On dress shaming

 

Here you are, a newly engaged woman, thinking to yourself, “Hey I need to pick out an outfit for this wedding thing. I’m gonna pick out something I like that is in my budget and wear it. Kind of like I pick out my clothes every day, but to get married in.”

AHAHAHAHA are you kidding? These are wedding dresses we are talking about, so we have to make people feel like shit for their choices,  no matter what they are.

H&M and ModCloth recently released some affordable wedding dresses and accessories, and that’s fueling a lot of online discussion about how much one should pay for a wedding dress. judging wedding dresses

I’m really glad that popular brands are making affordable (but still stylish) options available. I hearted plenty of ModCloth dresses myself when I was dress shopping. And, if anyone’s pressured you to spend more because “MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE!!1!!!” that person deserves to be strangled with tulle after being forced to watch 40 hours of “Say Yes to the Dress” Clockwork Orange style. While wearing a Pnina Tornai corset.

But some of the most judgmental people I’ve encountered (on wedding websites and in person) are the “wedding dresses are a waste of money” people. For the record, I spent … uh… kind of a lot (for me) on my wedding dress. It was $800. That’s less than many people spend, but probably more than many people spend as well. But it was within my budget, it’s an awesome comfy dress, and I plan to consign or donate it afterwards.

While nobody ever asks me outright how much I spent, many people will start conversations about wedding dresses with me (because CLEARLY that’s ALL I’m thinking about because I’ve got Bride-Brain). And, eventually, they’ll say something like, “I don’t get why anyone would spend tons of money on a dress you’re going to wear only once. You could save that money for a house or a vacation!”

One friend even called buying a pricey dress “wasteful.” This friend had just returned from a yoga trip to Thailand. I think that’s awesome, but I guarantee it cost more than my fucking dress and that the plane ride alone left more of a carbon footprint.

Also … (and I know I’m showing my privilege here), I can buy a bangin’ dress AND travel. It’s not an either-or thing. Besides, if someone values fashion over travel, who are you to tell them they’re wrong? How would you like it if someone told you that your trip was frivolous — and that you should have used that money toward buying a home?

A dress is just another thing people decide to spend money on or not. If it’s within their budget and makes them happy, who cares?

But what I find most disturbing is the assumption that buying an expensive dress means you were “brainwashed” by … wait for it … the Wedding Industrial Complex. Read the Jez article linked above (and the comments) and learn how your choice of wedding dress isn’t about finding a dress you like and deciding it’s worth paying for (as you’d do for any big purchase) but about how susceptible your lady-brain is to the WIC. I would also like to point out how my fiance’s bachelor party is going to cost 8 times as much as my fucking dress, and he’s probably not even going to remember that shit, and NOBODY has accused him of being wasteful.

As a bride, I have faced lots of pressure to make my wedding more Wedding-like. I’ve gotten it from family and friends mostly, and from some vendors, too. But I am an adult woman, and all the choices I’ve made (and money I’ve spent on them) have been my own. I bought the dress because I really liked it and could afford it. We should apply this assumption to all adult women getting married.

Oh, and if you’re one of the people who has said to me that “spending too much money on a dress you’ll only wear, once is such a waste” and then later asked me, “You’re having an open bar, right?” you can just fuck right off.

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