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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Why Wait Till You’re Engaged to Buy a Wedding Dress?

Why Wait Till You’re Engaged to Buy a Wedding Dress?

Are you a grown woman who plans, at some point in your trajectory, to be wed in a garment designed specifically for the occasion?

Well, here is my free tip: Buy your wedding dress now! Do not wait till you’re engaged. Do not even wait till you’re dating someone! The only thing you need to wait for is your skeleton to achieve its maximum adult dimensions (hence “grown woman”).

I know this isn’t the common consensus. And I’ve somewhat removed the shock value of this suggestion by being currently engaged myself.

This is what the naysayers will envision when you tell them you're shopping for a wedding dress prior to being engaged.
This is what the naysayers will envision when you tell them you’re shopping for a wedding dress prior to being engaged.
Your response.
Don’t worry — they’re just feeling the disappointment of having unnecessarily bound themselves to random strictures.

Disclaimer: Almost everyone I know bought her own wedding dress the straightforward way (at a boutique or specialized store) and in the traditional timeframe (i.e., after she was engaged and after she had set the date and venue of the event). Each of the women I’m thinking of looked gorgeous, and she was happy with her decision. That’s all that matters!

My beautiful friend Su, getting married in Singapore in March 2013.
My beautiful friend Su, getting married in Singapore in March 2013.
Gorgeous Elizabeth, one of my dearest and most enduring friends, at her Iowa wedding in June 2013.
Gorgeous Elizabeth, one of my dearest and most enduring friends, at her Iowa wedding in June 2013.

On the other hand, I am cheap and have clutter phobias. Of the two dresses I wore for my high school proms, the first I got at a Goodwill, and the second came from Ross Dress for Less.

This was the Ross one. Not the most flattering or indicative pic, but I enjoyed how our Georgia high school gave us a prom "Goin' to Hollywood!" theme. If only I knew of the Orange Dr. in my future ...
This was the Ross one. Not the most flattering or indicative pic, but I enjoyed how our Georgia high school gave us a “Goin’ to Hollywood!” prom theme. If only I knew of the Orange Dr. in my future …
This flashier dress -- from a Goodwill in Crested Butte -- was much better received. Present-day Violet shudders at the nascent bingo wings and Cara Delevigne-esque eyebrows. But my whole point is that life is fleeting, and where I acquired my prom dress eons ago is of little import to the present day realities and aspirations of 2014 me.
This flashier dress — from a Goodwill in Crested Butte — was much better received. Present-day Violet shudders at the nascent bingo wings and Cara Delevigne-esque eyebrows of Former Violet. But my whole point is that life is fleeting. The particulars of my high school prom dress and how I became acquainted with the business end of a Tweezerman are of negligible import to the present day realities and aspirations of 2014 me.

My older sister, Yee, made a much-discussed prom dress for herself from children’s Batman sheets.

Yee's Batman dress (and baby Elizabeth and my friend Nathan!)
Yee’s Batman dress (and baby Elizabeth and my friend Nathan!)

Quin had my mom hand-sew a perfect replica of the chartreuse lace Versace dress that Beyoncé wore to the 2003 MTV Movie Awards, but then she always was the flashy one.

Don't have a pic of Quin's replica, unfortunately (I was at college by the time she wore it), but perhaps she'll send me one.
Don’t have a pic of Quin’s replica, unfortunately (I was at college by the time she wore it), but perhaps she’ll send me one.

Also, during my childhood we moved around a bit. My dad had a small penchant for buying houses “lock, stock & barrel” — meaning the departing family barely packed (usually due to a tragic personal circumstance or death) and all the decor, half-drunk liquor and random Neil Perricone, M.D. cosmetics were ours to keep upon signing the deed to the house. Random and unconventional, perhaps, but my dad loves nothing more than the idea of getting a little something extra for free. Consequently, I have no idea where half of my most prized possessions are, as things like your favorite childhood stuffed animal can become mercilessly lodged beneath a towering pile of Perricone’s Alpha Lipoic Acid canisters. To this day, I try not to become too sentimental about my personal effects.

This was the mascot head for the now defunct Augusta Lynx hockey team. Do you think this fearsome feline waits till engagement to go wedding dress shopping?
This was the mascot head for the now defunct Augusta Lynx hockey team. Do you think this fearsome feline waits till engagement to go wedding dress shopping?


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