I woke up this morning with all things bridal on the brain, which may or may not bode well for my boyfriend, Dr. J, who I imagine will be reading this post. At some point during the early hours, I had a dream (nightmare?) where I was just a few hours away from getting married and I literally didn’t have a thing to wear. (Typical.) There were miles and miles of closets, and I was frantically throwing open each one, pulling dress after dress out, trying them on, then banishing them to an ever-growing pile of taffeta, tulle and lace. Oddly, my prom and homecoming gowns were among the choices, and of course, those didn’t fit. Needless to say, I woke up feeling slightly perturbed and felt compelled to check out bridal gown sites.
As I had my crappy cup of morning coffee–we ran out of the good stuff and are now stuck with some godawful no-name junk–I thought about bridal gowns and the millions of dollars that end up spending on “The Dress.” I considered the success of one of my favorite TLC shows, “Say Yes to the Dress,” set at Kleinfeld’s in New York, a premier bridal gown purveyor, and, of course, “Bridezillas” crossed my mind (oh, the bitchiness of it all!), although I’m glad to say I’ve never seen an episode, and don’t intend to. There’s better junk TV to waste my time on.
Did you know the average wedding now costs $21,814, according to The Wedding Report, a research firm in Tucscon, Arizona? That’s $6,000 less than last year’s average. I know we’re in a recession, but oof…that’s still a considerable chunk of cheddar. I dread forking over thousands of dollars for a wedding and reception, almost as much as I dread having to give birth.
Granted, I have no real reason to start looking for a gown this very second–or booking venues, or sampling cakes, or giggling with my girlfriends about the bachelorette party, or hiring male strippers (oh wait, I could do that any old time, couldn’t I?) But it really helps to start thinking about ways to avoid the bridal-industrial complex. (Such sites and blogs like Oh Joy! offer a ton of DIY inspiration for the indie bride.)
For example, the dress. Does anyone really need a $5,000 Monique Lhuillier dress? My inner shopaholic says, “Hell yes, bring it!” but my brain and wallet scream, “WTF are you thinking?” I’ll point to my best friend–I’ll call her Edda Kate)–who got married in a $200 dress and she still looked fabulous. She and her hubby, who I shall call Baron Von Heimlich, just celebrated their fourth anniversary, congrats, guys!
Here’s proof that beautiful dresses by independent designers do exist–and for under $1,000!
Dreamy confection by Sarah Seven, $515
This is oh-so-Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.” By Dolly Couture, $395
So very glam-Hollywood! By AmyZ, $425
Of course, however, there’s always that one dress that you just can’t get out of your head. For me, it was this simple yet intricately designed Oscar de la Renta dress from his spring 2008 collection:
It costs more than my left ovary. And I hope to put that ovary to good use one day…
You know, though, what it all comes down to is not how much you spend on your wedding, but how much it’s worth it for you to throw the best darn event possible to celebrate the love between you and your partner. Whether you rent out Versailles for the day or have a simple backyard ceremony and barbecue, what matters is being with friends and family, the people you love most.
Having a chic dress sure don’t hurt, though.