Jana: My husband and I didn’t have a lot of money when we got engaged. We’d both just finished university and were starting our first full-time jobs. Our parents were helping us with the costs of the wedding, but we were paying for a lot of things ourselves. Money was definitely on my mind when I was thinking of my wedding dress.
So I decided that rather than buy a dress that was going to cost a lot of money for just one day, I would ask my aunt, an accomplished seamstress, to sew my dress. To save money, I made my own veil, borrowing the headdress from my sister-in-law. I didn’t even try on any ready-made wedding dresses, probably because I was afraid I’d fall in love with something I couldn’t afford and just feel bad.
My dress was very flowing, in a jersey-like material (it was probably polyester) with a fitted bodice and big sleeves. Very seventies. Looking at it now, it was too much dress for someone as short as me; it kind of looks like a nightgown here. But at the time I was okay with my choice. That is, until I was walking down the street one day and happened to pass by a bridal shop. In the window I saw a fitted, A-line dress with a little jacket. I can’t remember details about the dress; all I remember is that it was very classy and elegant looking, and I knew instinctively that it was the dress I should have been wearing to my wedding.
My aunt did a beautiful job on my dress, fitting it perfectly and embellishing it with tiny seed pearls that she sewed on the bodice. I don’t exactly regret my wedding dress. But I’ll always think about that dress in the bridal shop window, and what might have been.
If I could go back and talk to my twenty-one year old self I’d tell her that she’d only be getting married once, and that even if she didn’t buy one of the dresses in a bridal shop, she should at least give herself the fun and special experience of trying some on. I should have had a more classic, more fitted dress, like Kate Middleton's, perhaps minus the train. Now, if only I looked like her:
What was your experience with your wedding dress? Did you love your dress or like me, did you pine for the one that got away? What kind of dress do you wish you'd worn? If you've never been married, or didn't wear a wedding dress at your wedding, how do you imagine your fantasy dress?
Joanne Brothwell, Janet Corcoran, Hayley E. Lavik and Karyn Good are here to tell us their wedding dress stories:
Joanne: If I could do it all over, I would definitely change my wedding dress. At the time, I was going through a phase where I believed it was virtuous to be minimal. Don't be house proud. Don't dress too flamboyant. Be natural. I was also influenced by a prominent celebrity wedding dress earlier that year:
Alas, my dress was dreadfully plain, completely unlike the princess-y dresses I'd always imagined as a child, sitting on my pink satin bedspread below my four-poster lace canopy bed.
If I could choose my dress today, it would be over-the-top princess. It's only once in your life that you can really justify looking like a pimped-out Disney character, so why not?
This is what my new dress would look like:
Karyn: I’d still say yes to my dress! To the long train with the large fabric flowers trailing down the back, the lace, and the enormous puffed sleeves. Especially, the puffed sleeves! Very Anne Shirley! But only if I could time travel back to 1990. If I was getting married today I’d have Bella’s wedding dress from the Twilight Breaking Dawn movie. And Edward. Just kidding. Maybe. I’d also have to lose, like, half my body weight. So probably a different style would suit better!
But my all time favorite wedding dress is still Princess Di’s! I loved that dress, although I would never have picked it for myself. Isn’t that strange? I thought it was the perfect dress for a princess. I guess when push comes to shove I’ll always be a product of the ‘80’s. I still miss big hair. But I hear puffed sleeves are back in.
Hayley: You know, I really don't think I've ever thought about this. Before I was faced with actually choosing a wedding dress, I hadn't ever thought about it either, and then suddenly there's a rack full of monstrous white billows and I have to choose something. I owe my surviving sanity after that day to my dear best friend, who allowed several racks of white monsters to consume her on my behalf.
I came out with my favourite, and told them to change all the embroidery from blue to awesome red, and I still love the dress for that. For that wedding, it was perfect, and thank god I will never have to do something like that again!
BUT...if I did something completely different in an alternate universe, I would totally do something involving vaguely period costume and ruffles.
Or an Princess Zelda dress complete with sword:
Ooh, or maybe this swoon-worthy Wonder Woman gown because where else would I get to wear that!?
Wow, what a collection of dresses! I'd love to here about your wedding dress. Comment away!