Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Curse of the Bridesmaid Dress

I know all brides face it - the curse of the bridesmaid dress - that impossible quest for something that is neither too expensive nor too ugly. They are impossible things, really. On Project Runway, it's the kiss of death to have ones garment referred to as a "bridesmaid gown." And yet there is little out there to save one from it, and believe me, I looked and looked.

It has been fourteen months since the day I was married and I still cannot get over my disappointment in the bridesmaid dresses I chose for my beautiful attendants. You can ask my husband. I have a moment about once every two weeks when the anguish of it hits me. He wants me to get over it. I want to get over it. And yet it persists.

I had a lovely wedding. I really did. The person waiting at the end of the aisle for me was (and is) a lovely, lovely human being who is a tremendous partner and friend to me. My dress - a diamond white, strapless gown - was so gorgeous. I felt beautiful and nervous and loved and all those other overwhelming emotions that drown a wedding day. I wouldn't do any of it over again except one thing.

The bridesmaid dress. I so desperately wanted something my bridesmaids and groomsladies would feel beautiful in. I was not one of those brides who wanted or needed to outshine her attendants. In choosing their dresses, I wanted something that was not too expensive, and if not something they could wear again, then at least something they liked wearing for one day.

But here was my dilemma: I had to fit size 2 (really, less than 2) through size 22 - I think it was 22 - anyway, this was an enormously difficult task. I searched and searched and searched bridal stores, online stores, department stores. I had some of my attendants looking online and shopping with me. I asked for suggestions of websites and color choices.

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted: just a plain a-line dress, perhaps with a halter neckline that tends to flatter almost all shapes. And I wanted color.

I know it's the hip thing to do now to have all attendants in black, but it was an August wedding and I love color and I wanted my wedding to be a colorful affair. I also know it's the hip thing to just give your bridesmaids a color scheme they have to fit into rather than choosing their dresses. But sue me. I wanted a traditional line up. Let's just go ahead and call that my fatal flaw.

Along with one of my bridesmaids, I found a dress online for around $200 which still seemed wildly expensive to me. I know now this is on the low end which is just wrong in so many ways. We all know we're not going to wear that dress again. It should be more disposable financially. Alas.

I chose a sage green with rose trim which looked super lovely online. Was the dress sage green when it arrived? No. No, it was not. Instead, it was a mint color that is difficult for just about every skin tone to pull off. My poor bridesmaids. I tried so hard to do right by you!

Here are pictures from my wedding day with my lovely attendants who, let's face it, are beautiful no matter what you put them in. I don't hate these dresses. The thing I hate is that I don't think the women who wore them felt beautiful in them like I hoped they would. And I'm angry that there was not a better solution out there available to brides. There has to be. There just does, though I defy anyone to find one.

Aren't they pretty people? Hell yes, they are. But that dress, it could have been better. The groomladies are in black to distinguish them from the bridesmaids and they faired better, I think. They may have even gloated a little bit that day. Okay, maybe a lot.

I need absolution. I cannot deal with this any longer. I'm sorry attendants. I'm sorry you spent all that money on something that didn't serve your beauty the way I wanted it to. If I could do it over again, I would, though I don't know how. But damn it, I would find a way. I would. And I wish you better luck in your future bridesmaid stylings. I wish for dresses that are reasonably priced, rewearable, and complementary to all sizes and shapes. And I wish you the peace - fourteen months out from your wedding day - of knowing you did right by the women you love most in the world.


B. Marzoni said...

true story: when Monica was helping me move, she was carrying my dress and said, What is this dress? and i told her and she said: Oh my god, it is the cutest bridesmaid's dress ever. so there.

Molly said...

I love Monica so much right now.

Nik said...

I hated my bridesmaids' dresses too--They were fuchsia? Bright pink? I too wanted sage but somebody talked me out of it. Still, I think the ones I forced upon (bought for) my bridesmaids were only $70. One of the benefits of getting married in Utah--a parade of bad-dress buying opportunities. I'm glad B here has relieved you of a little of the weight of regret.

Anonymous said...

I must say there is no dress ever in the whole wide world that will be right for all sizes. I thought the ladies on both sides looked wonderful and I know they felt wonderful as they were IN YOUR WEDDING, what an honor....most would have worn a potato(e dan quale)sack and felt good on that loverly day only 14 short months ago.....