet, I love looking at wedding dresses.
I feel bad for any boyfriends who may have been confused by this dichotomy in the past. I used to binge-watch Say Yes To The Dress with my roommate in college (and I still do when I get the chance), I have a Pinterest board full of wedding dresses, and nothing makes me more excited than being invited when someone else goes wedding dress shopping.
But for me, it's all a fantasy. I will admit that it makes me sad that if I never get married, I'll never get to pick out and wear a beautiful wedding gown (I'm told that's not a good enough reason to marry someone, otherwise I would have done it a dozen times by now).
Technically, nobody's stopping me from buying a wedding dress and wearing it to the grocery store (or, say, to a different celebration like my grad school graduation or housewarming party). But you have to admit it would raise eyebrows, especially since all of the elements that I love about wedding dresses are VERY specific to wedding dresses. Obviously there's the traditional shade of white or cream, but it's the extra details added to the white dress that get me excited and then annoyed when I have a hard time finding them outside of a bridal shop.
L-R: Ariane Gown, $1400, bhldn.com; Haley Paige 'Leah' Tulle Ballgown, $5390, shop.nordstrom.com; Carousel Fashion Tulle Wedding Gown, $1650, etsy.com.
Sure, you can easily buy a cute tulle skirt and instantly feel like the princess/ballerina hybrid of your dreams. However, I feel like only brides get to have the dramatic floor-length, ballgown version of tulle skirts, as seen below:
I realize that the dresses pictured far left and center look very similar; I included both because of that reason. Check out the difference in price! Never forget to shop around, ladies. Anyway, this article isn't about that. The point is that I wish it was socially acceptable for me to own a ballgown with enough tulle for me and my dog to nap in, no wedding required.
Moving on to #2!
L-R: Truvelle 'Taylor' Dip-Dyed Lace Gown, $1608, etsy.com; Petra Gown, $1150, bhldn.com; Temperley London 'Jessamine' Floral Chantilly Lace Gown, $8145, shop.nordstrom.com.
When you hear "floor-length white lace gown," you probably automatically think "wedding dress." There's a reason for that. I know the all-lace style isn't for everyone — and some people don't want any lace near them at all on their wedding day — but I love it. I think it's really classic and romantic, and if it's good enough for Kate Middleton it's good enough for me. Plus, as seen below, lace can be taken from very traditional (far right) to fresh and modern (far left):
If I were to randomly break out a floor-length white lace dress, people would doubtless think I'm desperately trying to give my boyfriend a hint. I guess I could wear a short white lace dress, but even that reads somewhat bridal and besides, it's just not the same.
I'll be over here. Pouting.
Structured, Detailed Bodices
L-R: Sterling Sage Gown, $4615, rebeccaschoneveld.com; Isabella Gown, $3,795, leannemarshall.com; Phoebe-Jane Gown, $1648, rebeccaschoneveld.com
Bodices are very important to brides, or so I've garnered from watching Say Yes To The Dress. Sweetheart, corseted, boning, ruching, overlay, belts and sashes, etc., —there are a lot of decisions to be made about bodices, and I love it. I noticed that a lot of wedding dress sites allow you to filter your search results by bodice or neckline type, which is NOT a courtesy granted to me on any other clothing site. Boo. Let me nitpick over the top half of my dress too, OK?
I also like how structured wedding dress bodices are, especially when combined with boning and a sweetheart neckline. It makes your boobs look awesome, and none of my dresses have that.
Add to that all the details that go into wedding dress bodices, such as lace and beading, and even my fanciest dresses feel lacking. The good news is that a dramatic bodice is one element that's not impossible to find in other dresses; you just have to look harder for it. This dress, for example, has an amazingly dramatic bodice.
Romantic White Sleeves
L-R: Ellis Gown, $1690, leannemarshall.com; Adele Dress, $1098, rebeccaschoneveld.com; Verdelle Dress, $1200, graceloveslace.com.
This is probably the easiest wedding dress element to find in other dresses. That said, no matter what style the sleeve is, I always like it best in white. Whether it's off-the-shoulder chiffon straps, billowing '70s-style bell sleeves, or intricate lace sleeves (admittedly more like a cape in the Verdelle Dress below but I'm OK with that), I love how sleeves look specifically on wedding dresses.
I would wear any of the above dresses in a heartbeat, anytime, anywhere. Except to someone else's wedding. I'm not that above social norms.
L-R: Theia Courtney Strapless Petal Gown, $1495, shopbop.com; Briar Rose Gown, $1600, bhldn.com.
Now this is definitely a dress element reserved solely for weddings and the red carpet. Since I doubt either of those things are in my future, I apparently have to miss out on the glorious experience of trailing a giant honkin' train behind me.
I think I like long trains because it's essentially a way of choosing beauty and drama over practicality, and I love that. Plus then everyone is constantly fussing over you, adjusting the train so it always falls just right and yelling at other people to not step on it. Trains are a must for people who love attention, basically.
Phew. I feel so much better after just having an outlet to talk about my love for wedding dresses (and browsing wedding dresses all day helped a little too). Join me in the comments so we can keep my obsession going strong!
- What's your favorite element of wedding dresses? Do you ever try to work it into your usual wardrobe?
- What would your dream wedding dress look like?
- If you already did get married, did you love your wedding dress or would you do it differently? I want to see pictures!