So I'm going home to Colorado for Christmas, and I'll be going dress shopping while I'm there.
I'm a bit nervous about this.
You see, my only reference point for shopping for a wedding dress is seeing Say Yes to the Dress while I'm on the elliptical at the gym. To put it mildly, I wouldn't trust those people to sell me a damn plastic bag. If some woman who consistently fails to fill in her lip liner tries to convince me to spend epic amounts of money on a dress by saying things like "This is the most impoah-tant dress you'll evah buy," I will run screaming from the dress shop. I'll die of exposure in the parking lot of a mall in Denver before enduring more of that obnoxious shit.
There are other elements of this that make me nervous, though, even if I'm not helped by a dude who tweezer-massacres his eyebrows.
First of all, the dreaded princess factor reaches a fever pitch when dress shopping. I've lost count of how many times the princess theme is invoked in reference to bridal gowns. I'm mildly terrified that I'll be surrounded by women who want nothing more than to drown in a tsunami of tulle, or to sob with joy upon finding the one dress in the entire universe that makes them look like Walt Disney vomited tafetta all over them. I don't like tulle or tafetta. I refuse to wear anything that makes me look like a cupcake or that requires having a giant bow on my ass. I'm the anti-princess. Do bridal shops even encounter, let alone deal with, people who visibly cringe when the word princess is used? Shit. I'm already in for it.
Secondly, I'm not willing to spend a lot of money on a dress. I want to get one that I like, but the fact is, I'm only going to wear it once. I wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on any piece of clothing, even if I knew I was going to wear it every week for the next ten years -- so I see no reason to go into debt for something that I'll only wear for a few hours. I'm operating on a very, very limited budget (to be specific, no more than $350 for this thing) because not only can I not afford to drop a ton of cash on a dress, but also because, based purely on principle, I refuse to do so.
But then the MIC pressure-cooker arrives, spewing mantras like "Your wedding dress will be photographed and documented more than any other article of clothing you own." Are they kidding?! If we start measuring the value of clothing by the number of times it'll be photographed, Nieman Marcus will be forced out of business because their clothes will be devalued faster than Soviet currency.
But nonetheless, the MIC kinda makes a girl feel like she's going to wind up wearing a burlap bag if she doesn't shell out serious cash for this unbelievably important, uber-photographed, most-critical-garment-of-her-
entire-life bit of fabric.
But really, that's what it is: fabric. Which, if all goes according to plan, you will only wear once. Yes, it's important. And yes, it will be photographed. But -- and maybe I'm being delusional here -- I doubt people are going to pour over the details of it and scrutinize each bead. Chances are, the extent of the attention paid to my dress will be "Oh, that's a pretty dress. And she doesn't have a giant bow on her ass! Lovely!"
While I completely agree with the idea that it's definitely impotant to get a dress that you like, I see no reason to spend as much you'd have to shell out for a month-long trip to Paris or for, say, an entire car. I'll be irritated beyond all reason if someone (salespeople at bridal stores, I'm looking at you) tries to convince me I should spend that much money or risk looking like a haggard, emphysemic bag lady who lives under an overpass.
The question, though, will be whether or not it's possible for an anti-princess on a limited budget to find a dress she likes. Updates to follow.